The Trouble With Software Projectsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I'm not a software guy. I've only had one class that involved code writing. It was in a college statistics class. Our code was easy stuff and we plugged into a SAS mainframe to do actual statistics calculations. But I do remember that even the easy stuff was hard as hell and exasperating. Of course we were working in IBM cards and it sometimes took many hours to determine if there was an error in our code. If someone had told me that Western Civilization depended on my writing that code quickly, I'm not sure that would have helped my meager powers of concentration. So good luck to any programmers out there on the front lines. But all this is beside the point.
Oh, yes, the point. I do have a great deal of experience in working on projects (I guess as opposed to tasks) of various sorts, long term projects. Most complicated long term projects are impossible to bring to fruition on time. (I realize that that statement is so broad and general as to be humorous, but in my experience it's true.) I don't know why this is. It may be because most deadlines are not really deadlines and everybody knows that. It may be because the power establishing the deadline is not the same one doing the work. It may be dishonesty in getting a contract, etc.
I believe that meeting a true deadline is a talent unto itself and there are some people who are real professionals at the task. Of course, a good bit of the talent is the ability to set a proper deadline. This is one of the most frightening things about y2k. I have great admiration for programmers as it is a task which I couldn't even imagine performing, but how many people involved int he remediation are talented at meeting true deadlines. I have some exposure to software projects. They all had arbitrary "soft" deadlines which were not met and the old software kept chugging away for months and months after deadline while the new software was fitted to the task.
Even if talented deadliners are on the job, given my belief that deadline setting is at least half of the task, then what are their chances on y2k where the deadline setting task is taken out of the equation?
-- Puddintame (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 06, 1999
Chances? What chances?
-- cody varian (email@example.com), February 06, 1999.
I've actually had a manager request that I document each of the unexpected problems we might encounter, with an estimated time to solve each, so that he could create a more realistic schedule!
-- Flint (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 07, 1999.