…or why is it so hard?

I mean, its just a bunch of parts to glue/bolt/weld together, right? Why does it seem to become such a huge production?

OK, well, boats are complex, they have a lot of systems, etc. But people build houses which are at least similar in complexity (foundation, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.) in much shorter timeframes, often with similarly sized crews. I know people who have built houses nearly singlehandedly, using only some help to speed things along or to lift the big chunks… and they were done in a few months full time work.

Today I was reading an article concerning software development (I’m a computer engineer by trade, so I make the attempt to keep up with these things)… Its a good article, by a great thinker:

No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering

by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. (author of the software industry classic Mythical Man-Month )

Anyway, in reading this article, an immediate application to boat building jumped out at me (these things happen when you’re enamored with something :-)… complexity.

Boats are complex in a different way… nearly every peice is unique. In a house, you have many, many repeating parts… all the studs are the same size, most of the trusses are the same, windows are in just a couple of sizes, etc. On a boat, if you have two or three parts that are the same size, you’re lucky (speaking of something larger than a bolt). Frames vary by station, windows and hatches are often different from place to place, etc. You get the idea.

Likewise, a scaling-up of a software entity is not merely a repetition of the same elements in larger sizes, it is necessarily an increase in the number of different elements. In most cases, the elements interact with each other in some nonlinear fashion, and the complexity of the whole increases much more than linearl

Mr. Brooks is speaking of software, but do you see the comparison to boats and their systems? Larger=more complex=more expensive=longer build time=…

Yet another reason its hard 🙂 KISS!