I’ve been reading about Col John Boyd’s OODA Loop — Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act — and I realized that some of the thinking based on this theory articulates intuitive reasons I’d had for liking zero defect milestones. Strategies such as “shortening your loop” and “getting inside” the enemy’s loop are those that zero defect milestones facilitate. If “Act” is the process of shipping a release, keeping the software in a shippable state preserves the ability of an organization to change the length of its loop based solely on external schedule requirements, without added constraints due to the accumulation of quality and other technical debts.

It’s notable how often MBA types use military analogies to justify business processes. I used to think this was to play up the glamour of business competition. Having learned something about the military from books such as Cognition in the Wild, it’s apparent that there’s another reason too. It’s not because business is war, but because war is business. The armed forces are the largest test field for the study of management, administration, and the creation and maintenance of institutional knowledge. Many of the processes for performing these tasks are independent of the line work that is being managed.