Away from working on software, I got busy last month (and months before) with a different kind of project – the wedding of my son. Such a project is no less complex than any software project. Too many moving parts. Early planning. A road-map with details including milestones, closure, as well as quality control. The scale was a challenge. A six day event with a peak load of 500 guests coming from all over the world. There were at least 3 locations for various evening programs to handle 160, 360 and 500 guests in succession. Each location had its own unique attributes to deal with.
Since several individuals were involved, collaborative software became key to timely decision and smooth flow of information. Google Documents, spreadsheets were used heavily. Means of communication included both synchronous and asynchronous – real-time phone calls, emails, sms, etc. The biggest challenge was to keep track of multiple events. The brain is a natural processor of multiple events, although at any time, it focuses on one event. No different than how message Q’s work. Brain memory was fully utilized augmented by digital forms of event lists and progress status.
Some items can not be replaced by the computer, like tasting food items or picking flower colors. One always checks the websites to get prepared for a meaningful discussion with the vendors. But I felt we are in the information age when invitation cards were printed eight thousand miles away and editing and design were managed via email and pdf files. Location transparency was in full practice here. Handouts, name cards, address labels were all done via software and dispatched to appropriate parties. We resorted to good old Microsoft Spreadsheet for guest lists, seating charts, and various number crunching exercises. When nothing worked, we resorted to the age-old software called “handwrite”.
We had the usual confusion when multiple copies were created and I was reminded of the file-era problems of duplication and redundancy before databases came along. We managed to stick to “single-copy” in the cloud via Google documents and spreadsheets, even though it was functionally deficient.
Overall, things went as smoothly as one can expect. We all had fun.
You can check this blog and some pictures to get an idea of the end product.