Thread: Those non-programmer types... (rant)

  1. #1
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Out of scope

    Those non-programmer types... (rant)

    How often have you dealt with this situation:

    1. Someone from operations comes to your systems group (or just you if you work alone) and suggests that they need an automated process to perform a specific task on a data set.
    2. You tell them that you need a list of logical specs that tell the process what to look for and how to handle it
    3. They fumble around for a few hours and give you a poorly formatted list of logic that you use to write the process
    4. You give them the process and they run it on production data because they don't have time to be messing around with testing and the likes
    5. Your process does exactly what it's supposed to do
    6. They come back to you fuming and say "IT DIDN'T DO THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER THING AND IT'S ALL WRONG!"
    7. You get distraught from being scolded until you look back at the initial input logic and realize that it doesn't mention anything about this, that, or the other thing
    8. You give them an "*ahem*" and a come hither motion with your finger and politely, but of course condescendingly, explain to them that the computer isn't magical and won't do anything that you didn't tell it to do in the first place
    9. The grimace and hold a meeting to try and figure out how they can still blame the systems team for this error and not themselves

    Now it's just a waiting game for me... your move, operations team.
    Sent from my iPadŽ

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Sep 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    I often wonder how any non-programmers can walk and breathe at the same time.
    So many times their questions and attempts at communicating logic, or any interdependent sequence, is so flawed that I am dubious they can be any good at their own profession.

    I'm convinced they can not be "expert" at whatever they are paid for, since having the capability of cogent thought is fundamental to any non-trivial task, is it not? I don't care how many degrees they have in chemistry, nuclear physics, etc. If they can't keep concepts clearly defined and sequenced in their heads then they can't possibly be competent in their own fields of so-called expertise.

    I've had the misfortune of hand-holdind ex-chemical engineers-turned-programmer, ex-nuclear physicist-turned-programmer. Egads, talk about convoluted thinking! Nothing they did was A -> B. Of course, maybe that's why they were "ex".
    Last edited by nonoob; 07-16-2010 at 04:06 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered /usr
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Although I'm not employed as a programmer per se, there are times when I have been called upon to do gluing-together things like Office automation, which are nothing to do with my actual job but I am capable and my employer considers it "cheap" (zero cost).

    I wish I could say that I trust what a colleague may be asking for, but I usually don't. Instead I analyse the problem for them. Saves time and produces the correct result.

    Unfortunately you must accept that although you may be a mystical ninja at logical specification most other people do not have that as a job requirement. Also these people generally take care of the money so even against your morals, it's a good idea to keep them sweet.

  4. #4
    Make Fortran great again
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Those kinds of situations happen all the time and not just with programming.

    It's always some idiot manager giving you 20% of the information you need and then after you wander down the wrong path for days, tells you what you really need thereby you off because everything you've done is now null. It's now easier to start from scratch.

    Managers are idiots. I think your IQ drops by about 50 points instantly when you become a manager.

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    May 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    9. The grimace and hold a meeting to try and figure out how they can still blame the systems team for this error and not themselves
    And often they succeed, unless you happen to have a capable systems team manager and with large biceps at the next meeting. Because unfortunately, while you are entirely correct, the rest of the company is pretty much like Operations.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Sly's next review:

    ....We noticed that on one project you failed to meet the requirements even though we didn't exactly tell you what they were. You should work on your mindreading skills and thus we consider that a failure on your part. Also work on creating programs that will allow us to do anything we want and when we want even though you may not know what we want or when we want it. We just want it to work when we want it to work and your software should support that even if we are unable to give you adequate notice about it. We consider that a failure of your requirements gathering process. You must also work on your attitude. You have the mindset that if we don't tell you what it is we want you to build that you can't build it. Again we consider this a failure on your part...

    A couple of months ago Game Developer had an article about end of year reviews. It was so funny I nearly fell out of my seat. It wouldn't have been so funny had it not been so true.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 07-16-2010 at 06:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Of course, maybe that's why they were "ex".
    Happies! You made my moment. ^_^

    I think your IQ drops by about 50 points instantly when you become a manager.
    Of course, it is part of the lobotomy process.


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