Reverse Engineer

We’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty at work at the moment, even though we know what needs to happen it’s hard to see all the steps needed and all the transitions along the way. So today the suggestion was that we start with the known end state and “reverse engineer” what should be done.

Reverse engineer is a way to learn how something works by taking it apart, generally with the goal of either improving it or building your own version. It’s used a lot in reference to building/copying software applications, although it is a legitimate technique for identifying virus or intrusive code. It’s also used in the pharmaceutical industry to develop “generic” versions of drugs.

But if we don’t have the “end state” we can’t take it apart and analyse. We have a rough idea of several scenarios of what the end state might be. So it’s a bit like handing someone the box an iPod came in and asking them to reverse engineer that.

image Steampunk spider sculpture – First Update – work in progress /Daniel Proulx/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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