Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Planning Roller Coasters

I was reading an article about Maurer Rides – a company that build roller coasters in FunWorld, and I thought I would pass on a few points that I found interesting and relevant. Their approach to design development and implementation is divided up into 4 phases: Explorer, Artist, Judge and Warrior.

The exploration stage is where all the information is gathered. Collecting available data, looking for information that isn’t readily available, requirements of the ride (especially requirements that are in apparent conflict), restraints, and all other pertinent information occurs during this stage. This allows the artist in the next step the ability to come up with a diverse amount of creative ideas.

The artist stage uses all of the gathered information to generate a variety of ideas for the coasters design. This phase generates the best ideas when the team is diversified and resources are used from every angle. A wide variety of participants discuss ideas before being fully developed.

“Judge” is the next stage. During this period evaluation occurs regarding ideas and current achievement within the project. It also matches the ideas against the specifications to confirm that the proposed ideas meet requirements.

The final stage is implementation which is where the warrior comes into play. The Warrior realizes the idea from the designs to a finished product. Schedules, budgets and planning are among the tools used here.

Lastly the article relates a common message: the better your initial requirements, goals (requirements for a successful outcome) are, the better you can evaluate your outcomes. If you don’t define what is a success is – you will have a hard time creating a successful end.

I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions – but it seems to me that these phases relate to theatre and projects pretty well and is a useful way to look at the project cycle.

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