Of course, agreement does not prevent the bridge from collapsing anyway! But even in disaster, one can go back to the numbers and the logic and find the cause of failure.
I like to have a reason for doing things. The best reasons are based in rational thinking, but we may not always have time to discover the truth before we must act. In the end, I am pragmatic in my application of logic to the problems of the day. I am quick to compromise and not given to dogmatic points of view. I like to do helpful or useful things. Interestingly, the judge of whether something is useful is a customer or a consumer, not the producer. Part of what drew me to study architecture was the idea of making a sculpture that people would actually use--sculpture to not only admire, but also in which to live, work, play, or worship. I thought of architecture as bringing form to a client's dreams and visions. I like the iterative design process and the gradual unveiling of a program's ideal solution.
With so many problems to work on and so many competing demands for my time, I like to follow a few basic principles. First, do no work without a customer. Trust me, I could keep myself busy for days, but there are bills to pay. I need a customer. And if I have the luxury of choosing from among competing customers, I prefer a customer with an interesting problem and deep pockets. There should be a mutually beneficial reason why I select a customer. Secondly, I begin a project with the end in mind. I try to scope the effort and use the customer's inputs and constraints to shape that effort toward a mutually satisfactory end. Third, I use a holistic, systemic problem-solving approach. In other words, I look for ways that different parts of the process impact the other parts, and I work to develop the parts in parallel. This requires many re-visits of the program. Finally, when analyzing something such as a presentation or proposal, I think about why I like or dislike something, and I describe my perceptions using as many senses as possible.
So it starts with an audience or a customer and an interesting problem. I will read and research for a purpose. I will write and draw while I talk, or as a substitute for talking if necessary. Admittedly, it's always helpful to have a written record. And of course, transparency is good. Archives are good. OK, I will write and draw a lot, and then present these ideas to the customer. My inspiration, my approach, my logic are always under scrutiny--and the ultimate value or applicability of these efforts is often externally derived.
This is essentially my philosophy of learning, teaching, and living. My willingness to go back to square one many times over the course of a project can be very irritating to some people. I see the world in shades of gray. People looking for a quick result or a firm final answer may grow impatient with my process orientation. To me, the search for the truth has its own merit.