Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Houses

Once upon a time, three friends were on a boat, a dog, a cat and a monkey. They were all searching for a better place to live. Their boat happened upon an island in the middle of the ocean. The island was beautiful. It had lush forest, full of food. Plenty of streams full of crystal clear water. It also had other plenty of other inhabitants, but not so many as to make the island crowded or uncomfortable. When their boat landed, they ventured forth and asked if the other inhabitants would mind if they looked around. The inhabitants were friendly and did not mind in the least. After exploring the island that first day, the three friends decided that this was the place for them and they obtained permission to build homes elsewhere on the island. The dog decided to go to the far end of the windward side of the island to build his home. He wanted to live in a place where he could constantly stick his nose into the wind, because he loved it when the wind was in his face. He found the perfect beach on the windward side of the island. There was lots of driftwood and other materials which he could use to build his home. Being a dog, his requirements for a home were very modest, just a roof over his head and some space to curl up. He was able to build his home within a few days and move right in. That very night a howling storm came across the ocean and hit the windward side of the island. It knocked his home right over and the dog was left out in the cold howling. He caught a terrible cold and developed pneumonia from it. He eventually died from his desire to have his nose in the wind. The cat also found a perfect beach on which to build her home. She had gone to the local library and researched the weather patterns and the storm history of the island, and she knew that the leeward side of the island was the place to build if you wanted to stay out of the way of the storms. The cat found the perfect beach. It was pristine, just he way the cat liked things. There was nothing in sight, just the sand and the water. The cat took some time in building her house, the way cats will do. It was a fine house and was completed in several weeks. She was very happy that she had done her research and found the perfect place. Several weeks after she moved in, in the middle of the night, a band of pygmies landed on the very beach where she had built her home. They were mortified. This was their sacred beach! The inhabitants all knew this, and had agreed with the pygmies not to build there, upon pain of death! The pygmies raided the cat's house, and promptly cooked and ate her. They tore down her house and made the beach as pristine as it had been when the cat first discovered it. They left at dawn the next day as was their habit, not to return for another two months. The monkey had also decided to build on the leeward side of the island. He thought that his friends were foolish for not getting all of the information they needed before they built their homes. The money also went to the library and researched weather patterns, soil conditions, the availability of material, and all construction issues in the book on construction that he had brought on the voyage with him. But he did not stop there. He also went to the locals and asked questions about the location he had decided upon. After he had exhausted all of his questions and decided there were no reasons to keep him from building in his desired location, he built his house. It was a sturdy house designed to withstand the weather forces on the windward side of the island. It took a lot longer for the monkey to build his home, but the monkey is still there, while both of his friends and their homes are long gone.

Moral: Rushing to implement a system with little or no background and little or no information will end in failure. Likewise, if you fail to check the surrounding systems and how to interact with them, your system will ultimately pay the price. You must always research your solution and check the surrounding systems to make certain that your system will work in harmony with the other systems already in place.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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