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Spacecraft Design

"Engineering is done with numbers. Analysis without numbers is, at best, only an opinion."

Akin’s laws of spacecraft design (Google cache, another copy), by David Akin, a professor at the University of Maryland is a remarkable collection collected over the years Mr. Akin worked in the field of Spacecraft Design. These are all very good laws, most of which are applicable to many different professions.

Here’s my personal pick for the laws that apply to management.

For programmers, most of us don’t make systems that can potentially kill people, due to errors. We should consider ourselves to be lucky we are not doctors or aircraft engineers. These guys don’t get the luxury of "trial and error" or "compile and re-compile" like we do. Still, atleast do a mental design, come up with an algorithm, validate that algorithm, write pseudo-code and only then start coding, to reduce mistakes. Still better, use Python for making your pseudo-code and production code same.

While I was in college, computers were not as popular as it is now. We had to prepare the flowchart, pseudo-code and the actual code on our workbooks before we set foot in the computer lab. We were not even supposed to get compilation errors after typing in the code from paper to the computer (good old unix VT100 terminals). I guess, it all boils down to proper planning, organized thinking and review.