28 June, 2007

Lucky

Today, I am the luckiest girl in the world.

My heart beat 100000 times today.
I breathed 23000 times today
My house did not fall upon me and crush me into bits, and a stranger helped me for no reason at all.

Today, I was not hit by a car, I did not face the miseries of hunger and thirst, and my mind did not let my soul force me to give in to the temptations of desire.

Today, I noticed that God had blessed me with people who I care about; and that I had made friends I can count on, friends who can catch me if I fall.

Today, I learned that money is not the only thing to gain in life, and that roses are better than diamonds even if they live for a very short while.

Today I saw myself in the mirror and did not feel bad about who I am - and my friends, I am the luckiest girl in the world because today, I did not fall in love :)

Just Pretending

Just pretending?
You brought pretending into this family..
You showed us we can change things by simply believing them to be different...
A lot of things, not everything, but the things that matter.
We've pretended for some time now that you're a part of this family, haven't we?
You've come to mean so much to us all that now, It doesn't matter if it's true.
And even if it isn't true, Even if that can never be...
I need to go on pretending
until the end... with you.

~ Lines from Finding Neverland. Mr J.M. Barrie discussing Sylvia Llewelyn Davies's reluctance to accept her illness.

26 June, 2007

Product 2.0 – Fix you shall, fix you must!

Disclaimer: This article is a piece of fiction, and captures a dialogue between a keen developer and the Lord-of-All-Softwares. All resemblances - existing, running or obsolete - are just a coincidence!

My attempt on reflecting about software life cycle turned into dreams one fine Sunday afternoon. I saw a land where life was perfect: software was bug free, components were fully defined and functional, code was properly commented, quality was free, requirements were met, and customers were delighted and not just satisfied. Wow, life is so good in dreams and fantasies!!!

I worked on and on and on and came up with this ultimate utopic Product 2.0 and wished my Lord to appear.

He sure did from behind the mirror as soon as I wished...

Me: Product 2.0, my Lord!

Lord: So I see my child, it looks good from the covers, but why is it double in size now? It will take me three hours to install this thing, while the earlier version got installed in 10 minutes. How did you manage to achieve that?

Me: Err, I see... but my Lord, it's worth all the wait… it's better, faster, and fully equipped with brilliant features. I am sure the customers are going to love it if they have a faster processor, more memory, a little more patience, and a lot more faith... and faith is what we need in this world, don't we!

Lord: Well that’s what you wish. Why on earth would customers replace their machines for running this beta which won’t install even after a seven course dinner? All those
extra weeks…and the moving deadlines... for this? No, no, tell me something else.

Me: But I have fixed the architecture that was created years ago and now was almost failing!!

Lord: Their quest was harder than yours! They worked hard to create it, you just had to fix it and not create regressions in the already ‘working’ software. This 2.0 will give a memory error thirty times a day.

Me: So now you want me to fix the fixes? That's not fair.
Have some mercy my Lord!

Lord: Fair? and Mercy?? Mercy is for poor people. You have sold your soul completely to the giant in the northwest. You deserve all this. From now on, life for you is about running in circles, mostly getting no where!
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni!

Me: Running in circles? How many times, my Lord?

Lord: Once more, like always, my child!
For your life will not be measured by Springs and Autumns you live through but by number of patches you do. Have you forgotten the dll hell?

Me: No my Lord. My intent is to give you a perfect software.

Lord: Never run for perfection. No one but me can do that. The users do not care about perfection. You just need to meet what they require.

Me: But my Lord, no one ever told us what the user requirements are.

Lord: Look into the eyes of customers. The requirements are what have not been met. Achieve what has not been achieved. I just wanted you to make the customer happy and your Product 2.0 will take a lifetime to install, make them call the Technical Support all the time, and give unidentified memory errors!! Is this your standard of happiness?

Me: Release it my Lord. Get it to launch and everything would be fine!

Lord: Go away and come back later!

I took my product and fixed back to try fixing the already fixed unfixable fixes. Just then, I heard a swooshing voice from the mirror.

Cheer up, for fix you shall, and fix you must. So fix your fixation in fixes!

Learning My Way Through...

They say that life teaches you a lot before it teaches you to be human. I learned a lot in my professional life, though I am still not sure if I reached that human-point yet!

Or haven't I?

The first thing I learned, was that the reason behind an angry project manager is either a bad cup of coffee, the horoscope in the paper, or that email he received this morning. Sometimes, you can even blame it on the weather... and as cynical as it sounds, this usually is true!

I came to know that understanding products is not a very complicated task. By the eternal laws of proportion, during training you try to understand a product, and the product tries to understand you. And both parties need to find a common ground where they can resolve all their issues with respect for each other.

And sooner or later, you come to terms with the fact that things take longer than they usually do. Therefore estimates are not a good thing to give away. And remember, too much of perfection can easily lead you to one million bugs and a free ticket to the judgment day.

Speaking of the judgment day - teepee meetings are a good way of expressing our views about the company. Usually these feelings revolve around 'I like Elixir', through 'abundance of positive energy' to 'I love Elixir' - three hours of standing and five days of muscle pain... Confused? Read the paragraph again.

An interesting fact is that developers are people who talk a certain language that is harder to understand than understanding the product. And that the ones testing the bugs are the ones who-should-not-be-named, or blamed, since they always test it using scenarios, other scenarios, and all possible scenarios, which is usually followed by a p.s. saying: 'and we did miss a few scenarios and few other things like other scenarios etc. etc.!'

The most important thing I learned was the fact that managers have a tendency of showing up right when you take a five minutes break or start browsing; and that Napolean is always right; Monday is not a good day for having lunch in the office; and "I'm not feeling well" is not the best excuse for calling in sick!

And I really learned that work goes on; products, patches and guides are released, and at the end of the day when you meet your deadline, you feel like one lucky person to be a part of Elixir.

Phew,the last line just saved me!

- Isbah Z

25 June, 2007

'My Last Wish'

Love is a game
Some win, Some lose
Come what may
Life goes on
& so will I...
But O my Lord,
Before I go
My last wish...
You & Me,
Just one more time!

~ Isbah Sept 7 2002