Tag Archives: Argent

Types of Web Developer

In my travels I’ve come across three types of Web Developer. Actually web developer is too specific, programmer is more general of a term.

  1. The one who thrives on working in a small environment
  2. The enterprise IT programmer (seems to be the most common)
    1. A subset of this programmer is the politician.
  3. the guy who is so bleeding edge, he’s dangerous.

At my previous employer we had all three.

The Type 2

Myself and two others fell into category 2. We liked programming, liked having some guidelines. liked having process. We liked using source control, and really liked not having too much access to production. We saw new technologies as ways to make things better as well as ways to make ourselves more marketable. We didn’t see new technologies as the next thing we have to try, whether it makes sense or not. That’s the type 3 programmer.

Type 2 programmers, share what they know and are as likely to be at their desk coding as they are at some one else’s helping with a problem.

The Type 1

These programmers love the small “web shop” environment. They don’t want source control. They shun process. They tend to find a niche, and settle. This is not always the case. Some Type 1’s are closer to type 3’s. They love new challanges, love creating something new for some one new. From what I’ve seen there are a pretty even distrobution of these Type 1s. We had one at my last job. Hated having a process, fought tooth and nail. Loved talking about the days when he coded right on prod. Of course “those days” weren’t spent working for a large enterprise IT Organization. They were at a small shop with one programmer.

Not so current any more

Well today was the last day of work. I leave for Colorado tonight.

It was your typical last day of work, lots of hugs and handshakes. And for me, lots of work. My last day at any job is always a pretty hectic one. I actually had code to write.

BC and I talked for a time too. it was good. I like being a sounding board for ideas. I can tell he’s really trying too, which gives me hope for the state of IT for Argent. I was able to give him some feedback I’ve been meaning to give, so I feel better about that. I hope our conversation helps.

The Denver DataCenter is still an option as well, which is nice. BC assured me I had a spot in the organization if I wanted to come back.

All in all it was good. I’ll miss most of them.

Change Management… ARG

First things first. Backpack fucking rocks!! I’ve been using it to take notes where ever I am on topics I’d like to write about. Now I just gotta write about them. Here’s a rough draft of an essay I’m working on about Change Management in the Enterprise.

Change Management professionals have value… Everyone in the enterprise has value. They keep (in theory) developers out of the production environment. Which is good. As much as I like dropping a quick fix in on the fly, I don’t want that responsibility on my head. No developer in their right mind should. If it hasn’t happenned already, give it time, we all slip up and when developers have production rights, those slip ups can cause serious problems

This isn’t to say that CM is just as capable, if not more so of fragging up the works in production. Quite the contrary in my experience. But that’s a matter of training and culture.

It’s all about the benjamins, yo!

Recently I’ve noticed an alarming trend among the CM people at my office. They’re inefficient. Actually they are beyond inefficient, they’re slow and mostly incompetant. They take hours to complete any task. Tasks that they would historically spend hours on, have been canned into 20 minute processes. The key, that I have found… they’re contractors. It’s financially beneficial to be slow and inefficient. Every hour it takes to complete a build request and deploy code to INT, is money in their pockets. I can’t say I blame them, money moves us all (though for teh record, as a consultant, I’ve never billed for a mistake I made. Fixing my errors has always come out of my own time). This phenominon isn’t limited to the CM people at my office, or even to CM people. It’s everywhere. For reasons I can’t fathom, large companies hire contractors, who (in my experience) take much longer to complete tasks than their salaried counterparts. On top of this, most companies keep these models of innefficiency around well beyond a year. Often several years. A year is often the magic cut off for contractors. Keeping a contractor less than a year is cheaper than keeping a salaried employee the same amount of time.

The rules apply to everyone.

Recently one of our CM people made the call that application X was broken. Our latest build package had bad code. Without consulting development, he chose to “fix” the problem by taking a zip file he was given as a one time solution and apply it this time. The code in this file was old production code. He was “fixing” cert. In the strictest sense of the word, he did indeed fix cert. Application X was working. Of course it was working like old production code, so the functionality that was to be tested wasn’t present. Long story short, and believe me, it’s a long story. He broke two key tenants of the CM process.

  1. Don’t deploy code without a build request
  2. Don’t act without technical input. CM is not development.

By breaking the rules that they have strictly enforced on development CM, illustrated that they are no better at being the gatekeepers than developers are… at least developers know the system the are keeping the gate for.

Code pushing monkeys

I know this sounds harsh, but CM really is nothing more than code pushing monkeys. Yes, they can be more than that. They can be much more. Most seem content to not be all they can be though. Most seem happy being, “warm bodies” and nothing more. CM has the potential to regulate the flow of applications moving toward production. They can be the gatekeepers and keymasters.

Why do they stumble? I don’t know, it seems to be an enterprise culture type of thing. CM seems to infest an organization, grow in number, then stop. They become road blocks, or worse even, detours in the abyss. They’re not developers (wouldn’t that be nice if they were?!), they’re not technical in most cases. They deploy code. They copy zip files. They send emails asking DBAs to run scripts. They send emails asking infrastructure people to bounce servers. That is what CM does.

One day the enterprise will realize this, and the era of “Change Mangement” as we know it will be over.

I’ll clean it up a bit soon, expound on some thoughts, add some new ones. This is version one. But you can see where I’m going with it.

Not there yet?

I’ve been on a pretty high profile project for the last few months. My involvement is on and off, as my component is not all that involved. Some Changes to some CFCs, some modifications of the display pages, not much really.

On the other end, to support my efforts, a lot is needed, new Web Services, new Oracle Stored procedures.

The wrinkle, and source of my rant is that just one build (actually inbetween this build and the last one) we rolled out new pipeline logic, a small M&E project that went from one week to four months…. another story altogether.

In rolling out that last pipeline enhancement the business owner allowed us to slide on some missing data, in the promise that we’d deliver on the next build (tomorrow). In the mean time, we had one person working on the stored procs to fill in the missing data, and another person (knit wit) working on the new version of the pipeline code for this latest project, which by the way coincidentally involved updating the pipeline yet again.

Soooooooo I’ve been telling all parties for the last, oh I don’t know, month or so at least that the two efforts need to merge, as the performance enhanced procs for this latest project won’t return the correct data with out the modifications made for the last build. Does anyone listen to the lowly Web Developer? No of course not. And because the E! integration on this project is much more hairy and gross, the architect and technical project manager are more concerned with that aspect. Leaving me to be ignored completely.

Today, the day before the build (I’m out sick) people start wondering what will happen when the web code goes live and such… mmm I wonder! If it wasn’t for my efforts and the Java Developer I am working with, we’d be up shit creek, that’s for sure. He’s been as on top (if not more so) of things as I have, in the absence of any interest from our architect or technical PM…

And I’m not qualified to be an architect… I know more about the system than anyone else. I know the needs of the business, I know the interactions needed. The enterprise architecture team at my office, really needs to either pay attention to web projects, or get some architects that know web development.

Upgrades Complete… mostly

first things first. upgrade mostly complete. Comments no worky… Should have that fixed tonight.

On to more pressing matters. Aside of the great Flex class we’ve been taking this week, work is really working my last nerve.

CM as a whole needs to be shot. Stay tuned for an essay I’m going to post up. It’s been rolling around in my head and now that I have my handy backpack, i can jot notes any time and pretty much any place… as long as I have my crackberry.

Where to begin

Life has been really fucking hectic lately.

TO got written up. That sucks.

I’ve been pretty busy with my “1 week M&E Project”, turned 4 month ordeal. Well it goes live tonight. I worked until 7pm last night, 6:30pm tonight. I don’t mind putting in the long hours when needed, but until we move closer to our work, it really sucks putting in thatĀ  kind of time and effort for little or no appreciation.

On the plus side, I think my bosses boss is seeing my value, which means a lot to me. We’ll see. They have very little time to do right by me, pretty much as long as it takes me to find somewhere else where I can grow. So the race is on. I’m half hoping that current job steps up and does the right thing, after all it’s our motto.

It takes 10 years?!?!?

Towards the end of the day today AP got into a conversation with TB and TO. The best part was when AP says, getting streamlined with the kinds of processes we’re trying to put into place takes 10 years or so. “We’re doing pretty good after only one.”

What a load of crap. It’s unlikely AP has ever worked anywhere for that long, or even worked anywhere that’s spent 10 years implementing a Change Management and source code control process. SInce a place that takes that long is unlikely to make it to 10 years.

I’ll be the first to agree that change takes time and that for us there’s a lot of culture changes that need to take place, but 10 years. What a load of crap.

Of course this comes from the guy with a contractor mentality to his work. Make it hard for anyone else to know what I’m doing to ensure I am impossible (perceived) to replace. He seems to thwart the process at every turn, doing CMs job for them, still doing release notes, not forcing them to call the developer on support that weekend, not making them call the teams who need to fix the problem, essentially hand holding the CM team on a daily basis.

Well he can keep doing it sinceĀ I have plenty of life I’d like to lead on the weekends, he can sacrifice his. I wonder if he thinks he’s still hourly?