Tag Archives: software development

Dreaming 5GW, Part III: Lessons from Software Development

Unleashed Kadath (from okoun.cz)

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but provocation by a fool is heavier than both.”

“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
King Solomon (Proverbs 27:1,3,12)

In 5GW, secrecy is vital for success. While this has always been true on some levels, secrecy has never been vital on the grand-strategic level before 5GW. In 5GW the enemy’s knowledge of your existence all but ends your plans.

Describing 5GW, Mark Safranski writes

It occurs to me after reading Dan’s post the that a very powerful shift of longitudinal perspective takes place. 4GW is executed over a very long time frame, sometimes decades. 5GW is conceived in terms of strategic vision over an even longer time frame, sometimes before an opponent realizes that they will be an opponent but the execution time may be very short in comparison to 4GW. The operative question is probably whether the attacker or the defender has initiated 5GW – once you are already attacked you have missed your opportunity to shape the battlespace.

Once I realized what 5GW is, re-reading Mark’s words immediately reminded me of Systems Analysis & Design with Omar El-Gayar. The crushing Systems Analysis & Design class, called “SAD” by everyone, teaches that to create a system a plan must be created, in analysis of the plan against the current situation must be conducted, a design must be established, and finally the system must be implemented. Visually:

PADI: Planning, Analysis, Design, Implementation

Over the years, two different philosophies have surfaced of the best way to design a system — the most effective way to run through the plan-analysis-design-implementation obstacle course.

Waterfall Development was the first method tried. It takes every step one-after-the-other. Careful and methodical, it looks like a waterfall or perhaps a series of dammed locks, each lower than the last Because Waterfall Development occurs in a series, it might also be called “serial development.”

Waterfall Development (PADI, Serialized)

(A variant of waterfall development, “parallel development,” breaks down one large products into several smaller projects, each of which use their own waterfall model.)

The other major philosophy is “Rapid Application Development,” the most famous version of which is “Prototyping.” The chief difference between Rapid Application Development Prototyping and Waterfall Development is that RAD allows projects to evolve, changing as new requirements come in. RAD is considered to be much more flexible than Waterfall Development, and has become the industry standard in almost all subfields of software engineering.


Industry Standard Prototyping / Rapid Application Development (RAD)

Warfare, like software development, is a complex human undertaking involving reconciling a future worth creating with stakeholders. Waterfall’s top-down Soviet-style leadership seems most appropriate for older generations of war, while Prototyping’s user-centric approach is closer to 4GW and “open source” warfare. So will 5GW be “Waterfall Developed” or “Prototyped”?

To see, just look at the pros of Prototyping:

What’s Wrong with the Pros of Prototyping?

Need a hint?

In Prototyping, User Can Identify anything

Prototyping lets the end-users know the project exists. 5GW relies on the users not knowing that the project exists at all.

Prototyping allows for loose, Darwinian networks of projects competing with each other with user-input. For 4GW, this is fantastic. But just as being “fast” is more important than being completely “right” in maneuver war, being secret is more important than being completely “right” in 5GW.

5th Generation Wars will be created with Waterfall Development. We can see what 5GWs will be like by looking at what Waterfall Development is like:

  • Requirements must be known a long time before fighting begins
  • Requirements will be rigid and non-adaptable
  • Long Time between proposal and victory

(tdaxp’s Note: Before I put 5GW together with Systems Analysis, I could not see why Mark would say “5GW is conceived in terms of strategic vision over an even longer time frame, sometimes before an opponent realizes that they will be an opponent but the execution time may be very short in comparison to 4GW.” It seemed a non-sequitur. My hat off to Mark for seeing this long before I did.)

Dreaming 5GW, a tdaxp series
1. The Dream-Quest of Unknown 5GW
2. The Uncaring War
3. Lessons from Software Development
4. 5th Generation Networks
5. A Boydian Approach to 5GW
6. A Dream of 5GW