Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Adventure Continues

I always thought it was ironic that Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins didn't have a sequel. Sure there may have been a pump fake of a television show, but I won't count that. The adventure began and ended all in one movie. Having enjoyed the movie greatly, or at least somewhat, I always wanted more. Were the makers of the movie smart enough to know that an attempt at a sequel (or a trilogy) would only ruin the characters and leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouths? Sadly for you, I am not so wise as the gods of Remo's universe. This is my sequel and my meandering, profanity peppered stories detailing the decline and fall of all things reasonable and logical is what will likely become the bad taste in everyone's mouths. I apologize in advance.

Now, if I just came out and told you that I was a frog sitting in a pot of boiling water you wouldn't have much sympathy. That's why we have to go back a little to when I was a frog sitting in a pot of lukewarm water. Everyone didn't suddenly go bat shit crazy on me. It happened a little at a time.

I took this job about a year ago. I'm still a web developer working in Java. Let's say that I work on a billing application for hospitals to bill people for hospitally stuff like heroin, band-aids, enemas or whatever it is that hospitals bill people for. We're a startup, which is to say we're an 8 year old company that still hasn't figured out how to make money but can still somehow fool investors into giving us more of theirs.

Up until about 2 months ago, the development team had been working away at fixing the product. Years ago, we were a company with people that could sell things that didn't exist. The head of development was a silly little man who we'll call Trent. He has a CS degree (although I think it's printed on a lobster bib so it may not count) but no real understanding of how software is built. When our turd of a product finally made it to the customer, all hell broke loose. My favorite story is one in which one of our company representatives was escorted from a customer site by the police. Good times.

To fix this, Trent (after maximum damage was done to the product) was moved from development to sales. Mostly reasonable people were hired to unturdify the product. We then turned into a company that couldn't sell anything we actually produced. Trent would swear up and down that we could sell anything we didn't currently make, however. This lead to numerous attempts to prematurely jam new, radically different, functionality into the existing product. The development manager and architect managed to keep these changes off the feature list while we slowly paid down our technical debt (racked up primarily by Trent).

And this is where the water started to heat up, however slowly, on our heroic frog (that's me for those of you too lazy to recall the boiling water analogy from earlier). I was talking to one of the other developers (all developers in this story are logical beings) about how this was now the best product I had worked on to date. I was on an iteration high. Our nearly year long feature parity, rearchitect-in-place effort was bearing fruit. We were slowly adding an API to the system. Life was mostly good.

Not five minutes after I was sporting wood at how everything was coming up Greg (that's my name, remember?), my manager walks up and says, "Well, I'm about to be fired." If this was a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book you'd be told you could get the hell out by turning to page 89 or you could ride the wave by turning to page 105. I'll see you on page 105...


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Chip said...

rock on, reggae piglet!


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