Long time coming but...
Oh my, oh me oh my
You know things are about to get 'interesting' when even the Boss has realised how deep the pile is and how many carpets this is going to need
BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns Fifteen months ago... "It makes complete sense," the Director burbles. "We need the software and Philip's prepared to write it." Philip, in this case, is the Director's nephew and is part-way through his "technology" degree and "knows a thing or two about programming"... "So do we …
Not really. The Boss is only familiar with the "front end" of problem solving. ie: the window.
Seeing as it is his nephew, I'm sure Simon and the PFY will be more than happy to introduce the boss to the backend (carpet, quicklime, shovel), so the boss can take care of family.
Not sure about wise, he seems to be becoming a much more willing participant. I foresee at some point in the future the Boss taking the blame for the loss of the Director to some grisly end.
"It was terrible, and we managed to capture it all in full glorious HD colour. It was like watching 'Falling Down'"
"Well," Philip says, "the app is pretty much all there on the iOS and Android platforms; I just need to do a little tweaking on the screen models and the notification scheduling then I'll start work on the backend."
"So we currently have..."
"The app. Mostly," Philip says.
I had this with a previous boss. He would walk in to the office and say, "I had this great idea, so I've written an app to do it. It's mostly there, can you guys just finish it off?"
We'd look at the code and realise: He'd built a pretty frontend, with no functionality at all.... Again. He'd also used some "clever" (read: obscure and vastly overcomplicated to the point of illegibility) code to do so.... Again. And, being a big important boss, he had not time to explain anything, as "it's all there in the code".... AGAIN.
So we would be stuck with a monster with no functionality and barely even a hint of what the functionality should be... But it was OK because it was "mostly there". And, of course, it looked really pretty!
I was very happy when I left that job!
I worked on a project where the consultant had mocked up the screens in Lotus 1-2-3, but it was to be written in C++. The client was so impressed by the mock-ups, they didn't want to hear anything about C++, "all our users have 1-2-3, just do it in that."
6 months later and the model started doing random things. You'd step through the macros and everything worked. Actually run the macros and things didn't happen or other, unplanned, not programmed things happened.
In the end we contacted Lotus and they asked for a copy of the worksheets (dozens of them, all loaded into memory at the same time). Their reaction was along the lines of: "f'ing hell, we never intended for it to do anything like that! Re-write it in C++!" :-D
That they would have sealed all of the windows in the place by now (they have at our spot for shame). Usually becaus they tell us it would mess the non functional air handling system so instead we just have to slowly roast when it doesn't turn the heat off during a rather warm day (28.5°C is the current record).
The complaint should be that the AC doesn't work, rather than that they've sealed the windows.
I've worked at places with great, working AC. Someone will invariably open the window and destroy all the effort the AC has put in to getting the office to the right temperature. Others will, of course, find a room too cold and shove the thermostat up to 30deg, or too warm and turn it to 5deg, then wonder why the room is never the right temperature. >:-|
Good AC, set up correctly and locked so random people can't piss about with it is brilliant. (Much like a PC or corporate network)
The correct solution is to set your AC so it creates a gradient across the room of a couple of degrees and then people are allocated according to their temperature perception. It's well known that in any average AC setup half the room will consider it too cold and the other half too warm, and it really is just a difference of a couple of degrees. Set your car AC and then as an experiment put it down a degree or up a degree and you soon feel uncomfortable until you reset it back to your preferred setting. Which is always about 2 degrees off what your passenger wants it set to.
For the thumbs down person, I think you missed my point. For any Air Conditioned office environment involving an integer of people greater than 1 there possibility of all people feeling comfortable with the temperature becomes increasing towards zero the more people there are. This is because no two people have the same temperature equilibrium. My comment therefore would be the engineers method of ensuring everyone was comfortable by locating people within their own areas of the office where the temperature is suitable for them. My actual more practical solution is to say turn the temperature down a notch and put a bloody jumper on if it's too cold.
I used to date a student at an american university, who came from the Philippines. The Uni authorities assigned her to a room in the Women's Dormitory, and then assigned another girl as her room-mate. This girl came from Fairbanks, Alaska, so they could never agree on what temperature their room should be. Aurora would go into the room, shut the windows, and turn up the heating, and Elizabeth would come in, turn off the heating, and open all the windows, even in the depths of winter. I don't know how they managed to put up with each other, or who murdered whom.
Winter - Air Con set to heat only at 22C and 50% of staff are to cold or warm and vents set to move
Spring - A nightmare where a sudden warm day makes everyone unhappy, so they form lynch mobs
Summer - Air Con is on at 21C and 50% of staff are to cold or warm and vents set as far up as they will go
Autumn - A nightmare where a sudden cold day makes everyone unhappy, so they form lynch mobs
I have one simple rule for all adjustable items in my, I say again, MY, car. It's very, very, VERY simple: Thou shalt NOT touch. The only one who can adjust anything in MY car is me. This includes the seat settings, the audio system, and especially the AC. I have the settings in my car set the way I like them. It took time and effort to get them the way I like them. If you mess with them I will hurt you. If you do not like this simple rule, you are free to get your skinny arse out of MY car and walk. Thank you for your time and attention.
I have the rule that, if you want to adjust it, ask. My ex-wife never got this (no matter how many times I asked her not to), so one day, when I got a new car with good acceleration, I took her out for a drive in the country. Every time she reached for a control, I put my foot down, which was enough to pin her back into her seat. Finally, she got annoyed and asked why I was doing it. I told her, and she FINALLY got the message!
She still occasionally tried to adjust things without asking, but it was normally followed by a quick jab of the accelerator, resulting in "please could I change XYZ?"
Our new air CONditioning system is fantastic - it's an "ambient air system" or something, which apparently means it uses magic to heat cold air or cool warm air then uses more magic to send it through the pipes to the units mounted in the office ceilings.
Except the fricking thing blows cold air around when the air is cold and it blows warm air around when the air is warm is warm - but all complaints are met with a variation of "it's working properly, it just needs to stabilise".
So no, it is NOT working properly, you have wasted all that money on the environmental services version of the Emperors New Clothes. And we are all either freezing or boiling and not bloody happy about it.
In the corner of a large new building with sealed windows where I worked it was always very chilly until the day when the weather turned really warm. Once the inside temperature managed to get above 20C the heating came on full blast and it got very very hot very very quickly. Apparently the heating control valve action was reversed: when they should be on they were off and when they were supposed to be off they were on.
Decades ago, after having suffered through many years of impossible air-conditioning in an interior office, I was moved (Oh, ok, so I did a "midnight move" myself one night. It wasn't that hard to push my desk across the hall, and I only knocked two holes in the wall in the process.), to an empty office on the outside wall of the building. These offices had windows, which site security had installed special "security" screws in, such that they couldn't be opened. Of course, one of the advantages to working in a building with a group of engineers is that, three offices behind the security guy installing the special security screws, which could only be installed/removed with a very special tool, there was an engineer with a pair of long-nosed pliers carefully backing out each screw (so that the windows could be opened).
Anyway, I thought I was in heaven when I realized that the office had the thermostat for controlling the air conditioning system. That thought lasted for almost 24 hours, until two people showed up outside my door, with one of them wanting the temperature set lower, while the other wanted it set higher. I quickly realized the no-win situation, and told them that I'd set it to whatever value the two of them could agree to. I then started selling tickets to the fight which would soon result. At least I had a window, which could be opened, so I wasn't too constrained by the air conditioning system.
Many years later, we moved out of that building, and it was slated for demolition. As the contractors were demolishing it, and salvaging what they could reuse, it was discovered that the ducts on the air conditioning system had never been connected, so the air conditioning system was just blowing hot/cold air into the attic, and not into the offices!
The sad thing about this whole story is that it's true. I don't think I could even make up a story as crazy as this. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.
UK government office by any chance?
I know a couple just like it, they have the windows wide open all summer because they cannot turn the heating off, and then have the windows open all winter because the heating goes from hot to radioactive (probably sensors read in Centigrade, but the system thinks they read in Fahrenheit).
Seriously; been hot and sweaty in a "T" shirt, with the windows wide open - looking at the pretty snow blizzard.
My favourite version of this is that, a few years back local authorities would negotiate contracts for gas that relied on a certain minimum consumption. Below that threshold prices rocketed. So schools would have to keep the heating on, whatever the weather, to make sure they reached the right level of consumption. i.e. It was much cheaper to waste energy.
So they'd have heating on and windows open for a good few weeks every year.
here. Request from senior manglement, "We need an app!"
Me, "What do you want it to do?"
SM, "Err, well we don't really know but we need an app!"
Me, "Well it will cost you at least £X,000 per platform and you'll need to provide a clear spec of what it needs to do."
SM, "Err....." followed by a deafening silence.
No names but we area small company that is growing well and we have some very good people here.
Unfortunately there are a bunch of directors who treat the company as a toy to play with.
I am a test engineer these... ornaments... decided to come up with how I should test things.
This is going to get interesting.
I can see that you are in an invidious position, with friction and argument likely.
To avoid this sort of damaging disunity, arrange some team building days involving these directors and extreme sports.
Remember that bunjees and scuba regulators can fail for various reasons, which you may wish to research in a library in a hoodie and shades.
As always, I'm not inciting violence.
Don't get caught.
"Capita and Accenture are professionals.
Handing it to a random Computer Science student does have a chance of producing something that works to spec.
Can't have that."
I was a random Computer Science student once.
Produced some work for the university that went to spec.
Produce an app for an Apple computer that went to spec (much too cheap).
So from personal experience, there is a chance.
I too was a C.S. student once and produced some work according to spec.
Problem was specs were defined by M.D., not end-users. Guess what? Although it did everything that was asked of it, in every possible way, that software never got used.
And, as - hopefully - every first time something occurred to me, that one time I learned not to trust senior officials and always get users' input.
He may well have been called Phillip. He worked for the GDS and suggested replacing a multiple terabyte database and a couple of million of lines of code running on mainframes which supported a Major Government Department with a phone app.
Forgive the following indelicacy, but he was possibly the biggest twat I ever sat in a meeting with in 33 years of IT.
I just spent half an hour being told by a director why the company website should be able to tell every single thing that influenced a customer to buy, right down to SEO of pages, which images were more appealing, and what adverts they might have seen, and that we should be able to do it now as the code was already there so wouldn't take any development time.
The code isn't there (aside from GA). While some solutions exist, I'm pretty sure we don't have the time to implement, maintain or interpret the data that the many required platforms would provide.
So yes, I'd like a kicking please. I feel like experiencing something less painful.
My background is support and development. Generally speaking the best designed and developed systems are the ones where the user of the system has had input. In my case I redesigned a manufacturing system to make it easier for the end users to use (having been an end user) and for the engineers to report from (then being an engineer and knowing what we needed to know when things went wrong). That system was used for over a year and replaced a system that had had millions spent on it and a couple of years of development. Moral being, never, and I do mean NEVER let management anywhere near the specification and pre-design phase of the product, and certainly don't let them suggest "improvements" during development. They took what started as a workable, if limited solution, and turned it into something that no one could use, that collected data that no one could analyse, all by suggesting changes every other month. In the end they never implemented it at which point I took on the task of replacing it. On my own I succeeded in replacing years of work by a team of developers with a solution I wrote in a month by 2 simple steps.
1. I refused to listen to anything asked of me above my own level.
2. I built the system using my real life knowledge of how the end user would be required to use it.
That job got me promoted and into IT.
A later job and I saw the other side of the coin as well, a team of developers creating a system with no real input from anyone else. They decided for some reason to completely rewrite everything, from the front-end, the reporting, and even the backend database structure. By that point it was just my job to support the app, but in my mind I was constantly asking "why the hell would anyone do that?" which was followed by "why the hell would you make the only person who can write your reports redundant just to save a couple of grand?" not that I was going to complain when I got brought back for a few days as a consultant to rewrite their reports at twice my previous hourly rate.
"Generally speaking the best designed and developed systems are the ones where the user of the system has had input. "
Well, the ones where the end user makes them is pretty much the best ones.
My main skillset is being able to ask idiot questions and not overly annoy the people who have to answer them. I've had pretty much the same "I cannot comprehend the stupidity behind that question" look from doctors, lawyers, accountants, farmers, engineers and builders. And teachers, but they are a bit more practiced at it :D
IMHO, devs are the ones who should be issued with the steelies in order to administer the kickings, usually to the sales / marketing droids or PMs who have promised functionality to the client that not only does not exist, but cannot be made to exist in the timescale that they have made up to meet their quarterly sales targets, because they have zero technical knowledge of the thing they are allegedly an expert in, and care only about when they'll be able to buy their next new Audi or where their next baggy of coke is coming from.
I'm pretty sure we've seen a Bastard Boss From Hell before. (I seem to recall it involved an extended stint on the Helldesk to wake up that boss. I think it also ended with that boss getting a bit too big for his shoes and having ideas conflicting with the BOFHs)
This person was recruited to write a program that would do a kind of expert system job - users filled in a form with a whole lot of fields, a lot of internal processing based on a back end database took place, and then they received a report by email.
Nothing to do with me, and I was prejudiced against him from day 1 because he didn't only have long hair, he kept it in place with sunglasses on his head*. Also, he demanded and got a company BMW.
Over the next year very little was heard from him. He didn't ask for a connection to the company database he was supposed to be using, but then I was too busy to notice.
And then I was told the system was up and running. Big congratulations all round. See: we'd been working on our rather complex system for years, this guy had done something just as big in just a few months.
Then it turned out it didn't scale.
And then it turned out the front end was just a web form which returned to the data to him, where he put the numbers in an Excel spreadsheet, crunched them more or less manually, turned the result to a PDF and emailed it to the customer.
When he left, rather rapidly, the BMW turned out to have a number of Blinkenlichte and, IIRC, neither MOT nor insurance.
*You can get away with this if you're young, thin and female, but I still find it a bit irritating.
I've had this one from the other side, I once wrote a simple script to scrap a webpage and stuff the results into a spreadsheet, the MD loved it.
So much that he asked me to write a property management app that would blow all the others out of the water and corner the market, apparently he knew it'd only take me a couple of months and then we could both retire on the proceeds because he'd set up a sales team to deal with it all after that.
If you spend a year on an app without even considering the backend (which had better well be an API) you deserve to be thrown out a window.
Please remember, you are never 'thrown' from the window... part of the art of being BOFH is to always make it look like an accident...... "the window was unlocked" or "the window had not been fitted properly" or the simple "he was running around like a mad man, tripped on the carpet and plunged head first out of the window" .... although this last explanation also needs a good explanation of how the victim got 3rd degree burns over 80% of his body.......
Personally I prefer the tie in the shredder method, much easier to make it look like an accident... unless the PFY uses the cardboard shredder in packing which is very much messier...
Because I've been Philip, and being given a chance by understanding companies (though never relatives) back when I was still in school got me where I am today: Unemployed, living on the dole, and 10 years out from having a programming job.
Turns out, I'm very bad at it.
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