Monday, June 28, 2010

Making Life Cycle

Making Monday

I generally enjoy watching cooking programs even though I know they're lying to me--not because what they show is inaccurate but because they only show part of the process.

Who wouldn't want to cook if it really was like the cooking shows? You'd only need to assemble the ingredients (magically arrayed for you in small glass bowls), pop the uncooked dish into the top oven, and pull the steaming, fully-cooked dish from the lower oven.

Users who claim to make are generally interested only in the most visible part of the process. Makers understand that the process of making spans a life cycle stretching (metaphorically) from cradle to grave. In outline form, the major steps look like this:

  • Design
  • planning
  • Accumulating (purchasing)
  • Preparing
  • Assembling in sequence
  • Intermediate processes (e.g. painting a sub-assembly)
  • Final assembly
  • Finishing (i.e., sanding and painting)
  • Installing or delivering
  • Cleaning up
Film production has three well known stages:
  • preproduction
  • production
  • post production
The process of writing a novel goes through similar phases.

The important point is that unlike cooking shows, true makers understand that a project has a beginning, middle, and end, and that while all phases are not equally appealing they are all necessary. A true maker doesn't call a project done until they've taken it through all the phases of its life cycle.

 Image: Bill Longshaw /

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