OH FRAK ME


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    My company is supporting a local university in its research efforts. Essentially, they provide us some undergrad (senior year) developers (and project managers), and we put them on a For Realz project for one of our customers. Not sure what the research is ABOUT, that's not really my problem.

    We put them on a charity project with a penalty-free contract (we're not stupid).

     

    My primary purpose in life is to assist them in any way necessary to get them through the project. I'm not to manage them in any way - only advise and "help code". The first deadline in the project is coming up this Sunday. We're going whole-hog with the so-called Agile development methodolies (sorry, but Agile is just a bunch of idealistic bullshit wrapped around what good development practices already were in order to make good development practice sellable to management - at the expense of tacking on tons of stupid overhead and feel-good meetings) - Scrum specifically. Of course we also [got the university to] plop down $18K for the "Agile Project management suite" which as best as I can tell, is just a moderately modified (if I were to quote on it, I'd call it 1 developer-month) off-the-shelf Bugtracker with sexy Ajax sprinkled on top, and crammed into a JVM - such that it consumes two gigs of RAM and most of the CPU just idling - and the database server isn't even running on that box.

    Until I got to them, these kids had never seen version control (SVN blew their fucking minds), and a good half of them had managed to not even consider themselves programmers (!!! WTF)

    That's all just backstory. Yesterday there was a bit of a brain fart that cost us most of the day because I'd forgotten to get a DHCP reservation made when I set up the development server and all of a sudden nothing was pointed properly anymore. I had to go and fix all of that. Remember, this first deadline is Sunday. Nothing is functional at this point. Thursday is now past. I tell them to pick it up on Friday and run with it, and gave an encouraging peptalk at the end-of-day meeting.

    This morning, Friday, was my lazy morning. I slept in, and didn't arrive until noon.

    I discovered the development team, hanging around, doing fuckall. A quick assessment of the situation is that they were waiting for the university's IS group to install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 on their workstations - because the RTM version can't connect to SQL Server 2008 (Actually, it can, but not in the Easy n00btastic wizard mode). I'll admit, this was an oversight on my part.... But WHY IN THE FUCK DIDN'T ANYONE TRY TO CONNECT TO THE DATABASE FROM VISUAL STUDIO UNTIL THREE WORKING DAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE!?

     Naturally, the installations don't start completing until it's time for everyone to start leaving . Fearing for the deadline, I grab the kid I know with the farthest-from-complete task and have her explain to me exactly what she was going to do. I approve. I log into a machine and DO IT. This takes precisely 15 minutes to accomplish what she and her partner had budgeted six hours (EACH - that's twelve developer-hours) for. I move on down the line and within FOUR HOURS, I've caught up a full two days worth of work for TWELVE developers (192 hours), and we're back on schedule. That's not fucking right. One of my hours is worth more than one of their WEEKS.

    Yes, I'm a paid professional, but I haven't been around THAT long - that kind of a difference shouldn't even happen between the best programmer in the world and any recent CS graduate. I'm not even that good. I've rescued their asses once, and now we're coming up on the weekend - yes, they work weekends. It's their opportunity to sink or swim now. 



  • @Weng said:

    that kind of a difference shouldn't even happen between the best programmer in the world and any recent CS graduate.

     

    False.  Bad programmers are a net liability on many projects.  Good programmers are therefore infinitly more useful than them.

    Consider the question:

    How long would it take for one of them to do a week's worth of your work?

     Answer:

    Long enough for your customer to cancel the contract and that work not be necissary anymore.



  • Shouldn't this be in the Sidebar?  You'll definitely get more views and responses over there. 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     Nah, it's more Bitch N Moan than "LOLWUT!?" I'm saving the sidebar for when they actually get around to coding something without my intervention.



  • This definitely seems like sidebar material, but the difference doesn't surprise me at all.  In The Mythical Man Month, Brooks talks about seeing order of magnatude differences between decent and great programmers.  Since you're talking about students, many of whom don't even consider themselves programmers...

    I'm not a .NET or MS developer, but TRWTF seems to be that you need the IDE to connect to the DB.



  • The biggest difference is not the work but to a extend also the experience. Our job is not typing in letters, it's creating abstract rules that define the functionality that is needed.Often you will already know how to build something before you type the first letter. At that point the 15 minutes you spend doing it is basically the time it took to type the code that was in your brain anyway.

    The reason a proffesional programmer will be able to beat a bad or new programmer in time is because they know the above. They don't bother starting to write something until they have it in their head. Perhaps write a small prototype to test a assumption but no project code. Bad and new programmers simply do not know this yet and will start typing in code before they know what their building. This means they will need to redo a lot of that code, which takes a lot time. It will also produce the spaghetti code we all know and loathe.

     



  • @Weng said:

    Nah, it's more Bitch N Moan than "LOLWUT!?" I'm saving the sidebar for when they actually get around to coding something without my intervention.

    Fair enough.  Just wanted to make sure it wasn't posted to GD inadvertently since it's a pretty good WTF.  Maybe not in the sense of being an example of a technical blunder, but I think many of us have been in similar situations when working with mediocre programmers.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    I think many of my coworkers have been in similar situations when working with me.

     

    FTFY



  • @tster said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I think many of my coworkers have been in similar situations when working with me.

     

    FTFY I'm a big, stupid jerkface.

    FTFY 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    I'm not a .NET or MS developer, but TRWTF seems to be that you need the IDE to connect to the DB.
    You don't NEED, but if you do so, it automates the pointless machinations you must go through in the .net framework any time you want to take data from a database (like 4 levels of abstraction to poke through) and put it in a GUI (another ~3 layers of abstraction). Whether it saves enough time to sit around waiting for the goddamn service pack to install is a totally different issue, however.



  • Ok, who didn't see the mayhem coming by the the second sentence?

    I'm still trying to forget the kind of code I wrote back in my student days. I've also had to maintain production code written by students and it has become painfully clear that you cannot let people straight out of uni unsupervised. As for the productivity gap... well, it doesn't surprise me all that much. The difference in time between the first time I created a web page that connects to a database and now is ludicrous.

     


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