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    Everybody: February 14, 2037 at 1:30pm (plus or minus)

    Bob Balaban  January 24 2010 01:00:00 PM
    Greetings Geeks!

    This might sound stupid, but bear with me before making up your m ind.

    I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present a Lotusphere10 session on the Best Practices track with my friend and colleague, Paul Mooney, titled "Meet the Grumpies: Eschew Obfuscation". A PDF of the slides we used (there aren't many of them, as most of the session was ad-lib or audience Q&A) are posted below. Most of the session was devoted to people (initially myself and Paul, but then audience members chimed in too) offering up things that made them grumpy. Not just any things, but things related to software development, admin and deployment. Even the sound guy at the back of the room mentioned that speakers who ask him to do things he hasn't been told about in advance make him grumpy. And rightly so, sorry!

    One of the topics that came up as grumpy-making was unrealistic deadlines set by managers who are running to schedule, not to functionality or quality. Especially when they keep asknig: "When will it be done". So I offered a possible reply. Just say "It will be done on February 14th, 2037, at 1:30 PM, plus or minus". Then it was suggested (from the audience) that EVERYONE (yes, including you) should use this as the canonical "when it will be done" date. I just love that idea (note that the "plus or minus" gives you huge flexibility on actually getting the work done).

    So, remember this date, when (I guess) EVERYTHING will be "done": 14 Feb., 2037, 1:30pm (local time, plus or minus)

    To be somewhat more responsible, let's note that a REAL technique for dealing with this unhappy situation is to set many, short-term deadlines, rather than rely on one "Everything is done" deadline (after all, your definition of "done" may not be the same as your manager's). For example, if you're a developer working on a new piece of software, set milestones for "spec complete", "design complete", "first working demo", "UI frozen", "first draft of documentation" (hoo hah!), etc.

    Geek ya later!

    BP201-Meet -The Grumpies- Eschew Obfuscation.pdf

    1Brent Henry  01/24/2010 1:42:48 PM  Everybody: February 14, 2037 at 1:30pm (plus or minus)

    The link to the pdf is not working for me....

    2Bob Balaban  01/24/2010 1:59:12 PM  Everybody: February 14, 2037 at 1:30pm (plus or minus)

    @1 - Fixed now

    3Simon  01/24/2010 9:07:39 PM  Everybody: February 14, 2037 at 1:30pm (plus or minus)

    I always used to piss off the guys at Lotus Consulting by showin them Gant charts without dates/times on em. Cos the real value is in planning order / dependencies.

    It really annoyed them more when I said I would stick in the dates when the project finished! I told them that MS Project was a historical record.

    It's done when it's done...

    *splutter, fume, you can't SAY THAT*

    4Bob Balaban  01/25/2010 3:13:03 PM  Everybody: February 14, 2037 at 1:30pm (plus or minus)

    I totally agree! Although, you CAN put the dates in up front, so long as you get to adjust them as you go. That way, the project is ALWAYS (almost) on time