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The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist by Jr. - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Frederick P. Brooks

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10. Inches, Ounces, Bits, Dollars—The Budgeted Resource

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If a design, particularly a team design, is to have conceptual integrity, one should name the scarce resource explicitly, track it publicly, control it firmly.

What’s the Budgeted Resource?

Within any design, there is at least one scarce resource to be rationed or budgeted. Sometimes there are two or more to be jointly optimized; but most commonly, one is dominant, and others appear chiefly as desiderata or constraints. Economists call this the limiting resource; I prefer to emphasize the necessary designer action: conscious budgeting.1

Although designers often ...

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