Left Hand: meet Right Hand



  • Here at WTF Inc, the sales folks were allowed to run wild, and customers were getting PO'd that either features weren't implemented in the promised timeframe, or they were implemented so badly that they were less than useless. Now management is finally trying to prioritize everything that needs to get done, and directing resources at only the highest priority items. It's a good thing that the organization is finally getting its head out of its ass waking up and maturing.

    Ok, there's a giant whiteboard with all of the projects that need to be done down the left side, in descending order of priority, and a list of all the teams across the top. In each intersecting box, there is a list of resource names and % dedication of their time to be applied to each task. This makes it fairly easy to see where folks are needed the most. Naturally, all the boxes at the top are filled and all the boxes at the bottom are empty.

    The sales folks start griping that nobody is working on some of their pet projects. "All the bodies are accounted for. If you need more done, you need to hire more people. That costs money. Will you provide the budget?" "No!" "Then your stuff doesn't get worked on!"

    If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it happened at WTF Inc.

    Then I noticed that about 20-ish projects that are ongoing in the background (speed this or that up, research why such and such doesn't work the way one would expect, upgrade hardware, replace aging messaging infrastructure with new libraries and migrate all the applications, etc) are not even listed on the chart. I drove two nails into the wall right at the ceiling and raised the huge whiteboard all the way up. Then I got several sheets of giant meeting-room post-its and papered the wall beneath the main board, added all of these other projects and made management set priorities accordingly.

    Management collectively soiled themselves as we started erasing resources from the customer-functionality projects so that they could be dedicated to the mandated-absolutely-must-have infrastructure projects. 

    It turns out that although you can't lower the priority of certain must-have projects, you can increase the priority of other more important must-have projects.

    I put it all in a spreadsheet and sent it to the whole management crowd.

    It's presently up to 43 revisions and counting.



  • Snoofie's posts no longer make me feel better about my own crappy job.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Snoofie's posts no longer make me feel better about my own crappy job.

     

    Quoted for Truthiness



  • Anyway you could post an anonymized/blurred picture of this behemoth?



  • But we all know that software engineers spend most of their time reading email, surfing the web, and typing, for gosh's sake!!! Can't we just get them to stop doing that and spend the extra time on MY project?
    Or, can't we just ask them to work a couple of extra hours a week on these important projects?

    -- realizing that the emails we read are team communications; and without them we wouldn't have a team
    -- 99 % of our (non dailywtf) time is searching stack overflow for solutions to problems
    -- the typing we do is actually us writing code or emails.

    And, if we're doing our job correctly, at the end of an 8-hour day we're just completely wrung out --- additional hours of work are just fodder for future front page articles.



  • @DrPepper said:

    But we all know that software engineers spend most of their time reading email, surfing the web, and typing, for gosh's sake!!!

    Well, it's true--look at us here.



  • Sounds like the start of a Kanban board. Love it!



  • @Nexzus said:

    Any way you could post an anonymized/blurred picture of this behemoth?

     Sorry - too risky while I'm still working there (this happened today)



  • @snoofle said:

    @Nexzus said:

    Any way you could post an anonymized/blurred picture of this behemoth?

     Sorry - too risky while I'm still working there (this happened today)

    Snoofie's enemies are everywhere; some are on this very board, just waiting for him to slip-up.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Snoofie's posts no longer make me feel better about my own crappy job.

    A few years ago I was working in a company that was using a post-it kanban (with t-shirt size / colors coding and all the shit). When I left the company, the kanban was stretching on 3 entire walls, easily 100 ft+ wide total. And it was up to date, thanks to an army of "scrum masters" (most of which were keeping records in a bootleg MS-Project file).


    All developers had to attend Mass in the morning (i.e.: the seated scrum meetings of their various teams) plus an all-day sprint planning meeting every other Monday. There was also a non-steering committee with all team leads every Friday afternoon, and a steering committee with the integration team and The Architects once a month. Of course most of the urgent projects were breaking Enterprise Design Patterns but it was ok as long as an Architecture Derogation was registered with The Architects, and those derogations came under review every 3 months during a day-long Strategic Table meeting where managers linked to Architecture Derogations were dragged in to explain themselves.



    I remember my first timesheet: over the course of 2 weeks I had accomplished 4 hours of technical work, everything else was meetings or paperwork.



    People in that company were pretty good but for some reason (usually Architecture) the stuff they delivered was always a piece of shit. Ex: there was an asset tracking system designed in-house by a huge team; the production database was 75MB total (yes, MegaBytes), it had a dedicated SAN volume plus 4 high-performance blade servers, yet most reports were crunching numbers for over 30 minutes to deliver a few hundred records at most. And when the BI team started sucking up that database for their useless cubes they found out that the data was unreliable, with more orphans than Sarajevo.



    They had good coffee machines though. Real espresso, not the shit Flavia stuff, with real mugs that were picked up and washed by cleaners (since developers had that huge kanban to tackle).



  • @Ronald said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Snoofie's posts no longer make me feel better about my own crappy job.

    A few years ago I was working in a company that was using a post-it kanban (with t-shirt size / colors coding and all the shit). When I left the company, the kanban was stretching on 3 entire walls, easily 100 ft+ wide total. And it was up to date, thanks to an army of "scrum masters" (most of which were keeping records in a bootleg MS-Project file).


    All developers had to attend Mass in the morning (i.e.: the seated scrum meetings of their various teams) plus an all-day sprint planning meeting every other Monday. There was also a non-steering committee with all team leads every Friday afternoon, and a steering committee with the integration team and The Architects once a month. Of course most of the urgent projects were breaking Enterprise Design Patterns but it was ok as long as an Architecture Derogation was registered with The Architects, and those derogations came under review every 3 months during a day-long Strategic Table meeting where managers linked to Architecture Derogations were dragged in to explain themselves.



    I remember my first timesheet: over the course of 2 weeks I had accomplished 4 hours of technical work, everything else was meetings or paperwork.



    People in that company were pretty good but for some reason (usually Architecture) the stuff they delivered was always a piece of shit. Ex: there was an asset tracking system designed in-house by a huge team; the production database was 75MB total (yes, MegaBytes), it had a dedicated SAN volume plus 4 high-performance blade servers, yet most reports were crunching numbers for over 30 minutes to deliver a few hundred records at most. And when the BI team started sucking up that database for their useless cubes they found out that the data was unreliable, with more orphans than Sarajevo.



    They had good coffee machines though. Real espresso, not the shit Flavia stuff, with real mugs that were picked up and washed by cleaners (since developers had that huge kanban to tackle).

    I'm more familiar with the "not nearly enough process" kind of places. You know, the kind of place where the CEO's idiot nephew gets busted for selling weed out of the server room. And then the CEO is like "Well, I knew he was peddling schwag on company time, but I didn't know he was stashing it in one of the network switches and that was what's been causing our periodic downtime that you guys have been spending six months trying to track down."

    Or the kind of place where you come in and after 2 days you ask the VP of Engineering "What does Smelly Joe do, anyway?" And she's like "Joe? I don't know." And you're like "Does he produce anything? Have any deadlines? Even answer to any manager?" And she's like "Well... no.. but he's Joe," as if the mere act of spilling out of a Big and Tall office chair was somehow valuable in-and-of-itself. Then two days later, you find out all of Joe's responsibilities could be handled by a cron job that fires off a shell script (and not even a fancy shell--just dash or something) and his illustrious 9-year career with the company comes to an end.



  • @snoofle said:

    I drove two nails into the wall right at the ceiling and raised the huge whiteboard all the way up. Then I got several sheets of giant meeting-room post-its and papered the wall beneath the main board, added all of these other projects and made management set priorities accordingly.

    ...

    I put it all in a spreadsheet and sent it to the whole management crowd.

    Project #733: War Room wooden table technology upgrade. Status: complete.



  • @flabdablet said:

    @snoofle said:

    I drove two nails into the wall right at the ceiling and raised the huge whiteboard all the way up. Then I got several sheets of giant meeting-room post-its and papered the wall beneath the main board, added all of these other projects and made management set priorities accordingly.

    ...

    I put it all in a spreadsheet and sent it to the whole management crowd.

    Project #733: War Room wooden table technology upgrade. Status: complete.

     

    No no no... if you mark the status as complete, someone can either assign you more tasks to do or can get rid of you. Here's what you really need to say (bonus six-sigma friendly lingo optional):

    Project #733: Enabling War Room wooden table technology lead. Duration: ongoing. Status: green. 

     


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