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Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write... I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Monday, January 27, 2014

Agile Boatbuilding

Agile Boatbuilders at work on a WACKY LASSIE
by Fritz Funk

Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
    [Plurality must never be posited without necessity].

- Occam's Razor from William of Ockham 

Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.

- Occam's Razor as put by John Punch of Cork

   [Keep It Simple, Sailor].

- Occam's Razor, razored by ???

Agile Boatbuilding 

As you may have noticed, I'm  a sucker for rules-of-thumb. 

The best of them are pithy and mnemonic, like KISS. The kind of thing you don't have to scratch your head over, yet which remind you to get back in the groove from wherever temptation has led. When it's a list, it's the kind of thing that every item you remember is going to advance your cause.

Jeremy Ulstad is a boat rat / renaissance guy with a toe dipped in the world of Information Technology (his blog). There, he encountered the Agile software development concept, which he adapted to boatbuilding:

Agile Boatbuilding:
  1. Make it Cheap
  2. Make it Fast
  3. Make it Work
  4. Make it Right

This brief checklist will take anyone a long way!

Let's take it again, with a little commentary:
  1. Make it Cheap - Economy is a make-or-break factor, for most of us, especially we dreamers who are looking toward a DIY launch into the fringeways of the the world.

    Cheap means money, of course, but more broadly, it implies life energy... the time and energy we put into earning money, spending money on things, assembling things into dreams. Just designing the durn things and counting the nails can be draining.

    Make it Cheap!

  2. Make it Fast - As St. Larry the Cable Guy says, Git 'er done!

    A bane of the DIY builder is getting bogged down in detail. Ambitious shapes, complex interiors, needless gew-gaws and gimcracks... finish! How many boats have foundered before launch on the reefs of Bristol Fashion?

    It's the world we want to experience. Our boats are but means to glory. Don't get bogged in trivia...

    Make it Fast!

  3. Make it Work - None of the above means we can avoid the bottom line... stuff has to work. Our lives depend on it. Sails have to go up and come down. Anchors set and retrieve. People in, water out.

    Simple, well planned, robust construction is the key. Fail-safer approaches. Simple solutions for simple tasks.

    Make it Work!

  4. Make it Right - By now, we've checked off one through three, and likely launched. This stage is the long, slow, delicious rest-of-our lives stage.

    Field testing takes place in the field. Sea-trials, and then voyaging. Not till then will we be able to fully assess, address and debrief our solutions improving as we go. Getting into the field is the vital step. Go forth and...

    Make it Right!

And a last word for the road... one of the Agile core concepts is respond to change  rather than slavishly follow a rigid plan.

Not bad advice for any voyage!


  1. One of the Agile techniques is called Scrum. It divides people into Pigs and Chickens, referring to a joke:

    Two farm animals were chatting, a pig and a chicken.
    The chicken said. "Boy, I sure could go for some breakfast right now."
    The pig replied, "Yeah, me too.
    The chicken said, "Yes, some bacon and eggs would sure be tasty."
    The pig said, "Well, I don't think so."
    The chicken said, "Well, why not?"
    The pig said, "With a breakfast like that, I'd be committed. You're just involved."

    So, every project has those committed and those involved. Whoever has to actually be IN the boat would be committed and have the final say

    1. Hi J4,

      So I guess we're all pigs, here, eh? 8) It does feel sometimes like boatbuilding takes its pound of flesh!

      Dave Z