The Snowball Technique (Stone Soup)

Subject: The Snowball Technique (Stone Soup)
From: JIMCHEVAL -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 15:32:04 EDT

It just occured to me this morning that some of my fairly thick procedures on
my current project have been created by a snowball effect. To whit:

1. Someone tells me 'we don't really have a procedure for that'.
2. I ask them what information DOES exist.
3. They give me a few lines of information.
4. I type those up.
5. I give the typed up version to someone else in the process. who says,
"Well, that's almost true - except that we also do the following." And
adds/corrects lines.
6. I take it back to the first person who responds, usually by remembering yet
something else.
7. After several iterations of this sort, I find myself with something like an
actual first draft. Maybe I even see spots where a diagram would help.
8. A few drafts and diagrams later, WE HAVE A DOCUMENT!!!

Lovers of folk tales will recognize a process much like that used by three
soldiers to make a rich stew from a stone in a town where there was 'nothing
at all to add to the pot'. A useful metaphor in many a situation.

As it happens, though, the first image that came to mind today was that of a
snowball, growing larger as it rolls down hill.

Either way, it's a useful technique, especially in these ad hoc, high-growth
situations.

Jim Chevallier
North Hollywood

New!! Pictures of PARIS!! http://www.geocities.com/paris/1998
TW page - http://members.aol.com/jimcheval/twone.htm
Ego page - http://www.gis.net/~jimcheval

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