Deadline, Chapters 13 and 14

Tompkins finally got the results of the workers productivity and it wasn’t looking too bright. The PShop project needed at least 3 years to finish, but they had a little less than a year left. Then, hsi new assistant informed him that an audit was going to be performed on the project groups. Tompkins was told that every team needs to be in Capability Maturity Model level 3. This concept had already been mentioned in a previous chapter. It basically means to assign a level to the capability of a team for producing software. The higher the level the better.

There is a big problem, however, with the way Minister Belok wants things to be done. He wants the teams to undergo training in order to boost their productivity. However, we have already seen in a previous chapter that it isn’t possible to gain productivity in the short term. They may gain productivity in the futurem, but in the context of the current 6 projects the productivity increase will probably delay them since increasing the productivity will take time. The benefits will probably not show until after the deadline passes. And the worst part is that the whole organization is going to go through these changes, not only the 6 projects. This means that they will discover the secret teams B and C that are hidden away. Thankfully, Tompkins has some days before they are discovered.

There is a problem, one of the teams is not going to the process exactly as specified. Since they are copying products, they are using the requirements for the product they are copying. This will actually save time, but they are going against the level 2 requirements. In this case, I think he should be allowed to break the mold. If you always have to follow the same steps, you won’t find a faster way of doing things. Don’t stick to the mold if the situation calls for it.

And actually, the B and C teams are doing exactly that, they are using already existing requirements and are speeding their development. The reason why A teams aren;t doing this, except for one, is because with such large teams you must make all of the members work at all times, if they copied, they wouldn’t all be working.

In the next chapter, Tompkins decides to convince the director not to make the teams follow such strict rules. He is told by the ex-general that he has to like the director even if he doesn’t want to. People follow Tompkins because Tompkins likes them. He goes with the director, but he isn’t able to grant Tompkins’ wishes. Tompkins instead goes with the superior of the director.

He meets Morovia’s first programmer. He has a lot of experience. He decides to help Tompkins lie to Belok if he gets a job. His job will be getting the teams to do less debugging. Debugging costs a lot of time for developers. He suggests spending a lot more time designing and less time coding. The design will be so close to code that when the time to code comes, it will be fast and bug-free. He also mentions that many people design because they have to and once they start coding they don’t even look at the design and design at the same time as coding. This generates lots of bugs and I have to admit that I have been guilty of this in the past. With this approach the projects may just be possible to complete before the deadline.

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