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February 10, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Good Progress

More meetings today, which always seems to help my hands. So I don't mind them as much as some other people do. The early one went through all the bugs that were investigated earlier in the week and decided what we wanted to do with them and about them. Things seem to be under good control and everyone has a good idea of what risks are implied in changes, everyone from support and marketing through to engineering. That is an excellent balance, and one I haven't run into before in any company. It's a really good indicator to me that the company, as a whole, has a good idea what they are doing with software.

I spent the late morning in early afternoon fixing, testing, merging, retesting, and then publishing the fix to one of my bugs. At midafternoon we had a meeting with one of our field engineers on how he saw the new tool in what he thought still needed to be done. It is always reassuring to know that they can work with the system at a fundamental level and the fixes that they actually want our, more often than not, wholesale additions to the functionality. That I can deal with.

Afterwards, I talked with Jim until after five in a private conversation about what engineering needed more of in the determination process for the next release. We are starting to define the next release, with all the brainstorming, ideas, and strategy seeking that normally comes during that phase. The problem is many of us are in the release phase, which is extremely detailed, and sometimes it is hard to get back up to the strategic level that is necessary for trying to tell the future for the next year. So far, all we've seen from marketing has been at the detailed, feature list level, and I needed a better feel for the strategic forces behind things.

It was much, much, much better to just talk with him frankly and without any emotional loading before anything happened rather than being upset afterwards. This turned out to be very constructive and very useful rather than just blasting something.

Yes, I do not speak of specifics, and probably never will here. The problems themselves are generic enough to describe in these terms and still be far away from any insider information or proprietary information. I do deliberately pick the vocabulary and level of detail in order to stay out of trouble. But every software developer's life is going to be filled with bugs, code freezes, development dates, operating systems and their problems, release phases, and talking with marketing about where we want to go.

The evening was simple again. Dinner, John riding the bike, watching TV, and spinning more yarn before going to bed and sleeping.

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