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The Pencil Analogy


The Pencil Analogy

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David Walker-278941
David Walker-278941
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Please don't misuse the phrase "begs the question". It doesn't mean what you think it means.

I would tell the company that signed the contract that two colors is not "a small tweak", and neither is changing one type of pencil into six.
swellguy
swellguy
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David,

Yup, you're right, on 'begs the question.' Slipped through a couple editors, so good catch.

Thanks,

B
David Walker-278941
David Walker-278941
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swellguy (8/19/2011)
David,

Yup, you're right, on 'begs the question.' Slipped through a couple editors, so good catch.

Thanks,

B


You're welcome. Thanks for the kind reply. I'm just trying (probably in vain) to help a few phrases keep their original meaning!
Trey Staker
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I really enjoyed this editorial. I brought back an memory of something similar at the beginning of my career. Scope creep can be very expensive or even deadly to a company.

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sqlvogel
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swellguy (8/18/2011)
I think you articulate well a point I was trying to make. The poor pencil maker could have said 'no,' and explained the business reasons for his refusal, at any time.

Was that really the point? If so I don't get it. Change is good. Change is the norm. IT folks shouldn't be saying no to change - they ought to be able to accommodate constant change and adjust their deliverables and working methods accordingly.

If the Pencil analogy is supposed to correspond to software development then perhaps the problem is that the pencil maker started out with a waterfall-style, fixed scope approach when the project might have benefited from a more iterative approach. Agile Principles emphasise that change is to be welcomed, even late in development and should be coupled with good communication and working closely with the customer every day.
swellguy
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David,

I'm a fan of agile myself-- that being the method I've been working under for the last few years. I wouldn't say that the primary theme of the work is that implementors should frequently say no-- but I would hope that it underlines the need for frequent, communication.

As someone noted above, and I think it is a valid criticism, the best design method in the world doesn't work if the customer cannot (or will not) articulate a solid specification.

Thanks for reading, I've enjoyed all the different perspectives,

Brad
Kenneth Fisher
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David Walker-278941 (8/19/2011)
swellguy (8/19/2011)
David,

Yup, you're right, on 'begs the question.' Slipped through a couple editors, so good catch.

Thanks,

B


You're welcome. Thanks for the kind reply. I'm just trying (probably in vain) to help a few phrases keep their original meaning!


This being completely off the original topic, but since I like the phrase, and I didn't see anything wrong with the way it was used, what is it supposed to mean?

Kenneth FisherI strive to live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without being questioned about its motives.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------For better, quicker answers on T-SQL questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/For better answers on performance questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQLServerCentral/66909/Link to my Blog Post --> www.SQLStudies.com
Ken Wymore
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Kenneth Fisher-475792 (8/22/2011)
David Walker-278941 (8/19/2011)
swellguy (8/19/2011)
David,

Yup, you're right, on 'begs the question.' Slipped through a couple editors, so good catch.

Thanks,

B


You're welcome. Thanks for the kind reply. I'm just trying (probably in vain) to help a few phrases keep their original meaning!


This being completely off the original topic, but since I like the phrase, and I didn't see anything wrong with the way it was used, what is it supposed to mean?


I too was unaware that this phrase was being used incorrectly so I looked it up on Wikipedia. If I read the definition correctly then "begging the question" actually means to "assume the initial point". It is a logical falacy where a person is "begging" the listener to accept the "question" (proposition) before the labor of logic is undertaken. In other words, trying to argue for a conclusion when the initial question is only assumed and not wholly understood. If anyone has a clearer explanation of this, please share with the rest of us! :-)

The phrase "Raises the question" is actually much more appropriate for the context of this article.
Kenneth Fisher
Kenneth Fisher
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Kenneth Wymore (8/22/2011)
Kenneth Fisher-475792 (8/22/2011)
David Walker-278941 (8/19/2011)
swellguy (8/19/2011)
David,

Yup, you're right, on 'begs the question.' Slipped through a couple editors, so good catch.

Thanks,

B


You're welcome. Thanks for the kind reply. I'm just trying (probably in vain) to help a few phrases keep their original meaning!


This being completely off the original topic, but since I like the phrase, and I didn't see anything wrong with the way it was used, what is it supposed to mean?


I too was unaware that this phrase was being used incorrectly so I looked it up on Wikipedia. If I read the definition correctly then "begging the question" actually means to "assume the initial point". It is a logical falacy where a person is "begging" the listener to accept the "question" (proposition) before the labor of logic is undertaken. In other words, trying to argue for a conclusion when the initial question is only assumed and not wholly understood. If anyone has a clearer explanation of this, please share with the rest of us! :-)

The phrase "Raises the question" is actually much more appropriate for the context of this article.


If thats true then I think half or more of the technical requirements I've read recently are "begging the question".

Don't you love how one of these discussions can get sidetracked?

Kenneth

Kenneth FisherI strive to live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without being questioned about its motives.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------For better, quicker answers on T-SQL questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/For better answers on performance questions, click on the following... http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQLServerCentral/66909/Link to my Blog Post --> www.SQLStudies.com
Ken Wymore
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Yeah I think a good number of projects result in something completely different than what was originally asked for due to assumptions. And we wonder why user acceptance is never 100%.... :-)
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