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Conspiracy Theories

We've written a scheduling application that interprets union rules and spits out hours and pay code information for employees governed by said union rules.

So we've just hit our first statutory holiday(s) and funnily enough, the spec'd rules aren't robust enough to trap all of the actual rules that no-one has ever written down and never came up in the hundreds of examples nor in the historical data provided for testing.

This put us in the position of "gunslinging" (as Joel puts it) rather than writing "proper" functional specifications, since the time required to make a more complete specification than the quarter page hand-drawn scribble we actually used would have resulted in several hundred very rigidly unionized employees being paid late.  Which would probably have resulted in unhappiness on the part of said employees.

I'm thinking now that functional specs are kind of like structured essay writing.  It is possible to procrastinate on your writing, get down to the wire, write something, create your outline after the essay and end up with something good.  But it is much more painful if you dislike the pressure that comes with that approach, and there is no time for improvements.

A Stressed Phibian
Monday, April 19, 2004

It's been a long day obviously.  The "conspiracy" part was my internal whining about all of the stuff that has gone wrong today, starting with my hard drive DOA (to work) and ending with the client calling to ask questions at the instant our (dual provider) Internet connections were severed for reasons yet to be explained to me.

Monday, April 19, 2004

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