unless you can turn the thing on and off.” So, OK, they were going to try the method our way, and they said we’ll do it. They normally would have done it last, and they did it first. So the first increment, you could turn the tape drive on, it would go through its internal test, come up ready to work, and you turn it off, and that’s all it would do. But if anyone wanted that tape drive we could ship it; it would work.
PARTICIPANT: I don’t want it!
POORE: Oh, you’ve got one of those! [laughter] The next increment we put in the fundamental commands to move the tape forward and backward. Turn it on, move the tape, turn it off— that’s what it would do. The next increment we put in the basic read-and-write commands, and we could read and write data. At that point, the thing was actually useable. The next level, we implemented more of the SCSI protocol for that tape drive, and at that point it was useable and could have been shipped. And in the final increment we put in the final bells and whistles of the SCSI protocol, which are probably rarely if ever used. So that at any point along the line you could quit.
So for your survey instruments, I would like to think that each one is a variation on a previous theme, that you could find one out there that’s very similar to the one you’re doing. OK, you say no. Now, let me ask you this: is the question you’re answering—is the purpose you’re serving—is the reason for doing this survey in any way related to any other job you’ve been given before? I mean, is it similar?
DOYLE: Well, we often have a data series where we do some repetitions. And so in that case we have some similarities. But we have a lot of one-time surveys that are unique for a particular compilation.
POORE: But aren’t the one-time surveys, in some way, similar to each other?
DOYLE: They’re always very unique in the questions that they pose.
POORE: But … I keep wanting to find a framework, to say that you could adopt this framework and go in and work with the details.
ONETO: Well, I think that in the survey world we really did embark on an incremental development strategy …
DOYLE: Oh, yeah …
ONETO: … ten years ago, but we just didn’t know it. And the increments have been expensive, because the increments are each time we’ve fielded a survey. And I think that there has been a building of knowledge and a building of expertise. And, according to what you’ve presented here, I think most of our maturity perhaps has been at the requirements and specifications development stage.
Prior to automation our biggest time constraint was getting OMB’s clearance at the time we were getting ready to go into the field. But now