Introduction to The Electric Cat

by Richard Taylor : 2019-10-09

Since I am starting this new project, I thought it might be interesting to write about the process from the start, rather than just documenting it afterwards.

What is it?

For years I have worked with organisations that needed to make and track connections between business requirements, implementations, tests, documentation and various other types of "thing".

There are tools to do that. But none of them cover the whole range of "things" or types of connections very well. This is largely because in most organisations the people who create the requirements are not the same people who do the implementation. In turn, the people who do the implementation are not always the same people who do the testing, or write all the documentation.

So each group of people have their own favourite tools that do their bit well. And the most general tools start off as a special tool and then evolve to cover more types of "thing" with varying degrees of success.

In order to track the connections between these "things" in different systems we end up creating unique-ish identifiers for each item and then referencing those identifiers. Anyone who has seen comments like this knows what I am talking about...

# Implements PRJ-123 required by REQ-2, REQ-7 and REQ-66.

We end up with highly connected "things" but no easy way to navigate or manage those connections.

Which made me think about the characteristics I would like to see in a more universal system. And I thought about it on and off for several years. Finally deciding to kick something off here. But not really having a compelling reason to put much effort in...

Until I went to Lean Agile Brighton 2019 and heard Simon Wardley speak about Mapping. It occurred to me that I had been stuck thinking about graphs and how I might be able to make better use of them. But turning graphs into maps? Wow, that is an exciting prospect that could deliver real insight instead of, or as well as, some pretty diagrams.

And so the purpose became clear...

The Electric Kitten
Donde esta el gato electrico

The Electric Cat is a tool for connecting and mapping whatever items you need to track to make your endeavour a success.