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Soul Searching (BIO-IT World article)

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  • Piergiuliano Bossi
    All, on Slashdot appeared this article: http://tinyurl.com/olxk Trying to ignore the dramatic subject of 9/11 victims, if possible, and a celebrative tone that
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 25, 2003
      All,

      on Slashdot appeared this article: http://tinyurl.com/olxk

      Trying to ignore the dramatic subject of 9/11 victims, if possible, and
      a celebrative tone that I personally don't like very much, there are a
      few issues that I'd like to see discussed here, especially if Bill wants
      to jump in and comment. Nevertheless, the project seems a huge success!

      For example, usage of XP is introduced this way: "Because the software
      for M-FISys had to be developed so quickly, Gene Codes couldn't write
      specifications. So it adopted extreme programming (XP) to safeguard
      quick development against errors." ==> Doesn't it look like another RAD
      variation?

      Another issue: the whole project is described like a huge development
      effort performed by heroes working on "arduous 12-hour programming
      shifts." ==> What happened to sustainable pace?

      Just curious about your comments.
      Ciao, Giuliano




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ron Jeffries
      ... very dynamic and emotionally difficult environment. They are naturally fairly reticent about things, so I m not sure how much Bill will be able to say.
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 25, 2003
        On Thursday, September 25, 2003, at 5:46:10 AM, Piergiuliano Bossi wrote:

        > Trying to ignore the dramatic subject of 9/11 victims, if possible, and
        > a celebrative tone that I personally don't like very much, there are a
        > few issues that I'd like to see discussed here, especially if Bill wants
        > to jump in and comment. Nevertheless, the project seems a huge success!

        >From what we know around town, they have worked hard and effectively in a
        very dynamic and emotionally difficult environment. They are naturally
        fairly reticent about things, so I'm not sure how much Bill will be able to
        say. From what I know, they're definitely a success story for the team and
        for their president, and they're doing an important job.

        > For example, usage of XP is introduced this way: "Because the software
        > for M-FISys had to be developed so quickly, Gene Codes couldn't write
        > specifications. So it adopted extreme programming (XP) to safeguard
        > quick development against errors." ==> Doesn't it look like another RAD
        > variation?

        Isn't it a fairly accurate characterization of XP to say that?

        > Another issue: the whole project is described like a huge development
        > effort performed by heroes working on "arduous 12-hour programming
        > shifts." ==> What happened to sustainable pace?

        They do seem to have missed out on that one, perhaps for understandable
        reasons. I know that Bill has done a lot to help them stay productive, and
        with others here i suspect that 12 hours might not be the optimal
        production point. Because of the sense of urgency, a team might work that
        way anyway -- most of us have at one time or another.

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        Please state the nature of the development emergency. -- Ryan Ripley
      • Piergiuliano Bossi
        ... This is my feeling too. ... I don t know, it seems too simplistic to me. ... It would be nice to know if there was any trick in place in order to keep up
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 25, 2003
          Ron Jeffries wrote:

          >On Thursday, September 25, 2003, at 5:46:10 AM, Piergiuliano Bossi wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          >>Trying to ignore the dramatic subject of 9/11 victims, if possible, and
          >>a celebrative tone that I personally don't like very much, there are a
          >>few issues that I'd like to see discussed here, especially if Bill wants
          >>to jump in and comment. Nevertheless, the project seems a huge success!
          >>
          >>
          >
          >>From what we know around town, they have worked hard and effectively in a
          >very dynamic and emotionally difficult environment. They are naturally
          >fairly reticent about things, so I'm not sure how much Bill will be able to
          >say. From what I know, they're definitely a success story for the team and
          >for their president, and they're doing an important job.
          >

          This is my feeling too.

          >>For example, usage of XP is introduced this way: "Because the software
          >>for M-FISys had to be developed so quickly, Gene Codes couldn't write
          >>specifications. So it adopted extreme programming (XP) to safeguard
          >>quick development against errors." ==> Doesn't it look like another RAD
          >>variation?
          >>
          >>
          >
          >Isn't it a fairly accurate characterization of XP to say that?
          >

          I don't know, it seems too simplistic to me.

          >They do seem to have missed out on that one, perhaps for understandable
          >reasons. I know that Bill has done a lot to help them stay productive, and
          >with others here i suspect that 12 hours might not be the optimal
          >production point. Because of the sense of urgency, a team might work that
          >way anyway -- most of us have at one time or another.
          >
          >

          It would be nice to know if there was any trick in place in order to
          keep up productivity in such environment. I cannot see myself or anybody
          from my team working at that pace and being productive after a couple of
          weeks, but maybe it's a problem on our side.
          From this point of view, I think that motivation could be a problem,
          not an helper, a sort of doping ... I know, it's a bad metaphor, sorry,
          but I like to express the idea that under great and good motivations you
          can fall into bad habits without being able to realize it until it's too
          late.

          Ciao, Giuliano


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill Wake
          Hi- I m still without power (thanks Isabel), and am limited in how much net time I can put in, so forgive me if I don t answer quickly. Please don t picture a
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 25, 2003
            Hi-
            I'm still without power (thanks Isabel), and am limited in how much
            net time I can put in, so forgive me if I don't answer quickly.

            Please don't picture a team doing 12-hour days for the last two
            years. I'd have to go back and see how the article phrased it.

            There were definitely times, especially early on, when the team put
            in days that were too long and hard (and others when the extra time
            paid off).

            I feel like the team operates on a generally sustainable level now.
            On the day-by-day level, it feels sustainable. Weekly delivery has
            its own pressures though, and I'm sure people are ready for a change
            in project and pace at some point. (We've accommodated a lot of
            changes in direction; on most any project, it would feel like high
            churn, but I think it's a reflection of the reality we're trying to
            meet.)

            I can't really get into specific things about the project. It's been
            a challenging project, and I'm very proud to have worked on it.

            --Bill Wake William.Wake@...

            --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries
            <ronjeffries@X...> wrote:
            > >From what we know around town, they have worked hard and
            effectively in a
            > very dynamic and emotionally difficult environment. They are
            naturally
            > fairly reticent about things, so I'm not sure how much Bill will be
            able to
            > say. From what I know, they're definitely a success story for the
            team and
            > for their president, and they're doing an important job.
            >
          • Edmund Schweppe
            ... You re forgiven; may the (electromotive) Force soon be with you. ... Well, the original article (http://www.bio-itworld.com/archive/091103/soul.html) had
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 25, 2003
              Bill Wake wrote:

              > Hi-
              > I'm still without power (thanks Isabel), and am limited in how much
              > net time I can put in, so forgive me if I don't answer quickly.

              You're forgiven; may the (electromotive) Force soon be with you.

              > Please don't picture a team doing 12-hour days for the last two
              > years. I'd have to go back and see how the article phrased it.

              Well, the original article
              (http://www.bio-itworld.com/archive/091103/soul.html) had lines like:

              "Here, a team of eight software engineers would work around the clock"
              "it would mean enduring arduous 12-hour programming shifts"
              "staffers routinely arrived for work at 7 a.m. and left at midnight"

              so I hope you can see why some of us were concerned.

              Again, I hope you get power back soon. Camping out in the city gets old
              real quick.

              --
              Edmund Schweppe -- schweppe@... -- http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
              The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
              those of any past, present or future employer.
            • Piergiuliano Bossi
              ... No problems! My apologies for having put some pressure, but I was really curious to hear from you. ... As Edmund already pointed out, the article had a
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 26, 2003
                Bill Wake wrote:

                >Hi-
                >I'm still without power (thanks Isabel), and am limited in how much
                >net time I can put in, so forgive me if I don't answer quickly.
                >
                >

                No problems! My apologies for having put some pressure, but I was really
                curious to hear from you.

                >Please don't picture a team doing 12-hour days for the last two
                >years. I'd have to go back and see how the article phrased it.
                >

                As Edmund already pointed out, the article had a characterization that
                made me and others think that way.

                >There were definitely times, especially early on, when the team put
                >in days that were too long and hard (and others when the extra time
                >paid off).
                >
                >I feel like the team operates on a generally sustainable level now.
                >On the day-by-day level, it feels sustainable. Weekly delivery has
                >its own pressures though, and I'm sure people are ready for a change
                >in project and pace at some point. (We've accommodated a lot of
                >changes in direction; on most any project, it would feel like high
                >churn, but I think it's a reflection of the reality we're trying to
                >meet.)
                >

                Thanks Bill, this sounds reasonable to me. I feel better now! ;-)

                >I can't really get into specific things about the project. It's been
                >a challenging project, and I'm very proud to have worked on it.
                >

                I hope I can know something more, but I'll understand if it's not possible.
                Btw, congratulations for the project!

                Ciao, Giuliano
              • Bill Wake
                ... [all 12-hour days] Yes - as someone earlier said, you never quite know how to take a press story. Each person has their own story of a project, and then
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 26, 2003
                  --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Piergiuliano Bossi
                  <P.Bossi@q...> wrote:
                  > As Edmund already pointed out, the article had a characterization
                  > that made me and others think that way.
                  [all 12-hour days]

                  Yes - as someone earlier said, you never quite know how to take a
                  press story. Each person has their own story of a project, and then
                  you have someone from outside trying to make sense of it and pull
                  out a coherent story they want to tell.

                  To explain where you are, you tend to explain how things started,
                  and I think that ends up being the vivid part.
                  --Bill
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