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This is an actual Googleplex toilet (courtesy of eszter’s Flickr page) . Isn’t it brilliant?

Actual Google toilet

It has an “oscillation” button. It cleanses front and back (surely it’s all “underneath”?). It has the ability to dry you.

Now I’m a guy and wouldn’t like to comment on whether this is the best toilet in the world for a woman but since when did toilets need LCD menus? The Google Mens’ toilets are probably holes in the ground but in case they’re not can you imagine the conversation?

Cubicle 1: <Bzzzzzzzzzz>

Cubicle 2: “Dude, are you oscillating in there?”

Cubicle 1: “Sorry man, I couldn’t decide between front or back cleansing and I pushed the wrong button in a panic”

Cubicle 2: “Well, hurry up. Now I’m going to have to dry early to cover your noise. Er…do you know how to set the temperature? I’m scared of burning things here.”

…and so on. Isn’t the toilet something that we, as a race of intelligently evolved beings, can say we’ve mastered already? Does it really need jazzing up? This looks like a classic example of feature creep.

We’re reaching a tentative development stage of ode where we have to be ultra careful not to let extra functions sneak up on the platform. We’re that close to having a substantial working application it’s exciting to look a few steps ahead to the fun stuff.

It would be so easy to add an oscillation button.

Some call this feature creep but as we’re not working from a traditional “Functional Spec” method (we’re all about agile design here) I’m not sure what we’re experiencing is exactly the same thing. It’s more of an impatient feature queue.

You see, with agile we absolutely can add anything in we like as we go along, there’s nothing stopping us. Agile is great for 3 very important things:

  1. You openly embrace the fact that you do not know everything before you start.
  2. Some things only become apparent on the journey.
  3. You have the ability to react to and implement customer needs very quickly.

There’s no comprehensive specification document to lock out things that come up during the development. But that’s not to say we don’t have all the necessary checks and balances to stop us drowning under a wave of new features. You have to have resolve and will power to stop it happening as much as anything.

We’re at the stage now where we’ve done more than enough to prove the platform, but we’ve only built the solid stuff. You can’t raise a house without foundations, you can’t drive a car without wheels. But foundations aren’t sexy. It’s not the stuff that will make people’s eyes spin.

But it is absolutely 100% necessary that you get your major components right before building a toilet that oscillates.

“…Among the examples of oscillation in the physical world are the motion of a spring, pendulum, or even the steady back-and-forth movement of a child on a swing.”

What is ODE?

ODE will be a webstore where educators can buy little bits of digital educational content and put them back together any way they like. Simple.