Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-03-28 Entry: "Meeting Day"

Tuesday was scheduled to be hell. Meetings all day to try and thrash out a few details of one of the major new features that affect this team at the Phone Company. We knew a little bit and I at least knew how the software should look when finished (big picture, I've no idea how it actually breaks down into nice, easily coded components, but I know which team should deal with which bit of it). Fortunately my opinion in this matter is pretty irrelevant - I'm not going to have to do any of the development (as, with the Dallas move, I'll be on something completely different), and I'm not going to have to make any of the hard decisions before I leave.

So basically, I'm there to advise how easy or hard it is to implement the solution they end up with (and ask intelligent questions if any arise).

So, we all gather, split into two groups (UI and Architecture) and spend all day discussing it. It set out to be a complete disaster. The architecture group, by lunchtime, were about an hour behind, hadn't really covered anything helpful, and had barely scratched the surface of any "architectural issues." So coming back after lunch, I didn't have much hope.

Fortunately, after another hour of boredom, we ran out of obvious places to go, and had to open the floor. At this point, every topic I wanted to cover crawled out of the woodwork, and every architecture point pretty much followed my vision of it. Which was slightly spooky actually!

So the day wasn't a total waste - there are a couple of really big holes in their ideas, but I've flagged them as potential problem spots so at least someone is aware of them. And now I can sit back and laugh at the chaos that ensues when someone has to actually implement it!

This sort of entry is rather difficult to actually write - cover what happened, without slipping up and revealing all sorts of company confidential rubbish that I might potentially get into trouble for. So it tends to get a bit vague when I talk about new features or new products. Unfortunately, I can't actually cover home stuff all the time, as I'd only manage an entry every five or six days, so every now and again, vague work type stuff...

I think the discussion above gets the feeling across at least... please no more dull meetings! What started out badly turned out to be reasonably productive, but we could have lost the morning session easily enough and still have gone away with the information we needed. And however interesting it may be as a feature, I don't have to have anything more to do with it!

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