29 April 2010

Reality Quotient

There is a fairly subjective measure I've only recently been able to give a name to:
Reality Quotient = ability to keep context while working toward a specific goal

This has to do with how deep you allow your stack to be, which if you allow it to get too deep, this affects your net throughput on Cockburn's "unvalidated decisions" or Demarco's "Total Useful Mental Discriminations (TUMD)". If the stack is too deep, you end up wasting a lot of time making useless decisions about things that have ceased having anything to do with the REAL task at hand.

The tendency to accept decisions that pin you into a corner is closely related to lowering the Reality Quotient. There is a whole book about the attitude of Getting Real, and I equate that attitude with a high Reality Quotient.

I did a search to see whether anyone else had published a writeup under the "Reality Quotient" heading. Although I found a lot of stuff on the web, none of it really matched what I wanted to say. The topic of this post is NOT:

The measurement I wanted to talk about is how capable you are of focusing on the problem you set out to solve until 1) it is truly solved and published to the world, or until 2) you have redefined the problem into another solvable one and published that transformation to the world.

In short, a high Reality Quotient requires a short stack, with tight feedback loops, focused on publishing real stuff to real people.

1 comment:

  1. Here is another article that is on this same topic: http://www.bluebytesoftware.com/blog/2013/07/02/BlurringTheLineBetweenResearchAndEngineering.aspx (but from a research vs. engineering slant).