What You See Is What You Get

A useful historical metaphor is to review how WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-e-wig) was adopted:

– BEFORE WYSIWYG, documents were created by a special role – a typist – that used type writers, and later text editors, to create documents. The content creator, a lawyer, movie director or scientist, reviewed and marked up drafts that were then used by the typist to retype the corrected document. 

– AFTER WYSIWYG, the content creator created the documents immediately themselves using a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG was an improvement, not just on the tool being used, but on the document creation process itself.

There is a very strong parallel with Intentional Software. The parallel to the content creator of the contract, the movie script, or the scientific article, is the knowledge expert. The parallel to the typist is the software programmer of today (or more accurately, one of the roles of the software programmer). Once the first software implementation exists, the programmers’ job in current industry practices becomes very much like the typists’ job used to be: to do the repetitive work of accommodating the changes, small and large, and to propagate the consequences of the changes in the software code, in effect retyping. This is a highly inefficient process.

WYSIWYG transformed the document creation process by giving content creators direct control of the process. Similarly, Intentional Software intends to transform the creation process of knowledge intensive work products by giving the knowledge experts – the content creators – direct control of the process. WYSIWYG empowered millions of document authors to create great document products – it is now time to empower knowledge workers to create great knowledge products and this is the ambition of Intentional Software.