Sunday, February 15, 2009

How Important is Process in Development?

One team is facing the following problem.

The team is developing a new application. At the time of installing the first version, it needs to be populated with some data. If the data is in a structured format (like csv or xml), then the application can import it. But, the data is in unstructured format, and it needs to be converted to structured format.

All the team members are brainstorming on how to solve the problem.

Sr.PM: I agree that, it is not a challenging task (It means, it is very dirty work). If you want, I can get one contractor who can do this work of converting from unstructured format to our own format.

Deverloper: I can do this. You don't need to get a vendor for this.

PM: How will you do it?

Deverloper: I will write a script in vim to parse the unstructured format, and to change the data to structured format.

PM: Hmmmm. How will I run it?

Deverloper: I don't expect you to run it. I will run it. If you want to run it, you need to install vim. I will give you a script and a command, and you just need to run it.

PM: What about production machine?

Deverloper: I don't expect it to be installed on production machine. To install it on production machine, we need to get clearance from Legal department, and we will have many other problems. I expect this to be run only once on our local machine to convert the data from unstructured format to structured format. If the data is changed, then I can run this again to get the new data in structured format.

PM: But, if you write any program, then it has to be documented, and we should have clear instructions on how to install it and run it. The test team should be able to test it. If you only run it everytime, then we will have dependency on you.

Deverloper: No. You cannot do all those. It is a small script. Assume that, I am doing it manually.

PM: No. If you are going to write any program, then it has to be documented, tested and checked in the source control. You have to follow the entire process.

Deverloper: In that case, ignore whatever I said.

After that, the PM happily spent few days in manually converting the data from unstructured format to structured format.

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