Friday, December 01, 2006

Too Much Reality Lately

Alas, Dear Reader (I suspect that there is indeed only one person ever reading this...), the vicissitudes of wage slavery have kept me from posting...

[perhaps a confessional tone "Forgive me, Blogger, for I have sinned..."]

Nearly 6 months since the last post. I have been busily diving into new sections of the product, ostensibly to "broaden" my experience.

The Ninja aspect of this has been the lack of input from me on the schedules - dates were set by management without my being asked how long it would take to develop the code. Most deadlines were on the 8-week plan, with the notable exception of the first, which was 10 weeks, 6 of which were consumed by the requirements team pissing away on the requirements document, and the most recent, which went 7 weeks late, and one week pulled in by the VP.

So what is a Ninja to do? Major changes to the product and not enough time to develop it properly? I punted - I developed the new server in Python, driven by text configuration files, and wrote 2 small C++ interface utilities to reach into the product where Python could not. I avoided working significant overtime, and came in almost on schedule - and I plead my case there on the many meetings that wasted my time. ["We will hold daily 2-hour meetings to determine why productivity has plummeted. All the VPs will be there to hear explanations"]. And the decision not to work excess hours lent a Zen-like calm that helped. I did not panic over delays or setbacks.

The lesson to be learned here is that you sometimes need to work outside the system - use a different language, ignore the micro-management, and solve the problems without worrying about how to fit them into the existing framework. I got the chance to use Python in a production project, and I didn't kill myself.

As an aside, I really have to compliment the Python developers - the suite of modules available in the standard package is outstanding - FTP library, tools for handling gzipped tarballs, easy access to the command line, all in the "stock" package. Kudos, folks!

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