Tops Down or Bottoms Up

Subject: Tops Down or Bottoms Up
From: Michael Patrick <mjpatrick -at- SKOPUS -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 9 May 1999 00:50:16 -0700

> Which is the best way to perform an analysis: top-down or bottom-up?

Like most analogies, both these only go so far. And I think these
both originate from the days of punched cards and flow charts.

A more modern visual metaphor would be to imagine a 'spiral out'
from an initial, probably ill-defined point, following a circle through
the design phases, returning outside the original position then
passing through each phase again, with the inside curve being the
basis for more refined product.

Would you imagine anyone pouring concrete for a freeway without
at least first walking to the destination? And would not the first survey
pick a flat path suitable for heavy equipment and four lanes, not
just a goat track? Use both methods and pass by in the middle.

MJP

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