Friday, January 7, 2005

Geeks Over Troubled Water

Gates as CES. Microsoft software tanking during his presentation. My
ample forehead still is red from the "color="#000080">D'oh!" slapping it got as I watched each
embarrassing screw-up. My inner William Shatner is just crying out in

What. Does it take. To have a. Demo. That actually works AND.
Doesn't. crash?

Oy. Where's Microsoft's Montgomery Scott when you truly need him?

I don't know if I'm more embarrassed by the crashes and hangs and
crap-outs or over the "yuk-yuk. eh."
non-surprised reactions to yet another Microsoft low-quality bit-parade. Are
we doing this on purpose to help increase Apple's share?

How about a new quality standard: if your feature crashes during a
Microsoft demo, you're fired. Dev. PM. And Test. You are stripped, shaved,
have an "L" emblazed on your forehead, and shoved down a gauntlet
of angry shareholder-employees who soundly spank you right into Lake Bill to
swim across where you can dry off with the provided moth-eaten scratchy wool

Without consequences for failure, Microsoft product development see crap
accepted as the very public norm and continue creating product that meet
those expectations. How is it for all this Engineering Excellence that's
been inflicted upon us we still achieve this mere modicum of mediocrity?

I'd expect BillG (or any embarrassed executive) to storm back to
Redmond riding a roiling swirl of fire and brimstone and start firing such
underperformers. And just when such just firings are revealed, you'd bet
some folks will pull their fingers back from the keyboard and whisper
"Holy Shit!" And rather than checking
in their code to let testing find the bugs that round out the feature,
they'll decide it's time to do a bit more of their own testing and write a
few more automation and unit tests. And to dogfood a bit more intensely.

If pride is absent, I'll take fear.

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