Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Programming for the two big I’s (1): a programmer is dismayed:

I spent several years developing software in a cooperative effort between two major companies that I shall call the “two big I’s.” Our story starts at a meeting. An important piece of software had been delayed while it took 18 months for the companies to specify what the software would do. Now, with the spec in place and not one line of code written, the development manager, himself an expert programmer, chose a developer in his group to write this software.
“Arthur, start coding at once,” he said, “the first milestone for a running program is in one month.”
“First we have to design the software,” said Arthur drily. “Then I can write it.”
“There’s no time for design,” replied the manager, “you’ve got to start writing.”
“We have to design first,” the programmer said firmly.
“Look there’s no time for design,” said the manager. “You can do some design later if you have to.” The programmer shook his head sadly: no.
The manager proposed to take a risky gamble that – in this case – was going to work. You’ll see what happened as this story develops.

This is the first episode in my “two big I’s” story. Episode 2 is here.

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