Thursday, December 12, 2013

Beyond Whiteboarding: Cupcaking

When it comes to communication, I've always believed that a visual representation of a concept was more powerful than a strictly verbal one (see Rule #10). But, apparently, I haven't been thinking far enough outside of the box. Whiteboarding a concept is good, but Cupcaking is even better! Cupcaking? Allow me to explain.

Last night, Dawn of gym fame, was telling me about bringing a new team member up to speed on a project. This project involves tagging objects with identifiers (including serial numbers and part numbers). She wanted to emphasize to the newbie that some of the numbers were unique in some contexts, but not others. And how did she do this? By baking cupcakes, of course!

Here's a photo she took of said cupcakes:

The little flags, as you can see, contain various metadata. And the chocolate and vanilla flavors serve to divvy up the cupcakes into distinct types.

Rather than just looking at a diagram explaining which identifiers are unique, you can actually physically handle--and eat--the models. Brilliant!

Forget bringing a laptop to my next meeting, I'm going to bring one of these. Who wants to describe the architecture of a website on a whiteboard, when I can do it in tasty little cakes!

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