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I hate it when this happens...

Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14074
    
  16

I just spent three days inventing and writing some complicated code according to the specification document that I got from my client. I just showed the result to two guys (who wrote the specs), and now they discover that it is not what they intended. What I built was exactly according to what's described in the document, but only now they discover that what they wrote is not what they wanted...

So I can throw away what I have been working on for the past three days and they have to re-think the specifications, which I'll have to implement later.

Fortunately I'm not responsible, but I still hate it when I discover my work has been for nothing...


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Rajah Nagur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 06, 2002
Posts: 239
Be positive

Many things are not in our control. We should never worry for things that are not in our control.

What say?


You can't wake a person who is <b><i>pretending</i></b> to be asleep.<br />Like what <b>"it"</b> does not like - <i> Gurdjieff </i>
Gail Mikels
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 07, 2001
Posts: 634
Isn't this the definition of being a programmer?



Gail Mikels
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8805
    
    5
Did the specs you received make sense to you?

Did you discuss the specs before coding began?

One of my best friends was an attorney (I know, I know), and he once said to me - if people talked more I'd be out of work

Which reminds me...

How many lawyers does it take to shingle a roof?...









It depends on how thinly you slice them!


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11167
    
  16

Bert Bates wrote:One of my best friends was an attorney (I know, I know), and he once said to me - if people talked more I'd be out of work

My wife, a defense lawyer, says that if her clients talked LESS, her job would be much easier.

You have the right to remain silent. USE IT!!!


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14074
    
  16

Bert Bates wrote:Did the specs you received make sense to you?

Did you discuss the specs before coding began?

Yes, they made sense to me. The specification people know more about the business than I do, so most of the time I assume that what they write is really what they mean. I've been annoyed before by the specs being too vague and open for different interpretations. I have reviewed the spec document beforehand, and this part of the spec seemed to be clear. But now, when they see what I made, they discover that it's not what they had in their heads. It seems that what they had in their heads was also insufficiently thought through (i.e. contradicting itself), so they have to go back and think again what it is that they really want.

It's not a big disaster, but I just wanted to vent because this particular thing was quite complicated to write, so I was glad when I was done - that made it extra hard to discover that I did all that hard thinking for nothing...
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

I think you are describing the standard case. I used to hate it, but now I expect it.

This is what drives Rapid Prototyping. You get an idea of what they want, build it, and show it, they hate it, but now you can talk about "how about if I do X"
and iterate a few hundred times.

Of course, the downside of rapid prototyping is that you usually circle back to the same place a few times.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8805
    
    5
Hey Jesper -

If I came across as harsh - I apologize. I like to play "Be the application" with spec creators - in other words, I like to run through use cases with them and imagine how the app is supposed to work before coding begins. Of course, that doesn't always succeed... but I do like the line "iterate a couple of hundred times"
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Jesper Young wrote:I just spent three days inventing and writing some complicated code according to the specification document


Three days? And you are complaining?

The US FAA's AAS was a total failure.
"At $3.7 billion, the Advanced Automation System was one of the largest civilian computer contracts ever."
"The Advanced Automation System began, in concept, in 1981 and ended in 1994, “terminated for convenience” by the government. "

There were literally trailer trucks full of specifications.
Joachim Rohde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 27, 2006
Posts: 423

Somehow it's nice to hear that one is not alone.
But hey, three days? Consider yourself lucky. Two years ago I worked on a project for about five or six months, where I said from the very beginning, that no one will ever use this application. The reply of the customer: I also would never use this application, but the market demands(!) it! But how do you know that the market demands something if you are not making any research before? And how can you then know how the application should look like if not even you are willed to use it? Unnecessary to mention that only a few testers saw my work. Wasted lifetime. But as long as I'm getting paid, I'm still a code-whore (even though I know that will change after a few of more such projects).
Jelle Klap
Bartender

Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 1756
    
    7

Wow. So lobbing a formal specification of a complex system over the wall, without looking back once, expecting that what you'll end up with will perfectly match up with what you intended, doesn't actually work? Now that's plain shocking. I don't that's ever happend before in the history of software development.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Don Solomon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 48
Software development is an exercise in thinking not coding.


Coding takes 20% of your time. Managing customer/client expectations takes 80% of your time. The 80/20 rule will eliminate any surprises for both you and your client.


Software development is an exercise in thinking not coding.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Don Solomon wrote:Coding takes 20% of your time.

I agree with this spirit, but I think your numbers are off a bit. Coding is under 10%.
 
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