Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
This is the kind of information you will get from your client ....

If Architects Worked Like Programmers (author unknown)

Dear Architect:

Please design and build a house for me. I am not quite sure what I need, so please use your discretion.

My house should have between two and 45 bedrooms. Make sure the plans are such that bedrooms can easily be added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision on what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be aware, however, that the kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To ensure you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain you contact each of our children and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us a least once a year. Make sure you weigh all of those options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house; get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to choose the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. Therefore, it should appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features of this house.

I suggest you run up and look at my neighbor's house he built last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since these blueprints will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase in constructions costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on a project as interesting as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials, and to be given such freedom in your designs, is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

P.S. My wife just told me she disagrees with many of the instructions in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

P.P.S. Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

This is not the way you want the relationship to progress ....

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts:

"Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "yes you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

"You must work in Information Technology" says the balloonist.

"I do" replies the man. "How did you know."

"Well" says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's no use to anyone."

The man below says "you must work in business."

"I do" replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?""Well", says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

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