I made curry this morning, and wanted to share it with chalain over lunch. I figured it would be a good way to spend lunch, and since I haven’t seen him in weeks, it seemed like an easy “in.”
He agreed. I brought curry to his place of work, and arrived just in time for the “War Meeting” of developers there. The guy holding the meeting is a friend of mine, so I stuck around and ate curry while they talked about defect fixes, feature creep, and the rest of the stuff that I remember fondly from Novell.
I even contributed. My inner Product Manager can’t NOT contribute, as he gets out so very rarely these days. There was some discussion about how a customer request could better be met in different ways, but how the customer might be upset if the feature wasn’t implemented the way they’d asked. It’s a risky thing, second-guessing the customer, and it’s almost NEVER something you want to let the engineers do. But in this case the engineers had it right. The feature request exposed missing functionality, and by installing the missing functionality the request for the feature would either a) go away, or b) be solveable with a simple hook into the new functionality.
Rodney and Chalain and I stuck around for a bit after the meeting and talked. I envy Chalain just a little — he’s got skills that are in demand, and he’s working for a small, dynamic company that appreciates him. But I only envy him a LITTLE. His company has allowed the customer all the way inside the development process, so they’ve got institutionalized feature-creep and “two master” syndrome that makes serving God and Mammon look like nothing more than an unpaid parking ticket. In another state, on a University campus six years ago.
I’m glad I’m a cartoonist. My inner Product Manager is going back in his box now, and I’m taping the lid shut. He’s pretty bright as Product Managers go, but he never could fight his way out of a cardboard box.