...by Daniel Szego
quote
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Product specification and nonstandard set theory


Surprisingly software products do not behave exactly the same way as psychical products from a data sheet point of view. Physical products usually have got the a certain number of functionality that they deliver. As an example, consider a datasheet for a watch that is for instance capable of measuring the time, showing in different, having alarm clock and so on. 
In this sense the datasheet of a watch as a product can be something like : 
- Shows time in 12 / 24 format. 
- Shows the date. 
- Alarm clock. 
- Water resistance. 
- ...

From a mathematical point of view let we consider a U universe of possible functionality. We can say that classical products can be described as subsets of the universe of functionality. 

A software product however is a more difficult thing. On the one hand it is not so easy to specify a  functionality of a software product as generally the terms like collaboration, mobile awareness, user friendly are not so exactly specified as like showing time in 12 / 24 format. On the other hand, most software products have got more or less possibility for extension. It can be some kind of a customization, scripting extension, plug in, or third party integration. So instead of saying for a software product that it realizes a certain functionality, it is better to say the followings:
- It realizes a functionality out of the box.
- It realizes a functionality with customization.
- It realizes a functionality with scripting.
- It realizes a functionality with third party integration.
...
- It can not realize a functionality.

From a mathematical point of view a software product can be much better modeled as a Fuzzy or a rough set of a given U universe of possible functionalities.