Bosses voice. Eyes. More eyes. Nervous smiles and eyes all around. Ah – developer meeting. David hated these meetings and found it impossible not to space out during them. He honestly gave his best effort in trying to pay attention but very little of the material covered actually applied to him. They were also unbelievably dull.
Recently one of the lead developers had the idea to meet once a week to discuss current projects. One by one, each developer would talk briefly about what he or she was working on. David had no shortage of projects, but he kept terrible notes and found it hard to recall just what it was he was working on any given day, much less the entire week. He decided, as he always did, to start talking about what he was currently working on and just going on from there.
“Right now I'm implementing a stack count routine that sets up the individual bricks according to their stack layer. You see....”
“Whoa-whoa – we talking the underground passages here or is this something in the caverns?” Big boss notepad scribbling.
Cavern. Bricks in a cavern. David often wondered if the big boss even knew what his company was programming. “The underground passages. I haven't gotten to the caverns yet.”
The big boss clicked his pen on his teeth and looked up from his notes. “I'm checking here and you said you were just about finished with the underground passage last week. 'One or two days tops' you said.”
“Let me butt in real quick for a second.” Chris, one of the lead developers interrupted. “These 'stack layers' – do these really need to be implemented? I saw these in the specs but each brick is identical.”
That had been David's exact thought. He now found himself in a position where he had to defend the work he had been doing with a point he didn't firmly believe. If he were honest with himself, he'd have to admit that the only reason he was working on this was because of his inability to argue this point with Terry, who was being noticeably quiet on the subject.
Nevertheless, he adapted Terry's original argument to defend the work he had been doing all day. “Well, the customer could very well change stack layers and even add on new brick types that wouldn't render correctly if the layer is ignored.” The excuse dripped out like water being squeezed from a sponge.
“Ok people,” although Chris addressed the entire room, David felt that the word 'people' was seasoned liberally with fresh David “how often do I have to say this? Whenever you're writing code try to see the big picture. I know this is difficult at times, but in this 'brick' case it is just easy. Sorry.” This added apology accompanied Chris' slightly raised hand in David's direction. “We need to get this bundle out the door and we don't have time to be fretting over that 20% that isn't even yet relevant.”
The “20%” to which Chris was referring was the common adage in software programming that stated 80% of software functionality can be accomplished with 20% of the resources required whereas the last 20% of functionality will require 80% of the resources.
“The room – um, sorry – wall will render beautifully 'out of the box' right now. The customer will be pleased and we'll be pleased. If any exceptions start coming in, we can deal with that through a patch.” Perspiration formed on Chris' forehead and he took a drink of water.
“Yeah, well if we ignore the stack layer then the passage is finished.” David took a deep breath and sunk down into his chair.
“Anyone have anything to add?” asked Chris. No one did. “Good. That means.... David? When can we expect the caverns?”
“Three or four days. Shouldn't be much of a problem. I can use a lot of code from the caves.”
Big boss scribbled notes.