LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
Your performance review begins with your manager saying, "I hope you understand how well paid you are."
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Billboards that move, and stress in Marketingland
Okay, now I'm ticked. (As if you wouldn't be able to tell.) Some months ago, I bought a new iBook. My old PowerBook 300 was being pushed beyond its limits. But because I bought my iBook before the official announcement date of Mac O.S. 10.2, I did not qualify for a free upgrade.
I received my package on a slightly delayed time frame, installed it, filled out the rebate form, included a my invoice, and the product bar-code from the box to get the rebate. I thought I'd live happily ever after.
It's eight weeks later. Amazon has just informed me they will not pay the fifty bucks because I provided an invalid SKU number. Huh? Where would I have gotten that? They said I had 30 days to send them the correct number, or I could call their 877 number.
"You mean the invoice I've already sent to you?" I asked.
I was asked for this big bold number that is right in the middle of the paper. The one you couldn't possibly miss if your customer sent it to you. I read off the number and asked, "So when do I get the fifty big ones?"
"Excuse me? You screw up and I wait another eight weeks? Okay, I know you're just the guy they stuck on the phone, so tell your boss I said Amazon sucks."
This isn't the only time I've been screwed by a rebate. I was one of the thousands that iOmega rogered with another such offer years ago. That went to a class-action suit. Years later, if you still had a receipt, iOmega would give you some money. Who keeps receipts that long? I don't buy their products anymore either.
Here's a deal was too good to pass on. For slightly more than what I paid for my 1993 Fekmobile, I could buy a 2002 Fekmobile that came with more stuff. I could also get zero percent financing for 5 years, and put nothing down.
Some months ago Crash had complained that he was doing more than his share for the economy what with his purchase of a couple computers, several iPods and a very expensive home theater system. He said it was someone else's turn. So I took the plunge and bought a car in the worse month Detroit has had in a decade. Don't thank me, it was the least I could do. (And never let it be said that I didn't do the least I could do.)
Once I picked up the new Fekmobile I noticed that GM had found some prime advertising real estate on the car. I don't have license plates yet. If it's good enough for MotorCity, it's good enough for me. So I'm having some fun until the prison work detail catches up with my registration.
I dread the day my plates come in. Anyone want to buy a used Fekmobile?
It happened again. A Gant chart exploded. Marketing people began to gnash their teeth. The worse possible scenario was about to happen. They had one week to push a product out the door, or they wouldn't get their bonus.
"Damn the quality, man! Full speed ahead!"
The issue was backwards compatibility. New aspects of the product wouldn't work for customers who hadn't upgraded, but they would still see the features. They would try to use the features. They would be calling the support phone number when the new features didn't work.
Ever the fella who announces when the Emperor is running around without his shorts on, I had brought up the problem two and a half months earlier. I had hoped people would take my warnings seriously. (Silly me!) We had gone down this road before. Nope. It went in one ear and out the other. Now a week before release I asked what we had done about this.
Blood drain from faces. The marketing teeth began their gnashing. I said that I didn't think this product could be released in this condition. A woman from marketing said they had promised the CEO that it would ship on time. I didn't want to disappoint the CEO, did I?
Clearly, she had come to the wrong window. I didn't give a damn who was disappointed about the schedule. "Imagine how disappointed he will be when you ship a product that doesn't work," I said. But I knew my retort was only a parry in a contest where there would be many more thrusts.
The truth is software is continually shipped broken. For some strange reason we have decided that timeliness is better than quality. The only people who really give a damn are those who don't get a bonus for shipping on time. Only we have the luxury of looking at the problem long term.
The MBO is the problem. Originally conceived as a carrot to get people motivated to work quickly, and dare I say efficiently, the bonus has really pitted the financial interests of the employee against the interests of the organization.
It's not just software where we see crap going out the door. Hardware manufactures are doing the same. Product Managers push nonfunctional, yet very expensive equipment to customers everyday. They cash the bonus check, and then aren't to be found when it's time to deal with the consequences.
Perhaps if the bonus could be revoked if a product turned out to be a lemon would we get quality. But since the MBO exists from your manager all the way up to the CEO, conflicts of interests will prevent any reform this flawed strategy where managers declare that problems do not exist.
Of course there is a strategy for those of us who have to deal with the new crap being pumped out the door. The Vacation Pool. This is where everyone in your group puts in for a weeks vacation starting the day they think the product will ship. The winner gets a week away from the initial blow-back while co-workers figure out the work-arounds.
Isn't it nice to know that the MBO has everyone from Marketing to Support pulling together to mutually screw the company?
New Shocking Statistics!
Most People Will Believe Anything in Print!
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"I spell 'woman' with a 'B'!"
"He's an M.I.S. guy at the Red Roof Inn for a reason."
"He really is a dumb ass."
"My finger smells funny."
"Dinner at 5, Turkey induced comma at 7!"
"I don't want to say HP doesn't know Jack Shit about marketing, but if they invented Sushi, they'd name it 'Wet Cold Fish'!"
"They were using the wrong profile. I sent them a Shit-O-Gram about this."
I must help someone upgrade.
(The Last Honest Geek)
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