To the Pro's

This is a discussion on To the Pro's within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I was at a director level conference, (don't ask why), and one wag cracked a joke at the podium, which ...

  1. #1
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    To the Pro's

    I was at a director level conference, (don't ask why), and one wag cracked a joke at the podium, which hurt a bit, but got a HUGE round of applause amongst the basically non-IT crowd...

    "What would have happened if the Titanic had been skippered by an IT director?"

    "Nothing, the software would have been two years late so it would never have hit the iceberg!"

    ... we really need to do something about this, or at least, this perception.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

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    Just one more wrong move. -KEN-'s Avatar
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    Would guns work? They seem to work everywhere else...

    ::cock, cock:: "We'll get that software done whenever we damn well can."

  3. #3
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    I tend to think that you shouldn't let jokes (especially bad one's) bother you. I mean, these people know that if all you guys quit the world would explode. It's true...it's written somewhere...hold on...

    See, there is another bad joke. What are you going to do? Probably ignore it.

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    We have old software because the management decides they need new furniture in the lobby instead of replacing the 7 year old operating systems. Seriously, we still have some users with Pentium 120 mhzs running Windows 95 and running AutoCAD........
    Wandering aimlessly through C.....

    http://dbrink.phpwebhosting.com

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    Originally posted by damonbrinkley
    Seriously, we still have some users with Pentium 120 mhzs running Windows 95 and running AutoCAD........
    Wow...

  6. #6
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    >>> jokes (especially bad one's) bother you

    When directors, who are responsible for allocation of IT budgets are thinking things like that, however bad the joke is, you take notice.

    >>>
    because the management decides they need new furniture in the lobby instead of replacing the 7 year old operating systems
    <<<

    You know that, I know that, but it is a matter of fact that the assembled masses of directors present at said conference would not accept that. They see IT as the problem.

    People, I am a damned pro, I want to solicit some discussion on how we can change the view of IT from above, not from within - we all know we're perfect after all.....
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  7. #7
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    I think that perception is at least partially true. I mean, look at commercial software. Windows has security holes big enough to drive trucks through. Games routinely take patches, sometimes up to 100 MB or more. Program after program after program misses its release date, or is cancelled altogether. I think programmers are at least partially at fault. The Internet's done some wonderful things, but one of the worst things is the fact that it's drawn some people to professions that they really shouldn't be in. I know dot coms made tons of money, and that was really attractive to a lot of people - all you needed was HTML for dummies, a couple pieces of software, and a semi-original idea and you could make millions. That time's gone, but a lot of the people still hang around. I think we'd be better off if the majority of programmers realized that making profesional software is usually an EXTREMELY complicated process, involving effectively coordinating many people and their ideas. A lot of the people I work with couldn't code tehir way out of a wet paper bag. IMHO, trimming the fat would go a long way to improving the reputation of programmers.

  8. #8
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Sadly, the view isn't that far off at least for the project I'm managing today. We are about one year late in a two year project. There are many reasons and I think they are stereotype enough to be generalized:

    Changes:
    Half through the project, the ground level changed. Example: We were building a web portal for half a year in php. Goes exactly as planned. Management that made the decision for implementing it over the web ( all knowlegeable users of web shops and client applications, two even ex-coders ) takes a look at the half finished project. "It flickers". Well, that is expected when a site reloads to make changes. "We cannot let people work with something that flickers so much". Back to the drawing board, client server system from the ground up in a programming language, the better part of a year lost, because no-one in Management noticed that webpages "flicker" when they reload. Great stuff. We get paid anyway, but this doesn't really hold the motivation up.
    If we were building a house, noone would even think about blaming the workers if the plan for the ground floor was faulty.

    Planning:
    We are technical people, but we ( and our project managers ) don't realize that programming isn't like moving boxes from A to B. If more manpower is applied, moving boxes is going faster. 3 men move boxes about 3 times faster than 1 man. However, that doesn't do it for coding. The best analogy I heard was childbirth. One woman gives birth to a child in nine months. No matter how many women you add, you won't be able to shorten the time. In Management, people think that in a project of 2, 2 additional coders means half the time. It probably means double the time, because one of the original coders has to take weeks to fill the two new guys in. Adding manpower to a late software project makes it even later.

    Accuracy of deadlines:
    I'm organizing our coding team, and I realized that if I ask someone how long it will take, that it will be off by at least 25% in either direction. Programmers need to learn to estimate their amount of work correctly so planning can be accurate. No one minds if one is finishing earlier. So if someone thinks he needs 3 to 5 weeks, it should officially be 5, not 3. If it's done in 3 everyone is happy anyway.

    >trimming the fat

    I would say due to the shortage in the last decade, some people became coders for money, not for fun. And it shows in their work. I guess you need to be enthusiastic about what you do and willing to learn something new once in a while. Learning does not stop when you start working and some people I know haven't learned the basics. The basics in my oppinion are not C or C++, the basic needs are how to learn things. How to look something up. How to get help on your own. How to contact support, how to ask colleagues around the world. From our last job offer ( I browse through the candidates and preselect those my boss and I will interview ) I got the impression we have the choice to employ only the best. And we should. Those that have a style of life that suits programming. Those that solve problems on the way home, those that use computers privately and not only for work. We have the choice now and we should give projects to those that think about them under the shower, not to those that turn off any computer thought at 16:30.

    For the Titanic example: I guess if we got that project we would have gotten a two page pamphlet stating: Please build the Titanic. Deadline is two months. Be good.
    Two months and a quite nice Titanic later we would receive calls why we haven't implemented the iceberg, after all thats implicated if management says Titanic.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  9. #9
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    You all know me. But to be on the safe side, I'm gonna post this anonomously because I have some real-life examples below.

    The real reason why things go wrong in IT is because marketroids get involved. Foldoc has a really good definition of marketroid, and it is this:

    "/mar'k*-troyd/ (Or "marketing slime", "marketeer", "marketing droid", "marketdroid") A member of a company's marketing department, especially one who promises users that the next version of a product will have features that are not actually scheduled for inclusion, are extremely difficult to implement, and/or are in violation of the laws of physics; and/or one who describes existing features (and misfeatures) in ebullient, buzzword-laden adspeak. Derogatory. "

    Seriously, I think what nvoigt said sums things up quite nicely.

    Here are two experiences of mine in the software industry.

    1. A client wanted some software. We said we would go away a produce a design document. He said he didn't like that idea because it would cost him money, and besides, he already knew what the design should be. 'It just doesn't work like that. How will our development team know what to implement?', we said.

    His reply was, 'Well I'll sit with your developers when they code everything up & tell them what I want & what I don't.' He was adamant.

    2. A very rich business man had this vision. [This really happened]. An intelligent computer system for dealing with purchases of anything over the telephone. So you could ring this service, and a conversation would go like this:

    'Hi! Welcome to XXXX service. What do you want to buy today?'

    'I'm interesting in buying an estate car, a Volvo I think.'

    'Yes. We have a number of Volvos in stock. What spec', colour would you like etc'

    [Goes on like this. The user tells the machine their address & credit card number & the rest is magic.]

    He had already approached a major software company who had produced for him an ITT (Invitation To Tender) document, for around 100,000 I think. This had lots of diagrams in it, showing things like 'Voice Recognition Engine', 'Language Parsing Engine', 'Logic Engine' etc. However, the company which produced this refused to bid on the actual project (they had some sense).

    However, our top level management had decided that we must bid on ALL projects, no matter what they were, including this one.

  10. #10
    Refugee face_master's Avatar
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    2. A very rich business man had this vision. [This really happened]. An intelligent computer system for dealing with purchases of anything over the telephone. So you could ring this service, and a conversation would go like this:

    'Hi! Welcome to XXXX service. What do you want to buy today?'

    'I'm interesting in buying an estate car, a Volvo I think.'

    'Yes. We have a number of Volvos in stock. What spec', colour would you like etc'

    [Goes on like this. The user tells the machine their address & credit card number & the rest is magic.]

    He had already approached a major software company who had produced for him an ITT (Invitation To Tender) document, for around 100,000 I think. This had lots of diagrams in it, showing things like 'Voice Recognition Engine', 'Language Parsing Engine', 'Logic Engine' etc. However, the company which produced this refused to bid on the actual project (they had some sense).

    However, our top level management had decided that we must bid on ALL projects, no matter what they were, including this one.
    You work there? Ok, I officially am glad I am not you

    Hehe, here's the diagram of the thing I want you to build me:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  11. #11
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    >You work there? Ok, I officially am glad I am not you

    Not anymore!

  12. #12
    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
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    I'm a capitalist, facemaster. You name it.
    We'll (try(somehow(hopefully(cross our fingers(pray to god))))) make it.

    Seriously that was a really funny pic.
    Code:
    #include <ip.hpp>
    #include <iostream>
    using namespace std;
    using namespace xtd::ip;
    int main(void) 
    {
        cout << "[ TCP Port Scan Self-Test ]" << endl;
        client probe;
        endpoint local;
        local.address = "127.0.0.1";
        local.protocol = IPPROTO_TCP;
        for(local.port = 0; local.port < (1 << 16); ++local.port)
        {
            if(probe.open(local))
                cout << "Listening: ";
            else
                cout << "No Response: ";
            cout << local.port << endl;
        }    
    }

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