Never Dull in the ZT Bus Series – The Bus POC

Matt “Never” Dull has been a technology consultant for over 15 years and is only famous for a few of things. The earliest was a 12’ x 6’ acrylic on canvas painting “Four Bluish Ballerinas” in 1993, if anyone locates it, please put the starting bid at $10. With a brain that can “never” say no to solving the strangest of business requirements, he has successfully delivered some of the most interesting and seemingly impossible integrations involving content management, search, social, portals, security and mobile solutions to a client list a mile long. In November of 2015, he bought a bus. This bus will eventually become a home, a mobile house where technology wheels will continue to turn and sweat from his pores. So the adventure begins. His two kids and dog put up with him and will join him on cross country bus trips when they can.

POCs and why they are important, nah, just jump right in

I am stuck in a POC world, everyone want’s the try before you buy. Great, have at it. Contact 30 vendors, go through all of those sales pitch bull crap sessions, get the sales and tech teams onsite, install a trial version, hook it up to your services. Wait, you have services that can be consumed, right? Maybe, but that requires change requests for firewall rules. Realize you have no way to generate a production load, let the trial license expire. Fail. Next vendor, please.

After hours upon hours searching, I finally went to look at a bus. A friend drove me the 200 mile journey to make a split second decision. I had already put a non-refundable down payment on the bus, sight unseen. Test drove it for 15 minutes. Said yes, filled it up with gas and drove it 200 miles home. In the pouring rain. With no plates or insurance. And with what I later found out, most of the front suspension worn out. Did I mention that I had never driven a bus before in my life? Now that is how a POC should go, give or take. What was I looking for?  How could I make such a large decision so quickly?

I took the time to define my requirements and the laundry list was short. I’ve been in too many projects from the beginning phases where the list of requirements was a novel. The problem with this approach is that you are back to the monolithic beast that haunts you every night as you try to fall asleep knowing you are behind schedule.

  1. It must have decent tires
  2. It must be drivable
  3. It must have little to no visible rust

Look at it this way. I knew I needed a toilet on my bus. That is a requirement. I know I need a bed, fridge, stove, sink and the list goes marching on. These are all valid requirements, but last I checked, most buses do not contain these features so there truly is no way to evaluate the shell/product so they move off to a later project. Stop and think about this, delivering small feature subsets of a larger system in short periods of time can get you to the end goal much faster and in a more controllable manner.

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