|category:||War Stories and Advice|
The topsoil is in the front yard, the garden is in the back yard.
The users form up a bucket brigade to use several pails and buckets to move the soil. It’s backbreaking and slow, so they go to IT for a solution.
“We’ve measured the work activity very carefully, and we need shovels that are precisely sized for our buckets,” the users say. “We were careful not to specify the technical details, we just wrote up these business requirements that say, in effect, we need a right-sized shovel. But we didn’t specify the technical details because we know that adds cost and risk to the project.”
IT architects look the situation over and counter-offer with a one-hand scoopy-bucket which does both the soil scooping and transporting in one single wonder of sheet metal and spot-welding.
The CIO looks at the proposal and complains that there isn’t sufficient return on investment to design and build the scoopy-bucket. First, no one can be spared from the maintenance activities that are so vital to day-to-day operations. Second, this doesn’t have any provision for disaster recovery or business continuity. It probably won’t pass a SAS-70 audit. Third, it involves new technology and new skills and doesn’t fit with the strategic direction. Since the strategic direction uses more rakes, they have to rework the entire plan to be rake-based not bucket-based.
The architects hack out a modification to the existing raking systems, called a Rake-O-Filler. They will purchase an off the shelf bucket, and the modify it so heavily that it is unrecognizable and call it the Lift-O-Land. The resulting integrated system (ROFLOL) that should do some of the job that the users requested. They’ll still need to change their bucket brigade strategy, however, because it takes three people to fill, and only one to carry.
The programmers take twice as long as scheduled to build the Rake-O-Filler. The project manager controlling the modifications to Lift-O-Land reworks the specifications so that it does almost the entire job, making the Rake-O-Filler almost unnecessary. Unfortunately, the Lift-O-Land is now so slow that the bucket brigade isn’t really effective. Instead, people take turns running a bucket of soil when it is filled.
The users request a “Bucket-Runner-Scheduler” to help allow the bucket runners to do more useful work until a bucket is filled. The architects suggest using the calendar in MS-Outlook. The security manager doesn’t like the idea of a shared calendar in a desktop tool that could be vulnerable to hacking. The architects suggest an open-source shared-calendar application in PHP that’s free, but the CIO and the security manager won’t permit open source solutions.
The management consultant asks, “Why not have a second load delivered to the back yard?”
The CIO bellows that she doesn’t want to pay for the topsoil twice.
[See http://rlucente.bloki.com/forum/messages-index.jsp?tid=121512&fid=69143 for a response.]