I recently became a homeowner (for the second time) and between moments of joy and ouch-iness on the decision to buy the home, it stuck me how much of being a homeowner is like an engineering effort. I have always admired lists that float around on the web and thought I should come up with one someday. Here is my very own list. For the good or worse, I will stand behind it.
1. Like an engineering problem, it all starts with a dream of the impossible. Something that is perfect and always satisfies. This stupid dream has killed many a product and given sleepless nights to many a home buyer and subsequently owner. The reality is never quite the dream.
2. Like every engineering effort, there is a requirements phase where great time and detail is given to what one needs. And like every product made till date, the final version and feature set never really matches what you set out to get in the first place.
3. Feature creep is as big a problem in choosing a home as it is in building something. Wants, desires and market direction keeps moving the goal post.
4. Somewhere during development, some people just tune out. Much like the home buying process.
5. Once the home is bought, the real task begins much like in product development where the real challenge is keeping the consumer happy.
6. When it comes to costs, just like in product development, budgets are a mirage. Something just to keep the spreadsheeters happy. It really never adds up.
7. The homeowner makes himself feel good by talking up the tax savings and rental money down the drain. He never tells you how often he loses his savings on the house or how often he fixes the drains. In engineering, everyone talks up the wonderful features no one uses but is lacking in a competing product and on which zillions of hours were spent to no real use.
8. The code always looks good and passes all tests until it hits the market. Then the bugs start piling up. The house passes all inspections until the keys are handed over. Then the floor starts creaking, toilet plumbing stops working and the roof leaks.
9. The product manager commits to features the team can almost never deliver. The house manager commits to cleaning and upkeep schedules that can never be met. Ever.
10. There is always the quick prayer when nothing else helps.