The Human Spinal Cord and a Product Manager’s email.

A relative of mine is going through a spinal cord related injury. I started learning about our spinal cord and now I am thoroughly freaked out!!

The Spinal cord is the single point of failure for multiple organs in our body! The 24 vertebrae forming the Spinal cord are connected to every organ in the body through our nervous system. And any problem with any of the vertebrae affects a multiple of organs associated with the vertebrae.
Take a look at this to understand the true nature of the spinal cord.

It is as though, you went about drawing the architecture diagram for your product and every part of the architecture seems to be connected to this tiny DB server with no backup! FREAKY STUFF!!

As a product manager, I can’t resist myself from yelling at Evolution – the culprit who decided to architect this “human body” product in its current form. And this is how I would have written a mail, if the human body was my Product:

“Dear Evolution,
Thanks for the “Opposable Thumbs” release – Quite a great addition to our product. I hear from our users that they are able to do a lot of new things that were not possible before. Our users can now easily Grasp objects and use them for beating each other to death in a easier way!

By the way, I was testing a feature on the Liver and found that the organ malfunctions on occasions which were difficult to pinpoint. After some stress testing, we figured out that the issue was caused due to a small mis-alignment in the “D8” vertebra of the spinal cord which is connected to the Liver through a small set of nerves. The mis-alignment was as small as 2 mm and it caused the entire organ to randomly break down.

After digging deeper, we found that the 24 Vertebra modules of the spinal cord program are used across multiple organs functionality, with each module being the critical connecting piece between organs. After running some trial runs on actual bodies ( and hence wasting them in the process), we figured that small damages, mis-alignments in any of the modules of this program can adversely affect the functionality of multiple organs thus bringing the product to a standstill.

The kicker in the analysis was that, there is no backup for this system. If it fails there is no “Previous version” we can roll it back into. It also cannot be replaced by the program of another body.

So effectively, you have created a single point of failure for the entire product. The occurrence of failure is high as it is a highly exposed organ with little protection around it. It can neither be replaced nor repaired to its pre-damaged form. Any small variation in its functionality adversely messes up the product performance.

You did a good job of identifying the brain and the heart as critical organs and hiding them behind a cranium and the ribs.

But what the F*** were you thinking when you designed the Spinal cord, you no-good, sunnavabidtch? Were you piss drunk when you released this functionality? And haven’t it ever occurred to you for all these years that you need to do something about this?

I saw your OKR for the quarter. What are you working on? Oh yeah… “Reducing the occurrence of hair randomly on the skin surface”. Well F*** that!! I am de-prioritizing each and every other backlog item the team is working on and getting us to solve this issue. We better get our asses right on this problem. LIVES DEPEND ON THIS!!

Sigh… sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks!


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