19 May 2004

Corporate chaos

There's this hypothetical company, see? And they give developers' phone numbers out to clients so that they can be contacted at any time of the day. Forget the egregious mistake (see Fact 4) made by allowing developers to be interrupted at any time for any length of time while they're focused on writing code. Just know that this is considered standard.

Well, a funny thing happened this morning at said hypothetical company...

One of the programmers (not me) was contacted by a client. He was juggling several fires, not of his own making, during his extended work day + work at home + work during the weekend schedule. Just as the call came in, he got the familiar-but-harmless 104 errors during a compile of someone elses code. A misplaced semi-colon or some such nonsense. Being a little frazzled, he told the caller that he'd call back because he's got 104 compiler errors to deal with.

Now, you might say why did he even mention that to a client? To which I would reply: that's why you don't have clients calling developers without first going through a wall of management. We're developers! Apart from design meetings, our work is done 90% of the time in isolation. Break that focus and you're going to get some understandably "honest" comments.

So then the client, located out of state, either didn't hear "104 compiler errors" or else didn't understand what a compiler error is, and they report to their bosses that their allegedly stable release has 104 new bugs. This would all have been played out colorfully through emails and phone calls if the head of development and the project manager hadn't been on their way to the client site that very morning.

Wait! It gets better!!

They were going to the client to ask for more money for the project. According to my underground sources, the meeting didn't quite go as expected. The upside was that the office was nice and quiet because everyone was in emergency meetings trying to placate the customer. That's a situation you want to be in: always apologizing to an angry customer.

[ posted by sstrader on 19 May 2004 at 2:05:30 PM in Programming ]