Monday, April 24, 2006

Business as Usual

One of the upper level managers just asked the other programmer on my team when we are planning on shipping the next version of the product. Not when is the next release planned, but when are WE planning the next release. The list of programmer job duties now consists of market research, write/manage the requirements, plan the iterations, write the product, write the end user help, assemble the necessary sales training materials, and pick the release date.

Our daily standup meeting consists of just the two of us. Since we sit in bordering cubicles and work with each other throughout the day, you can imagine we don't have much left to say to each other during these meetings. I keep thinking a manager, maybe even our manager, might actually show up.

At the last iteration planning, we "assigned" tasks to the execs to get us a Gartner report on the industry and look into getting us some beta testers. Of course, it's now the day before the end of the iteration and we still don't have the promised report. There's also no known progress on the beta tester situation. If I had a manager, it might shock him to know that I'm not doing any work either.

In my perfect world we'd be able to use the old house moving analogy of programming. We're moving a two story house on the back of a wide load truck. The programmer is driving it and the managers are the ones up ahead taking down power lines and closing intersections. Their responsibility is to get everything out of my way. My job is to drive the truck. Oh, but my world is far from perfect.

In reality it's more like I'm driving a Greyhound bus full of retarded people. They periodically try to get my attention so they can tell me that Timmy backed up the toilet by going number four or to show me their booger collection. Meanwhile, I'm motoring down the road in a bus leaking raw sewage and what appears to be some sort of medical waste all over the highway. Eugene is screaming that he's hungry but he can't have dairy when some freakshow with a mohawk and a pair of assless chaps jumps onto the front of the bus and starts making all menacing-like with the cub scout edition crossbow he's got strapped to his wrist. About this time I blow a tire, flip the bus which goes skidding down the highway on its side. As we skid to a stop the bus bursts into flames and explodes, throwing me clear of the wreckage. I come to to see Eugene leaning over me asking "are we there yet?"

Hey, they can't all be gold. There's some good news in it all, but I'll save that for another post.


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