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The true story of ???

From @RELAY.CS.NET:wyle@solaris.uucp Fri Sep  9 11:15:24 1988
Flags: 000000000001
From: graham@eigg.tcom.stc.co.uk
Subject: The software life cycle
Message-ID: <3107@eigg.tcom.stc.co.uk>
Date: 6 Sep 88 19:14:19 GMT
Newsgroups: eunet.jokes
Path: solaris!ethz!cernvax!mcvax!ukc!stc!eigg!graham
Distribution: eunet
Lines: 120
Organisation: STC Telecoms, New Southgate, LONDON UK

Here's something for you out in netland, a salutory tale of software
development. Note this is not the way things are done here at STC :-;

  The true story of ???

In the beginning there was the Requirement and the Requirement was
without form or structure and darkness was upon the face of the Client, and the
face of the Client was turned away from the Company. So the Company said :

  'Let there be a Tender'

And lo, there was a Tender, and the Client saw that it was good, and
the face of the client was turned once more unto the works of the Company.

Then did the Company gather together all manner of creatures, and from
this gathering was created the project team - and it was said that it was good.
>From the Project Team were produced Engineers and Programmers and diverse other
forms of life. And from the multitude was selected one who was raised above all
others and who was called 'Manager'. And he was to lead the Project Team along
the path of productivity for the Companys' sake. And it happened that the mind
of the Manager was dazzled by the Tender and he thereby believed that all
things were possible, even though there was, as yet, no specification.

Thus it was that the Manager commanded all Programmers to be gathered
together in one place and he spoke to their leader who was called Chief
Progammer : 'Let there be a Schedule, whereby I may know the Delivery Date, and
I shall make you responsible for the accomplisment of this schedule'. Therefore
did the Chief Programmer move amongst his followers and ask of them 'How shall
this be done ?'.

Where upon his followers withdrew, each to his own desk and estimated,
as was their custom. And it came to pass that each Programmer brought forth an
estimate and, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, all estimates were
consolidated and summarised into one place which was called a 'Project Plan'.

And the Chief Programmer brought the Manager unto the Project plan
saying : 'Behold - it will take a full score of months to accomplish'. But
the Manager was not pleased and said : 'I have raised you up from the depths
and given unto you many coding sheets and even so you have not understood the
Tender, your Project Plan is too long'. Whereupon the Manager hired
consultants, authorised much overtime and cancelled all holidays. Then he spake
unto the Chief Programmer : 'Behold, see all that I have done, the Delivery
Date shall be in one Year'.

Then did the Chief Programmer set his followers to designing and
coding and there were many meetings and much computer time was employed in the
working thereof - even though there was as yet no Specification. And it came to
pass that the Manager examined the designs and he saw that they were too
ambitious and he knew that they could not be accomplished in the Delivery Date.
Whereupon the Manager commanded the Chief Programmer to separate the design
into two parts. One part he called the 'Manditory Functions' and the other part
were 'Options' - and the Client called him names. And the Manager commanded:
'Let the Software Houses put forth their salesmen and let us have a Data Base
Management System' and it was so.

The salesmen produced all manner of Brochures which laid claim to many
and wondrous things - each according to their own file structure. And it came
to pass that a Data Base Management System was selected and the Chief
Programmer accomplised said that it was good and that more programmers were
required if all was to be accomplised by the Delivery Date. Thus it was that
the Project Team was increased almost without number. The Manager, espying this
host from afar said : 'Let there be Organisation' and there was Organisation.
And the Project team was split into many groups that did not speak to each
other, and it was said that , perhaps it was good. Some groups the Chief
Programmer called Senior Programmers and others he called Junior Programmers
and he gave domination to the former over the latter . And the Senior
Programmers saw it differently.

Now it was said that the Chief Programmer exorted his followers to
even greater efforts because the Delivery Date was nigh and the breath of the
Manager was hot upon his neck. Both Senior and Junior Programmers became sore
afraid. They strove mightily to please the Chief Programmer with much overtime
and copious comment and everyone coded and flowcharted, each in his own manner.
The manager, seeing this, liked it not and commanded : 'Let there be Standards'
and there were Stanards but the Programmers liked them not and productivity
fell. When he learned of this the Chief Programmer was afaid that he would be
cast down from his high place and therefore commanded : 'Let there be Progress
Reports' and there were Progress Reports.

The Chief Programmer looked at the Progress reports and saw that the
Delivery Date would not be met. Therefore, on the tenth month, the Chief
Programmer rose up , pressed his suit, shaved his beard and went unto the
Manager, grovelling and pointing his fingers and causing much blame to issue
forth unto all manner of creatures who sold both hardware and software. And
the Chief Programmer asked for an extension whereat the Manager was exeedingly
angry and caused doubt to be cast on the legitimacy of the Chief Programmers
ancestors - even to the third and fourth generation and there was much beating
of breast and tearing of hair - mostly the Chief Programmers'. And the Manager
commanded the Chief Programmer to put forth all Software House personnel and
all Consultants. But the Chief Programmer refused saying that all were needed,
that there was no documentation and that there was, as yet, no specification.

And it came to pass that an extention was granted and the Chief
Programmer returned to his followers bearing these tidings and there was
rejoising and revelry among the terminals; and the coffee machine broke down.
On the twentieth month the Chief Programmer said : ' Let the modules be
integrated, one with another, so that the system testing can begin'. And it was
so and great difficulties were experienced and many hours of overtime were
employed in finding out why the modules would not integrate - for there was no
documentation and, as yet, no specification.

Then on the twenty fourth month, the Chief Programmer did go to the
Manager and say unto him : 'Behold I give you good tidings of great joy for you
and for youre Client, for on this day the System did work'. And suddenly there
was all about them a host, a multitude of Salesmen praising the Chief
Programmer and singing : 'Glory to the Company, the Manager, and the Chief
Programmer and, please, can you make this small change ?'. And the Chief
Programmer rose up and spake thus unto them :
  'We dare'nt for there is no documentation and, as yet, no specification'.

Graham Bardsley,                            
STC Telecommunications,        
 Oakleigh Road South,            
  New Southgate,                         ...{mcvax}!ukc!stc!eigg!graham
   London, England.    
    N11 1HB                                         Tel: +44 1 368 1234 x2739

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