Spinnin' Plates at 60kph/Reprise (long)

Subject: Spinnin' Plates at 60kph/Reprise (long)
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 18:49:46 -0500

Previously in our tale of Wordless and Be-Saddled...
>This project makes me feel like the vaudeville act where the entertainer
>spins more and more plates on top of slender rods. I keep spinnin' then
>plates, trying not to drop anything, but feeling like I want to just stand
>back and watch everything go critical....

For those not up to date, here's the short form:

Unix/Oracle software in development; our intrepid hero <smile, with teeth
flashing> trying to document the same chapter (5 times) because the project
leader can't make up his mind. And now, we continue...

"Into the Valley of Death" or "Toe to toe with the Foe"

Here it is, the beginning of spring; days are getting longer and I've now
re-written the infamous Chapter 2 again and still again. Revision level
0.62. That's six major revisions and two minor revisions and today I get the
a new marching order. If you remember, the main screen has ten buttons along
the bottom, five of which are for non-modal sub-windows which the P.L.
(Project leader) wanted documented before the buttons to the left and right.
And, so I did.

Today in a session where he's meeting with all of the members of team
individually to see how he can make our jobs easier, I note that rewriting
this same chapter 8 times while still 7 or more months from the beta release
is a little overkill. I'm getting the feeling we can live our lives within
Chapter 2; and I tell him so. He agrees he's micro-managing the entire
project, but some corrections are needed. I show him his latest red-line of
the chapter where he says he wants non-modal window #2 to be #5 and I ask why.

His explanation has a small bit of merit, but I ask him to back up and take
a look at the big picture--does he want me to guess the order of all the
screens? Why couldn't he let me know this before (the doc had them in the
same order for the past 7 revisions). We argue (it's a gentle-person
arguments-quite civilized--really a quarrel!) and then I ask him if this is
ARCMIS/UX (project name) by P.L. or ARCMIS/UX by team. It stopped him cold
(hooray, the hero finally gets a point across).

If he wants to author the entire set of docs, I'll help hire my
replacement--a secretary to take his words and place them into the
templates. But, if he wants me to continue, I need some latitude. I can't
live by arbitrary rules where I'm playing a guessing game. (The umpire wave
some fingers in front of the P.L.'s eyes and the hero steps to a neutral corner)

We compromise--I agree to slide a detailed outline across his desk before I
start writing. And he agrees to live by the outline once we agree on it.
Let's hope...

And so we put the latest chapter on the burner and wait to see what happens.
Meanwhile, back at home, I thought I lost 2 GIGs of data due to the aborted
installation of a new hard disk controller. After three days (and only five
hours of sleep) we're back--didn't lose anything, but cam real
close--back-up going on line next week.

Later

Dennis Hays/The Burden lake Group, Ltd.
dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
"Write with fire, cut with ice."


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