Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In 10 months BC, Death Seemed Imminent

I was talking with a co-worker today, we'll call him Brian, about some software changes they were going to be requesting from another developer here at work. He made the comment, in all confidence, saying:
"That shouldn't take long at all to fix that."

My mind went in all different directions.

As Software Developers, we've all been in the situation of trying to explain all that goes into making a change to a piece of software to management & people outside the realm of development.  Sometimes the change is relatively easy, as far as coding goes....but other times it's much more involved. To them they make the request...forget about it, and magically it gets done.

Some companies have each of the steps of development separated into individual positions as described so eloquently in this blog written by Eric Lippert from Microsoft. However, not all companies can or (like my company) are willing to spend the extra cash to separate those roles, and as a result the responsibility of each step falls onto the shoulders of a single developer.

Now, bringing this back to my story...

Having a little knowledge of the system that was about to receive a change request...i knew that the change was far from simple...but only because of the implications it could have on other systems that make reference to that system. And the person who would be putting in the work, I knew, was unfamiliar with that system.

I retorted with a simple inquisition, asking what made him think it wouldn't take much time. It was then that he redeemed his previous comment of ignorance.
"Well back in The Dark Ages, before you came here...I'd assume It'd take much longer, or that I'd never get the change at all. But now we just have to  ask for it, and we can trust that you will work your magic and get it to us" 

Yes, I'm recognize that there was a little buttering up done in that statement (pandering your Programmers is always encouraged), but what deeply amused me was his referring to the time before my employment in this department, as "The Dark Ages".

"10 months BC (Before CloudyOne), there was contention amongst the people and plains were near desolate. Software was filled with bugs and errors. The buffer overflow threatened the very existence of the application, and workarounds could be found at every function. But there was hope....stories foretold of a man who would come and patch the...."

Oh wouldn't that be great to have a comic novel written to symbolically explain of your day to day changes? Maybe an idea for  the future.

1 comment :

matthew said...

i'm with you all the way buddy!