Recent Feature Articles

Nov 2018

A Dark Cloud Looming

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Buford was a contract developer working at a mid-sized financial firm. He had just wrapped up a lengthy project and was looking for something new to sink his teeth into. Tanner, the manager in his area, tasked him with moving their implementation of Jenkins into "this great new thing they call The Cloud."

Tanner recently returned from a conference with a bunch of swag from a company called PuffyCloud. They claimed to have the easiest cloud-based implementation of Jenkins in the business. "It's pretty much just a copy-paste job according to this whitepaper they gave me. Take a look, create some user stories, and have it done by the end of the next sprint," Tanner instructed.

Project Scheduling by T-Shirt

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In early 2002, Bert landed a job at Initech, which released its own protocol analyzer tool. Technically, they released a whole slate of protocol analyzers, data loggers, analytics tools, with overlapping features and business cases. Their product catalog had grown over the years, and was a bit of a thicket.

The team Bert joined was a decent mix of talent. Some, like him, were new to the industry. There were some more experienced devs, who knew the product and the low-level internals their software needed to navigate. And then there was Herb.

A Big Change

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Circa 2009, Marylou took a position at an e-commerce firm. It was a small company, which had done its startup phase right in the midst of the DotCom Crash, but somehow made it out the other end with a steady revenue stream.

That itself turned out to be a problem, as once you turn a profit, investors stop investing. The company founders spent the next few years looking for investment to expand, and when they finally got it, they went on a hiring spree. That's where Marylou came in.

Enterprising Messages

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Percy's employer is an "enterprise vendor". They have a variety of products all within the "enterprise" space. Like most enterprise products, they're sold on the strength of the marketing team's ability to claim with a straight face that they're secure, robust, reliable, and performant.

While the company offered a "cloud" solution for their enterprise suite, the real money was in the on premises version. With on-prem, any updates or upgrades were almost guaranteed to break the entire environment unless the customer shoveled huge piles of cash at the company to get a specialist to come out and do the upgrades.

Success Despite Management

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In our industry, we all know that managers cause problems when they try to, well, manage. This invariably causes us to get frustrated. Sometimes when we rebel and try to force them to do the right thing, we are the ones that pay for it with our jobs. Sometimes, they get impatient at our mortal lack of $Deity-level skills to make the magic happen fast enough for them, and we pay for that with our jobs as well.

Occasionally, even though it seems as though managers never pay for their mistakes, Codethulu smiles upon us and gives us a glimpse of a Utopian world...