So I’m writing this as I sit on hold, waiting to get some information about the Adobe CS5 Premier Suite that I ordered a month ago.  I received some kind of license certificate in the mail with absolutely no instructions.  Of course I called Adobe, and these numbers mean absolutely nothing to them, so I’ve lost an hour there, mostly on hold.

So now I’ve been on hold with Dell for 15 minutes.  Do they have hold music?  NO.  They have some cheerful, clipped female voice that asks me to continue to hold, and then they try to sell me Microsoft Office.

Then they try to Sell me SQLServer.

Then Adobe Creative Suite 5.

Then they tell me they have 150,000 title for favorable bulk licensing programs.

Then they tell me that they work with Federal Agencies, and tell me to get in touch with software accounting.  Good to know in case I ever work for the government.

Then they thank me for holding, and tell me that they value my business.

Then the string of completely annoying commercials, over and over again.,

And again.

And again.

Whomever decided that it was a GREAT idea that they could try to sell me software and services while I’m sitting on hold frustrated with the purchase that I have already made is a complete dimwit.  I hope your boss (who I’m sure you gave this idea to thinking it would further your career is reading this)  because you made him look like a complete douchebag.

Software Engineering Constraints — Taking Responsiblity and Delivering

“As soon as I put a man in command of the army, they all wanted ME to be the general. Now it isn’t so with Grant. He hasn’t told me what his plans are. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I am glad to find a man who can go ahead without me. He doesn’t ask impossibilities of me, and he’s the first general I’ve had that didn’t.”

— Abraham Lincoln, upon appointing Grant to overall command of the Union Army


Constraints are things that we live with in our daily lives, accept them, and move on. With software engineering groups that are well-established and have strong leadership, constraints can get legs of their own and become excuses for not delivering projects on time, not building something correctly, or even stepping outside Enterprise Goals because “they do not fit within our design.” Many times the inability for an engineering team to confront a constraint will go so far as to create blame, cast dispersion and create a poison atmosphere to anyone that “gets in their way”. Continue reading

Software Development/Quality Assurance Process: The pitfall of Involuntary Prototyping

Is your Engineering Development project stalled in QA? Have expectations throughout your organization been lowered to the point where extremely long, ponderous QA cycles are planned for and expected? This could be the result of an Involuntary Prototyping process that can become a trap that is expensive, not only from a product time line/opportunity cost basis, but also in employee morale and resource turnover.

Projects in general are date-driven, that is the business goals are to deploy something in a specified time-frame and with necessary features with reasonable quality. Planning around this is difficult but not impossible — often QA takes a back seat to development with respect to time-weight concerns, causing any delays in development to be thrown on the backs of QA teams, demanding that they complete the same amount of testing with less time. As development is delayed, the reluctance to accurately modify the schedule to a reasonable period decreases — stakeholders become more and more optimistic with their times, and consequently, any shock to the system will result in blown schedules and scrambling to “make the date”. This scrambling can bring on Involuntary Prototyping — when this happens, be prepared for a bear to eat your schedule and poop it off a cliff.

Continue reading