Friday, February 24, 2006

Thinking Caps

I mentioned in another post that one of the people that screws things up around here was recently put back in charge of the team he has been unable to manage in the past. His latest innovation is to have everyone on his team bring in a hat of some sort. This will be your "thinking cap." When you walk into someone's cubicle and see they have their thinking cap on you shouldn't disturb them. This is his great secret of productivity. A fucking thinking cap. Nevermind that they're still in cubicles, unable to escape the inane chatter that goes on around here. Nevermind that he's the crazy sort of manager that will just eliminate iterations and give one off changes directly to customers without rolling them into the product. No, no. None of that matters because now they have their thinking caps.

Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey

One of the guys in the office brings in breakfast tacos every now and then. Now, I'm not complaining--just observing. The guy is dangerously overweight and has been having heart related problems. So, why is it that he only buys one kind of breakfast taco: egg and BACON. They all cost the same and he's surely not going to eat all of them. They're pre-made where he buys them so it wouldn't take any additional time to grab a couple of handfuls of, say, egg and potato perhaps? And is bacon really what he should be eating in his condition?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Send in the Clowns

This morning, I'm in my cubicle minding my own damn business when some sales guy starts asking some questions on the other side of the aisle. The questions boil down to the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about and doesn't want to look like a fool in front of a potential customer. He starts asking all sorts of questions about how the product works and where certain information comes from.

Of course, none of the developers know any of this off the top of their heads. That's not to say that they can't find out. It's just a matter of whether or not you want them spending their time doing that. However, the sales twat seems to think that somehow that's a deficiency on the part of our development staff. How can we not know how our own product works?

Then he starts doing to typical sales guy fluffer bullshit by trying to sum up the situation in a way that points more blame at someone else. "Well, it sounds to me like we can't answer this guy's question. It sounds to me like we don't know how this stuff works. Listen guys, I really need to not come off like I don't know what I'm talking about. Are you going to be able to help me find these answers or not?"

I don't know which part bothers me more. The fact that he wants to needlessly start slinging blame in a non-critical situation or the fact that he, in typical slimey sales turd fashion, feels the need to do a song and dance for the customer rather than be honest. Man, I hate sales and marketing people.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You're Fuckin' Crazy

Yes, a reference to a Guns 'N' Roses song.

Recently at work, we've been having quite the shake ups. About a year ago, the company I work for was in a terrible state. Their one and only product grew out of a set of scripts that the founder had used when he was a systems administrator. The scripts were so handy, they became a product. To quote another developer here, "It's like someone found a good place to set up a tent and later decided to put in a chimney." As you can imagine, the product didn't boast the best architecture. To make matters worse, the original guy would visit customer sites and write code on-site for their one off changes. Try figuring out how to support / upgrade that!

At some point they were acquired and everyone decided they needed to play grown up and act like a real IT organization. They hired a development manager that then proceeded to try and straighten this snot-fest out. Of course, this is a "two steps back three steps forward situation"--things were going to get worse before they got better. People would have their "freedom" to be bad developers sharply curtailed. That's a good thing in my eyes.

Well, recently the acquiring body decided shit just wasn't going right. They needed to get sales of their steaming pile of a product back up to desired levels. The solution? Put the original fuck up back in charge of the project. During the meeting to announce this, that little fucker was just as excited as can be. Finally, he was going to get to do things his way. Of course he could straighten things out (never mind that he was the original cause of all of the problems). Step one? No more iterations, regular releases, etc. We'll just do everything in one big waterfall-like chunk. Brilliant!

Now, that brings us to the "crazy" part from our title:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. -- Benjamin Franklin
Have fun storming the castle, you hump.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Compensating Your Potential Competition

It's funny, but almost every place I've ever worked seems to feel the need to get their employees to sign hard-core anti-competition agreements. You can't start your own company in the same domain or go to work for a company in the same domain for X amount of years. Of course, these agreements are usually unenforceable, but that's not my point.

If you are so convinced that specific people in your organization could become a serious threat to your livelihood were they to go out and create a competing product, perhaps you're doing something wrong. Specifically, maybe you should listen to some of those people. Evidently you're scared that they know how to do something better than you do.

And, if their input is worth listening to, maybe you should compensate them fairly. Programmers in general get a good salary for their work but very little in the way of compensation for the IP they contribute. It's very hard to expect loyalty from your key people if they have no long term stake in the company (no stock options, no per unit royalties, etc).

File it under random useless thoughts I had this weekend.