Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Spoon feed me the spec...

I'm narked off, as you all may know I work in Software, I have received various different job titles around the place where I work, from "Technical Interface" to plain old "Developer", today I am a Software Engineer.

I make that use of "Engineer" for two reasons, firstly, because my degree says on it "Software Engineering" making me an engineer of software, not a developer or hacker, and I say engineer because I do actually think about, write down and design the software I'm putting together before I start to type.  Not doing so is not engineering, nor really is it developing or really hacking, its doing a hack job certainly, but its nothing useful at the end of the day.

So, what has me narked off you ask?  Well, today we have a fault report, this report had floated in from a customer and gone all around the houses (to about 9 different people) before one of these people came over to ask "hey you, man in the department this fault comes from, have you seen this?"... "Why no, I'm not on the e-mail list so I've no idea what you're showing me, show me, and I might know".

A simple situation and easily resolved, I got a copy of the customer complaint.  And took it at face value "I do A then B and it breaks"... fair enough... But looking at the system and the customer report, doing A then B did not make it break for us, doing B then A however made it go mental... "Oh" says I "that e-mail is a little off then, but we got it now, its B then A".

You're all still with me I hope... because here comes the part that made me angry... the person reporting the problem to me turned and said, in a really smart arsed voice "What do you want them to do, spoon feed you the information?"

Oh I was fuming, I said nothing, the guy knew he'd pissed me off, he left the area tout sweet.  I turned to my co-worker and asked "Is this a customer, or a site trial?".... Its a site trial....

So, yes I very fucking much do want a site trial to spoon feed me information, that's the fucking point of a fucking site trial.

What has all this got to do with my job description?  Well, you see, in order to get a software engineer to work on something they need to know there's a need for some work, they need to know of the problem, they need as much information as possible.  You don't just let a road engineer turn up and say to them "Now make a road", they need to know things... they need to know the specification.  This is a key tennant of working with an engineer.

But, it seems, when you're a Software Engineer, you should be some sort of mystic, able to descern from the most obscure conversation (never written information, always fucking conversation) just exactly what the customer wants.  Its like they think from pointing, nodding and grunting, we can invent system software to know they want to iron their shirts whilst they take a shit.

And today just examplified fantastically this dicotomy, not least because the wanker who was bemoaning my wanting more information, programs himself... Well when I say programs, he works in VB... need I say more?

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Why is this?  Is it because of "Breakout" or because he's dead?.. I don't think this is a deserved award at all.