Deadline, Chapter 12

At the start of this chapter, Tompkins and his team go through some interviews to find people suitable to be in the new teams, since the old teams had to merge. There was a bit of a problem finding skilled people since all the skilled people had already been chosen in the previous interviews. In the end, every project got an A, B and C team. The A team was way overstaffed, sometimes going as far as having almost 10 times the people that the B and C teams. They were expecting the B and C teams to do way better than the A teams. Of course, the B and C teams had to work secretly since they weren’t supposed to exist.

After having that done, Tompkins received a letter from Lahksa saying that Mr. T. Johns was going to visit them. Mr. T. Johns was the consultant of a company that measures all kinds of things, but software in particular. Software can be measured by lines of code, function points, among others. In this case, they use function points. However,I also found that in more recent times this can be done through artificial intelligence. This AI seems very useful and easy to use. It can measure software size from natural language and can help you save time. Software sizing is really important since it is the main input when doing cost estimation. However, software sizing is hard, software is not a physical object that you can measure with a ruler. Many factors are needed in order to estimate its size.

In this case, they are using function points, which is a concept that I’m not too familiar with. I had to look around in order to find what they are. Function points are a unit of measurement that express the amount of business functionality a product will provide to its user. There are multiple ISO standards for function points and they were invented back in 1979 at IBM.

So, the guy Mr. T. Johns comes. He just moves and talks super fast and overwhelms Tompkins. However, it was all worth it since they have been able to estimate the function points for all of their projects. They also need to know the productivity of their workers, so they will have to do some digging in that, thankfully, the assistant, Waldo, is going to help with that.

Belinda mentioned to Tompkins that they could have started the whole process without someone else’s help. Maybe they couldn’t have used function points but they could have easily come up with an arbitrary unit of measurement that works for them. It probably wouldn’t have been as thorough as function points, but that’s because function points are designed to work with all projects. They could have created one that worked for just their 6 projects.

“If we hypothesized, for example, that Quickerstill was one hundred ‘Galoobles’ of software, then couldn’t we have figured out how big Quirk was in Galoobles? Couldn’t we have figured out how many Quickerstills in a Quirk?”

After that, they watch the sky looking for shooting stars.

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