BOFH: BOFH vs Bot: Ultimate Smackdown
Sacrifice is nice
I love these quiet moments before the storm.
Well, technically speaking, it’s between storms, but the fact remains that there’s a certain amount of solace in not actually being in a storm at this point in time.
In these calm periods my mind enters a peaceful, dreamlike state where I find my thoughts drifting in anticipation to a utopian-like existence where I’m blowing creatures away in Duke Nukem Forever while The Blue Nile’s next album plays in the background...
Peaceful. Calm. Musical.
“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!!!!”, the Boss shouts,
And back to reality...
So the PFY and I are trapped on a landing between floors while a couple of mutant security robots block our exit from above and below. To make matters worse the Boss has inadvertently blundered into the stairwell with us and narrowly avoided being turned into rough-cut schnitzel. The same cannot be said for his briefcase however...
It’s looking bad for us. Being trapped in a stairwell over the weekend by two vicious chainsaw wielding robots pales in comparison to being trapped in a stairwell over the weekend by two vicious chainsaw wielding robots while the Boss recounts the high points of his five year project to build an eighth scale replica of Stirling’s Victoria locomotive.
“What I don’t understand” the PFY says, before the Boss can get started “is how the second robot went bananas?”
“Easy” I reply “Your ‘advanced learning neural’ crap appears to have enabled your robot to learn how to make other mutants like itself. You know, like vampires, zombies and Facebook users.”
“Yes, that was perhaps a bit of a d-”
“Don’t say design flaw” I snap, a little jaded with that particular excuse. “A design flaw is omitting reinforcing between the rear panel and gas tank of a consumer vehicle - which might eventually kill you. Designing a robot whose ultimate purpose is eventually to become so intelligent that it will kill you is something else altogether..,”
“Designing a..,” the Boss blurts,
“I...,” the PFY interrupts,
“No, it’s fine! At this point recrimination is not helping us in any way. We need to address our current situation. We’re trapped by robots with no simple method of escape,”
“My cell phone battery is flat,” the PFY adds,
“...and mine is on my desk. The overpowered cattle prod appears to have suffered some form of internal meltdown and the pinch is completely discharged,”
“The remote control for the building power isn’t working” the PFY says, pressing repeatedly at a button on a small black box on his key ring.
“In short,” I say, “It’s time to face facts. Technology, like a poorly trained Alsatian, has turned on us.”
“No!” the PFY gasps
“Yes.” I respond. “This isn’t some randomly coincidental sequence of events – this is fate. For too long we have neglected the power of technology and taken it for granted – at our own peril. The Gods of Technology are angry. They require...”
“Human sacrifice!!!” the PFY says.
Actually, he doesn’t say that at all. He just thinks it.
I know, because I’m thinking it too.
The Boss, on the other hand, is probably thinking about the Onion Bhajis on the lunch menu.
“Exactly” I say. I mean, think.
The PFY nods.
“At times like this,” I say to the Boss, “I like to ask myself what MacGyver would do?”
“Oh yeah!” the Boss says, “fabricate something from whatever materials are available to solve the current problem.”
“Exactly!” I respond, “We need to use whatever we can lay our hands on to help us divert the attention of the robots until such time as we can lay our hands on a more suitable solution,”
“Like an axe,” the PFY adds,
“What do you propose?”
“Well firstly, like MacGyver we need to take an inventory of the raw materials available to us,”
“Oh, ok. Well I have a... disposable lighter, a little credit card torch/knife combo, and two.. aspirin. Not a lot really,”
“Well obviously, like MacGyver, we’re limited in the raw materials available to us – however this may not necessarily be a limitation because his real talent was in recognising the potential of raw materials when he saw them. Now tell me, are you particularly attached to the lighter, card or aspirin?”
“Not really, why?”
“I’m simply asking because like in MacGyver it is inevitable that we will have to damage the raw materials to create the solution we need”.
“I see,” the Boss nods. “Fair enough.”
“So,” I say. “Are we agreed that if we’re going to get out of this, it’s time for each of us to make individual sacrifices?”
“Yes”, the PFY says.
Half an hour, several sturdy blows with an axe and one ambulance call later..
“You know, I’m not completely sure the Boss realised that he was the individual we were talking about sacrificing” the PFY says
“Management” I sigh “There’s some things you can’t explain to them, no matter how clearly you put it..”
PRINCE2 exam pass != good project manager
Could you close the door, please. I think a manager's escaped.
My tuppenceworth on PRINCE2 - I've had PRINCE2 under my belt for the last ten years and am also a techie. I think the problem is not PRINCE2 per se, but the prevalence of keen young brats who pass the exam and completely fail to realise that to make a halfway decent project manager, you have to understand what you're dealing with. That goes double in IT.
I've seen the same two mistakes made over and over again by young eager beavers with their metal PRINCE2 certificates hung proudly above their desks:
1. The central question in PRINCE2 is this - "how extensively should this process be applied on this project?" Nine out of ten cluebies ignore this or get it completely wrong because they don't understand it. Or worse, their lack of experience leads them to escalate silly little issues up to the project board, who then demand status reports, presentations, risk assessments, risk assessments, risk assesments and risk assessments. DId I mention risk assessments? The end result is senior management trying to "add value" <spit, spit> to something they are chronically incapable of understanding. And as shit only flows downhill, it's the poor sods in the development teams who get the flak.
2. And the next big cock-up is failing to define the stages properly. Or worse, breaking the final product down into things that can only be delivered in stages by introducing silly workarounds or weeks of wasted effort all because green PMs can't say no to the gobshite on the project board who calls himself Senior User.
Oh, and using Microsoft Project for planning. Epic fail, that one. IMHO, of course :-)
Let's face it, all managers are shit. Good ones are like rocking-horse shit - very, very rare and worth considerably more than their weight in gold. Bad ones are like dog shit - you need to watch your step every inch of the way because if get too close the smell will follow you around for a very long time.
And I'm also a manager. At least that's what they call me. I hate it. Team leading a group of top-notch techies I can handle. The management game? Yuk.
Don't Mess with IT Bods and Mods for they do GOD and Miracles before you've even scoffed Breakfast
">Its simple really, as the old saying goes it is better to seek forgiveness than permission.
Might work for naughty children but when you have a client who stands to lose millions per hour if something doesn't work you'll find people less forgiving." .... Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 13th November 2010 18:36 GMT
That renders to one extraordinary personal leverage, AC, as it would indicate that the client, whilst in need of the service provided, has no idea as to the mechanics of ITs dDelivery, making their leading position a compromised phantom figment of their imagination and BS blustering.
Strangely enough, I couldn't help and/or stop myself thinking there of Steve "Nail down the Chairs" Ballmer and the cracked and crazed Windows platform. It must have been because of the programming I received from one of his star turns/class acts/executive performances ..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
And with regard to "Oh how wrong you are, I know how to add up quite large numbers but, I will concede, only to two decimal places." everyone here on El Reg knows that for success beyond even the wildest of imaginings, one only needs AIMastery of the Mystery that has Binary Digits converting Reality into Digital CodeXSSXXXX for Virtual Presentation of Ternary Projects in Media Promotions ..... Special Operations in Astute ProgramMING.
"You lot need to remember BOFH is fiction which takes the popular subordinates viewpoint and exaggerates it out of proportion, it is not real life." ..... Oh please, you cannot be serious. What have you been smoking?
Leave IT to the XPerts .... or Perish.
I really shouldn't partake of the BOFH. But what the heck, a little bit of what you fancy does you good, and I don't see any government health and wealth warnings ....... not that they would be heeded, anyway given the parlous state of the nation, which is a reflection of past inglorious bastards personal failings.
Hit us again, Simon, for the sheer pleasure and hell of IT. :-)