Design, Development and Creativity

Find the Term paper research here.

Learning log:

*!! Readings are on a separate page named Readings !!*

Day 4:

Date: 19 Nov, 2018

Discussion about the book by Tracy Kidder: The Soul of a New Machine.


Chapter 5: Midnight Programming

  • The significance of gaming -> produces creativity. And this chapter deals with midnight programming -> Creation of ideas in the background. Social bonds and time engagement is instilled in everyone’s mind.
  • Kidder being an outsider is invited to play the game ‘adventure’.
    The game is part of the project life. It is not part of the project.
  • It is really important to fight for the right of your teammates to play games. The game itself is a test case for the test of their machine’s functionality.
  • The playful aspect of the company/organization is very important. Some kind of socialization needs to be done in order to be involved in a team.
  • The Adventure game is one of the most play-through games, puzzle oriented. It has no visualization but pure texts -> 1-D game. Imagination, articulation and design are usually the effect of a game’s structure. It requires time and effort to understand the genre and the strategy to win it.

Page: 100

Scenario: Carl Alsing is writing a software which is called microcode. A translation language for the machine to understand the pulse signal variation through conventional codes like C/ C++/ Java/ JScript  etc. What is his way of doing work: Since the deadline is not too close, Alsing delays it everyday until at one point when he sat in one corner of the library and finished his work in two nights (at least that’s what Tom West believes).

Page: 102

How as a head of software project manager would you handle Carl Alsing?

  1. Set multiple deadlines making sure he/she checks in on a regular basis.
  2. Providing cheap gadgets like laptops, smartphones to keep them engaged always.
  3. Since there is huge amount of strain in projects like these occasional breaks would prove a bit useful.

The data general had lots of people working for the FHP and EAGLE. That lead to huge mental strain for people working in these projects.

Page: 105

Alsing initially used to write the micro-codes all by himself. But now he has set-up a team for the same. Thus he is their manager with bad habit of procrastinating projects. He created a similar shorter version of the adventure game which his team members had to participate and complete. It is more of a task than a game. The one twist in the game was it needed a file, in order to gain super user (SU) access. The file was with one of Alsing’s colleagues – Rosemarie and any member of his team who approached Rosemarie, Alsing came to the conclusion that he/she can understand both the technical and the organizational aspect of the company.

Important takeaways from the book :

  1. Work-life balance 
  2. Big ball of mud- chaotic, presence of organizational management & no work management
  3. Innovation / leadership
  4. Fluid environment
  5. Game Theory & Play – a sensitivity to the atmosphere.
  6. Contract – Signing up.
  7. Political dynamics with colleagues is important.
  8. Accepting failure and moving on.
  9. Breaking rules when necessary.

Exercise: 1 Requirements & design trade-off.

new doc 2018-11-19 11.23.27_1
Rhoohmtech copyrighted

As shown in the above picture, we were to come up with a consensus as to what would be the requirement and trade-off.

For e.g. Consider the first two parameters: Simplicity and Performance. Here we further divided simplicity into Systems/ Services & Products. For a product the more simple it is the less is its performance. On the contrary, A system/Service will have a greater performance when it is much simple. That being denoted by + and – signs respectively.

Legends used:

  • +    -> increases
  • –     -> decreases
  • +/-  -> can’t be defined. Dependant.

What do you need for a requirement.

  1. Should be able to map to the source.
  2. A requirement must have a document owner, ID and additional notes and a format with specific origin.
  3. For managing a team your requirements need not be a mechanism for organising teams.
  4. Differentiate between a design and need, good and bad requirements.

Exercise: 2 Estimating User Stories.

Planning Poker: We are given a bunch of cards of different colours with numbers, ‘?’, infinite symbol etc. sketched on it. As a team we are to estimate (in multiple rounds) and come to a consensus abut the number of hours/days/weeks to complete a given task. This exercise was more of how we handle certain aspects of the task as a team.

In this game we are supposed to go from requirements to estimation. A bottom to top approach. That is the use of this exercise. Social dynamics & anchoring play a crucial role in this game. Anchoring is very close to what mathematicians call the median. There is always a starting estimation around which all other estimates revolve.

Our task was to write a single sentence. As a _______I need to _______ so that______.

For e.g. As a teaching assistant I need to prepare a good 40 minute class so that the student don’t get bored.

Our case: We were to decide o different materials  for a bridge that we can teach high school students. This is an estimation and use this as if we are an expert in spaghetti/bridge building for high school stem program.

Exercise: 3 Battleship as a metaphor for plans and planning.


This game was in reference to agile methods allowing feedback for every input. Iterations are good with feedback / but more iterations also add cost time, replanning. Feedback/improvisation. Feature selection is bound up with the design space. Each value has its own value. In organizational scenario: it is the budget limitation. Sometimes clients don’t give their requirements as in case if the battleship game, the ship might appear because you put it there.

Empirical data:

How will the graph look: Iterations vs value/cost: with y-axis being the Iterations & x-axis being the cost / value.

Image Courtesy:

It is close to negative linear with breakeven point as profit/loss.

At the end: watched a video: based on Guidewire agile development.

*!! In class reading discussions updated in the Readings page !!*

Day 3:

Date: 12 Nov, 2018

Discussion about the book by Tracy Kidder: The Soul of a New Machine.


Page: 40

Reached a crucial point in the project development phase. Company has taken a step for its next generation project. Tom west’s group had their EGO project killed. De Castro says it is a dilemma. Period after EGO got killed; it was regarded as the west’s speech period. R & D were given only 10%.

FHP hasn’t gotten anything on this project. Take the example of Apple’s architecture when none changed in their PC’s until they went forward with intel/UNIX. The mature Eclipse: VICTOR. West is creating some excitement; moving his troops in a specific direction.

Page: 58

No longer they are talking about EGO, now they are talking about EAGLE. Some bright engineers went off reluctantly.  West thought that the numbers in his team would suffice. But this wasn’t the fact, when he realised it when the team started designing the architecture. There are certain deliberate roles of Aisling plays as the right hand to West.

Page: 58 & 59

Drawing inspiration from other sources like movies: West says, “Should we hire kids?” The approach in hiring the kids were that: They aren’t limited by the any technical aspects of a company and can come with open-minded belief.

“Ignorance is productive”.

Page: 60 – Halfway

Sitting in a tiny cubicle…. Relish and pain, overworking. Feel so obsessed that it becomes their world. Affects general life. Manipulative way of exploitation. No sustainability.

Page 63:

Almost every member of the team passed. By signing up to the project you forsake everything for the company. Practical virtues, labour was not coerced. Accepting the rules and signing up was one of the most important part of the employees awareness.

Key points:

As managers what do you takeaway from this:

  1. Give a little leniency
  2. Think about another way of getting the team  together.
  3. Not do machine management but give them choice.

Don’t take the responsibility of someone, There is no contract and hence it was called a social contract. Think about autonomy for each employee. Burnout is a consequence when there is such a kind of arrangement. It is kind of a norm. The existence of the company plays an important role in setting the atmosphere to its employees.

Unless the company is well organised, there will be sometime for the next project to commence. But big companies have two or more projects running at the same time.

In case of a Soul of a New Machine: The employees work for one single project. They may be working in parallel internally but the project is as ‘ONE’. One of the most influential book. It is a prescription as to how to work in a company/organization. There are some points at which you go beyond as a project manager, team leader, team player etc..

Homework for day 2:

Screenshot 2018-11-13 at 13.08.55

Exercise: 1 Guarding the base.

Team name: Fantastic Beasts

This exercise involved logical thinking and co-operation among the team members. We were first given some time to come up with individual codes to program a robot( similar to a line tracing robot) that included various sensors like ultrasonic sensor, light sensor, colour sensor, touch sensor, and a microphone. The task was to guard a rectangular base by programming the robot in five major steps. Then we were to come to a consensus to make a set of codes to only one. We respected each other’s coded gave some valuable feedback during the discussion times. We agreed to settle down to two main codes both of which we knew would work. Following the test runs by applying it to a water bottle, we decided one code to be implemented on the robot.

The sequence should be:

Action -> sensor -> Action -> sensor -> Stop/Loop

Code: Forward (5) -> Wait (2) -> Turn left (2) -> Wait (2) -> Loop.

We thoroughly enjoyed doing this exercise and secured 0.5/1.0 during the final test run because the bot slightly touched the boundaries of the rectangular base due to the incorrect initial position we set-up in. Below is a video that explains the whole process during the practice run:


Exercise: 2 Build a Cantilever.

This exercise was also part of the same team wherein we had to construct a cantilever using spaghetti. For those of you who don’t know what a cantilever is:

Image Source: Quora

Given tools: Spaghetti, tape, 2-rubber-bands, 2-A4 sheets and 30 minutes to complete the task. We were also given a graph. During the entire 30 minutes, a researcher (all team members played this role in turns) had to plot a Guindon graph in which x-axis was the timeline of our entire exercise and the y-axis was the level of actions that took place during the exercise within our group. The levels may range from discussing the scenario to requirements and extending unto low-level solution (that being actual construction of the cantilever). The objective was to build the longest cantilever and our group had built a cantilever of length: 85cm. The co-operation among our group was simply fabulous. We each had a 2/3 min brainstorming session and had rough sketches drawn to understand the initial way to build the base (fixed end). Then we came up with the funnel-shaped base by which we thought that the strength of the base would increase. We then incrementally kept on building the cantilever and here is a pic of the final result:

Fantastic Beasts copyrighted

Our Progress Graph turned out to be like this:

Progress Graph
Rhoohmtech copyrighted

For any mega-project that mostly involves construction: The process followed is Design -> Build. This is because the construction cost is very high. However, for a software development, the process is the inverse, (i.e) from Build -> Design. here the construction cost is low. For a digital project where there is a constant modification, the Progress graph is somewhat similar to the above shown. It is because there is a constant change that needs to be applied even for a finished product.

Key-points to remember when presenting the video for the term-paper:

  1. Present the progress of your research in a clear way.
  2. No final results/findings required.
  3. Time limit: 4 mins.
  4. Sell but not oversell the project.


Day 2:

Date: 05 Nov, 2018

Discussion about the book by Tracy Kidder: The Soul of a New Machine.

Few key points:

  1. Over promising is not good.
  2. As a project manager, when deciding about the project don’t think about the game/competition.
  3. This book ‘Soul of a New Machine’ is the only book about psychology of corporate manoeuvring.

Some comments about the book by industry leaders:

  • Eric Schmidt: Apt description and very relatable as a tech company employee.
  • Steve Wozniak: Portrays engineers as an artist, scientist and in general a complex figure.

Concepts for Exams based on the book:

  1. General aspects of high tech projects.
  2. Engineering practises & work culture.
  3. Aspects of Innovation.
  4. Micro-dynamics of work practises and team.

What is a System?

A system in an engineering aspect can be defined as an interactive and dependant architecture that forms a complex n/w on a whole.

Exercise 1:

Buxton’s Avalanche case: Technology in the wild.

  • Designs produced should be usable, elegant and simple.
  • Information/knowledge, communication and technology are the three pillars of a system.
Rho-ohmTech copyrighted

In reference to the above picture: Class as a group came up with multiple ideas and came up with a possible solution as to what was it that saved Saul – (referring to the Avalanche case)

Design Aspects:

Key takeaways:

  • Design risks
  • Concept of mapping
    • Representation
    • Techniques
  • Design interactions
    • 1D: Pure texts.
    • 2D: Up/down, left/right.
    • 2D+: 2D + another variable. Let’s say time.
    • 3D: Spatial.
    • 4D
    • 5D: Emotional/cognitive aspect.
  • Building the right thing:
    • Design oriented. Expressing Experience in design.


Exercise -2:

Practise Sketching: Sketching is the fundamental language of Design.

Use following shapes to design a search page: Add ons are lines and arrows.

basic shapes
Courtesy of


Design a search page – general(with text input): Tool used: wireframe

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 14.11.36.png

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 15.05.32

Design a search page without text – identify your end-user: for e-commerce:

Tool used: wireframe

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 14.49.22

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 15.08.15
Denotes -Image


Design a search page with smell: A coffee shop website: Tool used: wireframe

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 15.35.35.png


*free stock vector images attached


Day 1:

Date: 22 Oct, 2018

Started the session by picking up a playing card that turned out to be queen of hearts. Students were seated accordingly with respect to the card they all picked. Completed the first task without moving an inch from my place – implicitly meaning  ‘I know how to play poker‘.

Posted my blog’s link on blackboard….

Exercise 1: Writing Skills:

Thoughts on the sequence of writing software by Stanley Gill – (pg: 186-187)

The article briefly describes about the fundamental way of writing software categorising the approach in two ways:

  1. Top-down
  2. Bottom-up

The above mentioned types have their own pros and cons. The author makes a very general statement regarding the same. He concludes by saying that the writing sequence of any software depends on a designer’s efficiency and also states that the use of both the approach is preferred.



  1. Gives a gist of what the approaches are.
  2. Precise definition and flow.


  1. Very generic in conclusion
  2. Contradicting own views.

Discussion on Term Paper:

  • Applied Exercise
  • Insight driven analysis of behaviour
  • Analytical

Video: Inside IDEO

One company’s deep-dive: Secret key to innovation.

Key points:

  • Design and innovation go hand-in-hand.
  • It is the process in which expertise is attained.
  • How to innovate using a single process?
  • Concentrate on 1 conversation at a time -> Building on wild ideas -> leads to better ideas -> trial & error -> success.
  • Chaos can be constructive and teamwork is always the better option.

Exercise 2: LEGO:

We were asked to form a group of 4-5 members and were asked to build a LEGO vehicle.

Our group name: Fantastic 4

Initially we were given a black and white instruction manual and were asked to rotate our position every 5 minutes. Our group managed to do the first half of the structure but failed to do the second half. Then we were given a coloured manual which was better for both visual and understanding purpose. Then we again started our build but failed to produce a finished LEGO.

It was quite an interesting and informative exercise. Seemingly easy builds started to fry our brains a little and this surely showed that we need both time, skill and pressure to do simple things like this LEGO build.

**Homework Exercise:**

 *2 – min Research*

Experiment with research method: Don’t forget to see the video at the end.

Name: Srivathson Thyagarajan

Research context: Personal inventory & Survey

I wanted to understand the relationship between Age, watch and Notifications and derive a correlation coefficient.

My Procedure will be:

To create a survey on google forms using key parameters

  • Age
  • Watch
  • Notifications
  • It is further dropped-down  into:
    • Do you like watches?
    • Do you own one?
    • Do you wear them?
    • Do you use mobile as an alternative to check time?
    • How often do you check time?
    • How many notifications do you get on your mobile weekly?
    • Asking the participants to upload their screenshot for notifications received.
  • The Google form provides a percentage and number of responses individually in the form of a pie-chart.
  • Conversion into Excel sheet. Converting it into .csv file.
  • To recognise the pattern via scatterplot and derive the correlation coefficient use – R.

I found the following:

  1. Received a total of 52 responses consisting of age group ranging from 15-64 years.
  2. Scatterplots include:
    • Age &
      • No. of people who like watches – like_watch func()
      • No. of people who own watches – own_watch func()
      • No.of people who wear watches – wear_watches func()
      • No. of people who use Mobile as an alternative to check time – Mobile_alternative func()
      • Frequency of checking time – Frequency func()
      • Notifications func()
    • No. of people who like watches &
      • No. of people who own watches.
      • No.of people who wear watches.
    • No. of people who own watches &
      • No.of people who wear watches.
      • Frequency of checking time.
    • No. of people who use Mobile as an alternative to check time &
      • Frequency of checking time.
      • Notifications.
  3. Obtained Correlation coefficient for:
    • Age  vs
      • like_watch
      • own_watch
      • wear_watches
      • Mobile_alternative
      • Frequency
      • Notifications
    • like_watch  vs
      • own_watch
      • wear_watches
    • own_watch  vs
      • wear_watches
      • Frequency
    • Mobile_alternative  vs
      • Frequency
      • Notifications

Question time:

What is correlation and what is correlation coefficient ?

Correlation: In simple terms a correlation is interdependency between one or more variables.

Correlation coefficient: A numeric representation of linear interdependency between one or more variables (+1 to -1).

To be more specific:

Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 21.51.31
Figure: 1

Results found:

  1. Scatterplots:

Age vs ……

Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 22.00.55
Age vs like_watch
Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 22.02.06
Age vs Own_watch
Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 22.06.10
Age vs wear_watches
Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 22.09.16
Age vs Mobile_alternative
Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.03.16
Age vs Frequency
Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.05.40
Age vs Notifications

Like_watch vs ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.07.59
like_watch vs own_watch
Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.09.04
like_watch vs wear_watches

own_watch vs ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.10.13
own_watch vs wear_watches
Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.11.25
own_watch vs Frequency

Mobile_alternative vs ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.12.31
Mobile_alternative vs frequency
Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.13.28
Mobile_alternative vs Notifications

2. Correlation Coefficient:

Age & ……

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.18.56.png

like_watch & ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.20.32

Own_watch & ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.21.36

Mobile_alternative & ..

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.22.32


Key findings:

Comparing A,B, C and D with figure: 1 we can see a pattern that exists.

A +ve correlation coefficient means for any two variables X1 and Y1 an increase in X1 is associated with an increase in Y1. In contrast to that is the -ve correlation coefficient wherein for an increase in X1, there is decrease in Y1.


  1. Correlation: Age and No. of people who like watches.
  • The correlation coefficient is: -0.24
  • Strength of Relationship: Moderate
  • Nature of correlation: -ve

Therefore it is evident from the give dataset that as there is an increase in age there is a decrease in the number of people who dislike watches.

2.  Correlation: Age vs No. of people who use Mobile as an alternative to check time.

  • The correlation coefficient is: 0.1240
  • Strength of Relationship: Weak
  • Nature of correlation: +ve

For an increase in the age, the number of people who use mobile as an alternative to check time increases weakly.

3.  Correlation: No. of people who like watch vs No. of people who own watch.

  • The correlation coefficient is: 0.700
  • Strength of Relationship: Strong
  • Nature of correlation: +ve

This is a given trend. people who like watches usually own one and it is evident from the responses I received.

4.  Correlation: No. of people who like watch vs No. of people who wear watch.

  • The correlation coefficient is: 0.311
  • Strength of Relationship: Moderate
  • Nature of correlation: +ve

This was quite interesting. No. of people who like watches but don’t wear them had a moderate dependency.

5.  Correlation: No. of people who own a watch vs how frequently they check the time.

  • The correlation coefficient is: 0.061
  • Strength of Relationship: None or very weak
  • Nature of correlation: +ve

!! But some of the responses mislead the code and here is why that is !!

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 02.11.25

Those who didn’t own a watch did say that they checked the time when required, denoted by the legend – 1.0This is because it could be from a wall-clock, clock towers and laptop/desktop – (for people who spend a lot of time in office)

6.  Correlation: No. of people who use Mobile as an alternative to check time vs how      frequently they check the time.

  • The correlation coefficient is: -0.018
  • Strength of Relationship: None or very weak
  • Nature of correlation: -ve

The use of mobile as an alternative to check the time is negatively interdependent on the frequency parameter.

Legends used to convert string answers to numeric values for R processing:

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 14.58.31


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