Long time ago there was a boy named Leonardo. His father was Vincenzo the carpenter. They both lived in a small village near Florence. One day Vicenzo asked Leonardo to help him with his work. He had a special order from the doge - to create the most fancy and unique table, with precious decorations than nobody have ever seen before. And so, Leonardo and Vincenzo started their work. Leonardo had really good imagination and fantasy, and so his father let him work on the design of the table. Leonardo spent 2 years traveling around the world and collected the most precious stones, wood and everything that could serve him designing that table. Father and son worked day and night and one beautiful day the table was ready. The doge was very happy with what he had seen and he paid them double. Doge's wife decided to use that table for their next week's very formal dinner with other members of the court. So that day came, and everyone that came was amazed with how beautiful and finely elaborated the table was. The servers started putting the plates on the table, but when they put the second plate with roasted dove, the table suddenly crushed over the guests. The reason for this were the legs of the table - so finely carved, almost like point lace. And they could not handle the weight of the dinner plates. The day after, the furious doge called for Vincenzo. He requested that the master made another table for him, without being paid. This time Vincenzo made the design himself, and Leonardo helped with the assembly. The table came out equally beautiful as the first one, but when tested with dinner plates it held everything perfectly. All guests were amazed with how fine the table was, and how it stayed stable with all heavy dinner plates on the top of it.
Moral: Understanding client's requirements is crucial for successful project. The important about outcome, however, is not whether is beautiful, but whether is useful.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.