Sales Pitch-Driven Development



  • Hello folks. I want to present a marvelous software development methodology widely employed at WTFglobe, Inc.

    A company has a niche product with narrow audience. The product is regarded as good enough, and most of the time is spent maintaining it for existing customers.

    A new potential customer with deep pockets hints at a feature that, if present in the software, would make them buy it on the spot. The feature was never there, but sales drones or CEO tell the customer it is there.

    Then, a call is made to developers with an IMMEDIATE request to put away whatever they are doing now and work on that new feature, deadline is in two days' time, because that's when a sales pitch presentation is going to be made. The developers are given a hint that the implementation should only look well enough for the presentation purposes and a scripted demo.

    The presentation goes well, and the customer buys/licenses the product on the spot.

    Fast forward a few months, until that new feature is well forgotten, and a few more, until it's actually needed. The feature is never given budgets to actually implement, despite numerous request that fade into oblivion as nobody of power is willing to hear them.

    The development team SUDDENLY gets an angry call from the management that the killer feature, instead of working, processes dummy data conjured from thin air. An exchange follows, similar to this:

    Management: the customer depends on this feature and you flopped it!
    Development: but you told us to implement it well enough for your sales pitch, and that's what we did.
    Management: you misled us! We thought it would be functional then!
    Development: we told you it would take two months to properly implement it and that the demo is only a mockup.
    Management: you did? Well, can't remember any of it. The client is angry, and you have a week to make it work!

    I worked in hell like this for a year, sometimes having to atone for sins of my predecessors, and being told it's my fault those features don't work properly.


  • BINNED

    @wft said:

    Management: you did? Well, can't remember any of it.

    No email? tough luck, never happened



  • Well, they could also fire people for being too much of a smartass. At that particular time, it was important for me to not get fired, so I complied.

    A while later II landed another job and resigned, carefully timing my letter so it would surprise them the most (by that time I've saved their asses a few times and they "valued" me, in the sense that they realized how hurt they would be if I disappeared).



  • @wft said:

    you did? Well, can't remember any of it.

    At that point you either start CCing the +1, or fuck right off the building like it's on fire.

    There are physical limits as to how much the developer can crank the deadline, but there are no limits as to how much the management can. If they start bullshitting their way into setting them at whatever time's convenient, then you simply cannot win. You can only look at the fan and trace the shit that's on a collision course with it.

    "Oh, that billion-dollar Google killer project? Yeah, I need it by tomorrow morning... well, 12PM tops. Tested and deployed."


  • BINNED

    @wft said:

    A while later II landed another job and resigned, carefully timing my letter so it would surprise them the most (by that time I've saved their asses a few times and they "valued" me, in the sense that they realized how hurt they would be if I disappeared).

    Well done, never work for the scum that change their words. Those are the TRWTF not the <acronym title="sales pitch driven development">SPDD</acronym> methodology.



  • @wft said:

    Management: the customer depends on this feature and you flopped it!Development: but you told us to implement it well enough for your sales pitch, and that's what we did.Management: you misled us! We thought it would be functional then!Development: we told you it would take two months to properly implement it and that the demo is only a mockup.Management: you did? Well, can't remember any of it. The client is angry, and you have a week to make it work!

    When I was a dumb kid straight out of college, I would have put up with that for a while.

    Now, heh, it would be a toss-up between deliberately sabotaging it on my way out, or just immediately turning around and quitting on the spot. If you want to refuse to acknowledge evidence where you were told X,Y or Z and insist that the world conform to your crazy interpretation of it -- then I have no patience for you. Developers are squirrely creatures (or foxes, right, @accalia?) -- and we also happen to know that you need us way more than we need you ;)



  • Management only cares about stuff that gets them fresh profit. Everything else is a burden. That's why terms such as "technical debt" exist.



  • @dse said:

    No email? tough luck, never happened

    True. If they weren't documenting everything in writing, my sympathy levels go down to almost zero.

    I document the shit out of everything! If you insist on telling me something in person or over the phone, imma immediately send a "confirmation email" out on what I understand the information given was. You wanna pull the, "but that isn't what I said," shit on me, imma point to the written record. You want to claim my accounting of it wasn't accurate, my response is going to be, "then you should have responded to the message and corrected me, back when I sent it, as I asked, and always ask, every time I send something like that out."


  • SockDev

    @Vaire said:

    Developers are squirrely creatures

    nah. we're not that hyper unless we've been hitting the caffeine WAY too heavily.

    we're more clever and tricksey as foxes

    @Vaire said:

    and we also happen to know that you need us way more than we need you :wink:
    we also know when it's time to show management just how much they need us.... :imp:



  • @accalia said:

    we also know when it's time to show management just how much they need us.... :imp:

    I know I certainly do :smiley:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dse said:

    No email? tough luck, never happened

    CYA-driven development. We practice this in spades at WTFcorp. If it's not in my inbox, it doesn't exist. If you elaborate on some vague-assed requirement, it's not getting done until you revise the original requirements document, I print it, highlight the revision and drop it in my file cabinet. Before ANYTHING goes to production, you are getting test output and you are going to send me an email that says "Approved".

    We recently had a $40,000 materials spoilage incident caused by what could be construed as software error by a complete idiot who had no idea what they'd actually spec'd. We promptly produced 2 ENTIRE FILE CABINETS of self-contradicting, ever-changing requirements and most damningly the email including enough test output to choke a horse (at a minimum 100 man-hours to review in any depth other than 'physically exists') with a reply 22 minutes later saying "Reviewed and approved, deploy to production".

    Of course, on this particular incident, the VP over the team responsible for producing the documentation and reviewing the output and took the material loss has dodged all attempts to discuss the actual problem (Which for the record is "We gave you exactly what you asked for. And then you lied.") and has had the balls to say "I don't think the actual cause is relevant to who's going to pay for it".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @wft said:

    I worked in hell like this for a year, sometimes having to atone for sins of my predecessors, and being told it's my fault those features don't work properly.

    The joy is waiting to quit until the boss yells at you so you can tell him to fuck off because he's a piece of shit.



  • @wft said:

    Development: we told you it would take two months to properly implement it and that the demo is only a mockup.

    This is the point where you grab the email you sent them saying this, and attach it to the new conversation.

    In the past I've done that without even typing any text. Just sending back the email you send months ago saying the same thing.



  • Been there, done that.

    It's WTF-ty but it's also the norm on most companies I've been working at. Fortunately for lots of time the debate occurs at PM level so I don't actually have to argue on it. That's why I never want a position above AP.



  • @FrostCat said:

    The joy is waiting to quit until the boss yells at you so you can tell him to fuck off because he's a piece of shit.

    The other part of the strategy is to keep 4-5 months of income in the bank so you're always financially free to quit any job at any time. You'd be surprised how far that goes.



  • Actually, that may not work depending on what kind of boss you have.

    I've met a few bosses who respond by saying that they have tons on email everyday so that they can't inspect every mail they see, and they bite back by saying that it's they trust me to correctly interpret their word on the meeting as my job and he'd become very upset that I failed him on that.

    Needless to say, I didn't work there long...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    The other part of the strategy is to keep 4-5 months of income in the bank so you're always financially free to quit any job at any time. You'd be surprised how far that goes.

    Yeah, that works well, to. I wish I were able to do that myself, but I'm just now digging out of a severe financial crisis from like 7 years ago.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @cheong said:

    they trust me to correctly interpret their word on the meeting

    "Sorry, you don't pay me enough to read your mind."



  • That's something I don't think I should say. I do accept that it's part of my job to figure out what the task actually means, no matter how bad the request is expressed.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @cheong said:

    That's something I don't think I should say.

    No, not unless you're preparing to leave. :smile:

    @cheong said:

    I do accept that it's part of my job to figure out what the task actually means, no matter how bad the request is expressed.

    If you feel that way because it's necessary to keep a job, that's OK. But no--a leader who can't express himself clearly is a bad leader.



  • @FrostCat said:

    a leader who can't express himself clearly is a bad leader.

    Agreed. That's why I leave later. But I also consider it's my responsibility to press for clarification when being sent a unclear requirement.

    If it's indeed a problem caused by unclear requirement instead of shifting requirement, I have no problem in accepting it's my fault.



  • I wish I could say I wasn't familiar with SPDD, but there it is. On more than one occasion I had a company owner (these were small companies, of course) tell me that they'd already been paid for a product that was absolutely impossible to implement - as in, no amount of time or money could make it work, violates-causality level BS - and that I had to have it working by Friday or the company would go under. Ugh.



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    I had to have it working by Friday or the company would go under.

    Well, don't leave us hanging, did it? :stuck_out_tongue:



  • @accalia said:

    hitting the caffeine WAY too heavily.

    Like this?

    Over The Hedge: "Energy Drink Hammy" – 01:15
    — moviescenecrew



  • @Weng said:

    and has had the balls to say "I don't think the actual cause is relevant to who's going to pay for it".

    Holy....

    Try saying that after a car crash!


  • Fake News

    @wft said:

    I want to present a marvelous software development methodology widely employed at WTFglobe, Inc.

    There's by itself nothing wrong with the methodology (well, except sales setting deadlines for a sales pitch and point-blank claiming that the feature has always been in there). What you are most suffering from is Weasely Management Decissions, or WMD for short (pun very much intended).


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    @accalia said:
    hitting the caffeine WAY too heavily.

    Like this?

    Over The Hedge: "Energy Drink Hammy" – 01:15
    — moviescenecrew

    something like that....



  • @accalia said:

    something like that....

    do you know a bear?


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    @accalia said:
    something like that....

    do you know a bear?

    what you mean James?

    he's one of the longshoremen on the docks, works for Cousin Vinnie of The Family


  • kills Dumbledore

    Our sales people here are pretty good at not overselling. We get misremembered demo driven development:

    • Salesman gives a demo
    • Client thinks salesman demoed a particular feature, he actually demoed a superficially similar but much more feasible feature
    • Client sends an email after purchasing, saying "how do we enable cool feature that the salesman demoed?"
    • PM asks salesman how he demoed a feature that the PM should know full well doesn't exist
    • Salesman replies "I didn't, it was probably this other feature"
    • PM asks developers why the feature isn't in the software. Roadmap gets thrown out again so we can hack away at implementing the feature as quickly and buggily as possible


  • @accalia said:

    @Luhmann said:
    @accalia said:
    something like that....

    do you know a bear?

    what you mean James?

    he's one of the longshoremen on the docks, works for Cousin Vinnie of The Family

    You call him a bear? He can hardly grow a mustache!


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    @accalia said:
    @Luhmann said:
    @accalia said:
    something like that....

    do you know a bear?

    what you mean James?

    he's one of the longshoremen on the docks, works for Cousin Vinnie of The Family

    You call him a bear? He can hardly grow a mustache!

    no, you're thinking on Matchstick Tony. James is the huge one with the massive body hair.



  • Oh ... James is the one with the raincoat then? And Tony the one that likes to show off his red speedo?


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    Oh ... James is the one with the raincoat then?

    James usually wears a dull grey trench coat, but if it's raining heavily he'll swap that for a vulcanized rubber raincoat.

    @Luhmann said:

    And Tony the one that likes to show off his red speedo?
    Yes, although ever since Pincher Ned got to him i hear he doesn't strut the speedo nearly so often anymore, and certainly never when he thinks Ned's anywhere near.



  • @accalia said:

    vulcanized rubber raincoat

    I never got why he thinks it's a good idea to combine that with flip-flops

    @accalia said:

    Pincher Ned

    And Ned's the one with the lazy eye isn't it?


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    I never got why he thinks it's a good idea to combine that with flip-flops

    at least we got him to stop wearing socks and flipflops.

    @Luhmann said:

    And Ned's the one with the lazy eye isn't it?
    yes, that's Ned. Lazy eye and vise like grip.



  • @accalia said:

    at least we got him to stop wearing socks and flipflops.

    I do have a suspicion he wears one white sock under that raincoat

    @accalia said:

    and vise like grip

    Who's the one who has a hole in his pants pocket?


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    I do have a suspicion he wears one white sock under that raincoat

    that's not a sock.... :mask:

    @Luhmann said:

    Who's the one who has a hole in his pants pocket?
    that would either be Tanya, or Terrence....



  • My understand is that Terrence is Tanya, she just likes to dress like a guy and 'pack' some times.



  • @accalia said:

    that's not a sock....

    but is it white?

    @accalia said:

    Tanya, or Terrence

    Isn't that the same person?



  • @ScholRLEA said:

    dress like a guy and 'pack'

    So that is where those socks went ...


  • SockDev

    @ScholRLEA said:

    My understand is that Terrence is Tanya, she just likes to dress like a guy and 'pack' some times.

    My understanding is rather the other way around. Last i heard Tanya was almost to her savings goal for the MTF reassignment surgury

    @Luhmann said:

    but is it white?
    only when flacid.

    @Luhmann said:

    Isn't that the same person?
    Yes, but she doesn't like being called Terrence anymore. The last person who did so to her face we only ever found his pinky finger.... and that was up a tree.



  • Oh, I must be thinking of Kat/Karl, then.

    Filed Under: I know they are cousins, but they sure do look a lot alike even given that


  • SockDev

    @ScholRLEA said:

    Oh, I must be thinking of Kat/Karl, then.

    ah, yes. that does sound like Karl.

    last i heard He and Tanya were walking out together.



  • @accalia said:

    He and Tanya were walking out

    If that's Karl who's the guy that pretends to be a german sheppard? I thought that was Karl?


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    If that's Karl who's the guy that pretends to be a german sheppard? I thought that was Karl?

    pretty sure you're thinking of Kaarl.

    They get confused for each other all the time...



  • @accalia said:

    Kaarl.

    Could well be ... but he's a friendly chap, Kaarl. As long as you don't forget the bring some dog biscuits.


  • SockDev

    @Luhmann said:

    As long as you don't forget the bring some dog biscuits.

    yes, but don't cheap out and get storebrand. Kaarl can tell the difference and he has ripped out throats for less.



  • @cartman82 said:

    Management only cares about stuff that gets them fresh profit. Everything else is a burden. That's why terms such as "technical debt" exist.
    And the difference between shitty management and good management is that the latter does grok "mid-term profit" and "long-term profit". Shitty management has a made-up metric, like a number of contracts landed (without taking into account losses due to maintenance costs and penalties for misdelivery), and that's all they ever give a fuck about.



  • @accalia said:

    Kaarl can tell the difference

    As long as Long Jim is around with the button for the chock collar I'm not worried.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.