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Search - "accountability"
Client: Can you provide some kind of guaranteed timeline that you're going to be able to move our website to our new servers with the optimizations implemented? I know you said it should take a week, but we have 3 weeks to get this moved over and we cannot afford to be double billed. I'm waiting to fire up the new server until you can confirm.
Me: As I said, it SHOULD take about a week, but that's factoring in ONLY the modifications being made for optimization and a QA call to review the website. This does not account for your hosting provider needing to spin up a new server.
We also never offered to move your website over to said new server. I sent detailed instructions for your provider to move a copy of the entire website over and have it configured and ready to point your domain over to, in order to save time and money since your provider won't give us the access necessary to perform a server-to-server transfer. If you are implying that I need to move the website over myself, you will be billed for that migration, however long it takes.
Client: So you're telling me that we paid $950 for 10 hours of work and that DOESN'T include making the changes live?
Me: Why would you think that the 10 hours that we're logged for the process of optimizing your website include additional time that has not been measured? When you build out a custom product for a customer, do you eat the shipping charges to deliver it? That is a rhetorical question of course, because I know you charge for shipping as well. My point is that we charge for delivery just as you do, because it requires our time and manpower.
All of this could have been avoided, but you are the one that enforced the strict requirement that we cannot take the website down for even 1 hour during off-peak times to incorporate the changes we made on our testbed, so we're having to go through this circus in order to deliver the work we performed.
I'm not going to give you a guarantee of any kind because there are too many factors that are not within our control, and we're not going to trap ourselves so you have a scapegoat to throw under the bus if your boss looks to you for accountability. I will reiterate that we estimate it would take about a week to implement, test and run through a full QA together, as we have other clients within our queue and our time must be appropriately blocked out each day. However, the longer you take to pull the trigger on this new server, the longer it will take on my end to get the work scheduled within the queue.
Client: If we get double billed, we're taking that out of what we have remaining to pay you.
Me: On the subject of paying us, you signed a contract acknowledging that you would pay us the remaining 50% after you approved the changes, which you did last week, in order for us to deliver the project. Thank you for the reminder that your remaining balance has not yet been paid. I'll have our CFO resend the invoice for you to remit payment before we proceed any further.
I love it when clients give me shit. I just give it right back.6
Two days ago we had an hour and a half meeting on which projects to focus on, with the result being all seven are top priority. Because of course.
Last night I told my boss why an api he has me hitting always returns 401s; even gave him the line# responsible for the response (in his code). After an hour and sixteen minutes of him debugging, he finally admitted I might be right. zzz. This morning, he tells me it's on my end, and to ask someone else for their project's API code. The problem is that the server is not accepting the new application's key, since that key is not in the allowed list. That other project works just fine. Guess why? Their key has been whitelisted for months. But it's totally my code. Yeah. Bloody brilliant. 🔅
Anyway, today we're discussing "Winning with Accountability," a 100 page book that boils down to "do what you say you'll do, by when you said you'd do it, and take responsibility if you don't." But a huge part that the boss is stressing is: provide the exact date, time, and timezone of when things will be completed by. I mean That's fine for sales calls and reports and such trivial busywork. But dev projects? Not so much.
And that's been my past three days!
I am about to fire this client.
I can't take any more of this abject fucking stupidity.
I can't take any more sentence fragment responses to detailed questions and thorough responses.
I can't take any more expectations that I deliver consistent metadata and hundreds of pages of documentation, yet no one else has to do the same
I can't take any more rules only applying to/hamstringing me and my team
I can't take any more fucking gross incompetence and grossly undereducated shitfucks that get to send ridiculous bills and have 0 accountability while playing developer
I can't take any more obviously nepotistic and racist hiring that walks back every step of progress we've made in the last 50 years
I can't take not being able to call a spade a spade and being the villain when there's obvious graft occuring at every level
I can't take these old fucks padding their retirements while rendering everyone else contractors and cutting off opportunity for future generations
I can't take how absurdly, blisteringly stupid the business people are, or the fact that one average project managers with a recent PMI cert somehow bills what I do
I'm 100% going to drop dime on these fucks to every regulatory body they are beholden to, their investors, their corporate owners and USCIS, since I've already doxxed the shit out of all of my coworkers that don't remotely qualify for the positions they occupy.5
I raise my middle finger:
- to the past developers of this 4 year old piece of garbage project that we are maintaining, who thought that using StringBuffers to construct html documents as a Http response as a good idea
- to the bosses and managers, who keeps on giving unreasonable deadlines yet passes accountability to others.
I gave you all a Linus Torvalds style fuck you!!
That is it, I decided to resign
I need to vent or I'm going to fucking explode like a car filled with bombs in motherfucking Iraq...
A couple of months ago I inherited a project in development from our team leader who was the sole developer on it and he was the one who designed every single thing in it.
I was told the project is clean, follows design patterns, and over all the code is readable and easy.
Those were all fucking lies.
See throughout the period he was working on it, I saw some of the code as it was going through some pull requests. I remember asking the dev why he doesn't comment his code? His response was the most fucking condescending shit I've ever heard: "My code is self-documenting"...
Now that I have full control over the code base I realize that he over engineered the shit out of it. If you can think of a software design pattern, it is fucking there. I'm basically looking at what amounts to a personal space given to that dev to experiment with all kind of shit.
Shit is way too over engineered that I'm not only struggling to understand what the hell is going on or how the data flows from the database to the UI and in reverse, I'm now asked to finish the remaining part and release it in 8 weeks.
Everything is done in the most complicated way possible and with no benefits added at all.
Never in my career have I ever had to drag my sorry ass out of bed to work because I always woke up excited to go to work... well except for the last 2 weeks. This project is now taking a mental toll and is borderline driving me crazy.
Oh, did i tell you that since he was the only dev with no accountability whatsoever, we DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT IS LEFT TO BE IMPLEMENTED?
The Project Manager is clueless.. the tickets board is not a source of truth because tickets set to resolved or complete were actually not even close to complete. FUCK THIS SHIT.
For the last week I've been working on 1 single fucking task. JUST 1. The whole code base is a mine field. Everything is done in the most complicated way and it is impossible for me to do anything without either breaking shit ton of other features (Loosely coupled my ass) or getting into fights with all the fucking libraries he decided to use and abuse.
1 whole week and I can't even get the task done. Everyday I have to tell the project manager, face to face, that I'm still struggling with this or that. It's true, but i think the project manager now thinks i am incompetent or just lazy and making excuses.
Maybe I'm not smart enough to understand the what and why behind every decision he made with this code. But I'm sick to my stomach now thinking that I have to deal with this tomorrow again.
I don't know if I'll make the deadline. But I'm really worried that when this is released, I'll be the one maintaining that nightmare of a code base.
From now on, if i hear a fucking developer say their code is "self-documenting" I will shove my dick + a dragon dildo + an entire razor gaming keyboard up their ass while I shoot their fucking knees off.
oh... and there are just a couple of pages of documentation... AND THEY ARE NOT COMPLETE.2
I know why group work sucked in school. It was a missed opportunity to teach project management and accountability. We’re almost always left to sort it out ourselves.
Running my own business is not going well. Hasnt for years now. Previous dev jobs were also just nightmares. I feel like i cant cut it as a freelancer, or as a full time dev. I do enjoy programming but my resume is crap and my worthwhile portfolio items are basically all locked down under NDAs or ambiguous accountability. I cant prove im even worth hiring and im almost too old to be considered for any junior role. Not that i think i could handle it. So im considering finding a new career and keeping coding as my hobby. But first i have to decide what to do about my remaining client. Which is fine because... i dont even know what i could do for a full time job now. Ugh, im so profoundly discouraged i dont even want to try and think about this anymore.
The weekly rant topic indirectly applies here but since its a bunch of self pity i decided it would be best to not tag it such...3
When Do You Stop Taking Responsibility?
Let me clarify by describing four scenarios in which you are tasked with some software development. It could be a large or small task. The fourth scenario is the one I'm interested in. The first three are just for contrast.
1. You either decide how to implement the requirements, or you're given directions or constraints you agree with. (If you hadn't been given those specific directions you probably would have done the same thing anyway.) **You feel accountable for the outcome**, such as whether it works correctly or is delivered on time. And, of course, the team feels collectively accountable. (We could call this the "happy path.")
2. You would prefer to do the work one way, but you're instructed to do it a different way, either by a manager, team lead, or team consensus. You disagree with the approach, but you're not a stubborn know-it-all. You understand that their way is valid, or you don't fully understand it but you trust that someone else does. You're probably going to learn something. **You feel accountable for the outcome** in a normal, non-blaming sort of way.
3. You're instructed to do something so horribly wrong that it's guaranteed to fail badly. You're in a position to refuse or push back, and you do.
4. You're given instructions that you know are bad, you raise your objections, and then you follow them anyway. It could be a really awful technical approach, use of copy-pasted code, the wrong tools, wrong library, no unit testing, or anything similar. The negative consequences you expect could include technical failure, technical debt, or significant delays. **You do not feel accountable for the outcome.** If it doesn't work, takes too long, or the users hate it, you expect the individual(s) who gave you instructions to take full responsibility. It's not that you want to point fingers, but you will if it comes to that.
That fourth scenario could provoke all sorts of reactions. I'm interested in it for what you might call research purposes.
The final outcome is irrelevant. If it failed, whether someone else ultimately took responsibility or you were blamed is irrelevant. That it is the opposite of team accountability is obvious and also irrelevant.
Here is the question (finally!)
Have you experienced scenario number four, in which you develop software (big as an application, small as a class or method) in a way you believe to be so incorrect that it will have consequences, because someone required you to do so, and you complied *with the expectation that they, not you, would be accountable for the outcome?*
Emphasis is not on the outcome or who was held accountable, but on whether you *felt* accountable when you developed the software.
If you just want to answer yes or no, or "yes, several times," that's great. If you'd like to describe the scenario with any amount of detail, that's great too. If it's something you'd rather not share publicly you can contact me privately - my profile name at gmail.com.
The point is not judgment. I'll go first. My answer is yes, I have experienced scenario #4. For example, I've been told to copy/paste/edit code which I know will be incomprehensible, unmaintainable, buggy, and give future developers nightmares. I've had to build features I know users will hate. Sometimes I've been wrong. I usually raised objections or shared concerns with the team. Sometimes the environment made that impractical. If the problems persisted I looked for other work. But the point is that sometimes I did what I was told, and I felt that if it went horribly wrong I could say, "Yes, I understand, but this was not my decision." *I did not feel accountable.*.
I plan on writing more about this, but I'd like to start by gathering some perspective and understanding beyond just my own experience.
company policy was to bill in 10 min increments to a contract whose deliverables you were executing on, this was federally mandated. they never told us where to bill the 5+ hours of meetings per week we had on "technology". every time i asked i was told i would be "gotten back to"4
Got stuck programming the accountability system for an entire State on my own because the IT shop basically refused to do any work. No help testing, no help debugging, no help with collecting and clarifying business rules, barely any help getting access to the data, and then after I had programmed the entire thing they paid a consulting company about 4xs what I was getting for them to port it to SQL and they still haven't gotten it right yet. Nothing like knowing that any mistakes in your code could cost multiple people their jobs to add some additional stress to the situation. It was actually the first time I ever experienced any physical symptoms from stress; and that includes the time when my convoy got attacked with a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Accountability Post: I'm 6 Lynda.com tutorials into a 17 tutorial set to rebuild my full stack skills and try to bring them to more current standards. Also looking at additional course paths but feeling a bit overwhelmed when I think of the time it will take just to get through them, let alone all the practice. I must do this, though, and more frequently, even, if I intend to successfully work in this same field for the next 21-ish years until I can retire.1