Iterative Design

Modern vehicles didn’t come about in one go, they came about over a 100 years of iterations. Any endeavor of significant complexity requires iterations. Government, businesses, writing a book, designing a car, building a house, etc. They all require making choices, that affect the choices down the line, that may affect the original choices we made, and on the iterations go.

Many people are scared to work in systems of this level of complexity. Part of the fear comes from the fact that the systems are complex enough that all of the ramifications can’t be completely known or foreseen. Part of the fear comes from the fact that it may not work. Part of the fear is that the next iteration will be worst than the last. And the last part of the fear is fear itself.

Tasks that require iteration are the hardest things to automate. While thinking as an engineer or mathematics, these would be the physics problems that have no closed form solution. When that’s true, judgment and design decisions themselves influence the behavior of the system. There is a feedback loop, and there is also a whole lot of room for experimentation and improving on the existing ideas of what is best.

Projects that are so large and so complex that they don’t have a single solution are the ones that should be celebrated. They are the ones where there is an opportunity to make things better. Seek them out.

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