Thursday, October 28, 2004

I've enjoyed working at OSAF for the past eight months and I'm starting to understand why. We're nice but we're not losers.

We shipped a minor release this month - the 0.4 release of Chandler. The release date of October 26 was picked months ago, as was a candidate set of workflows and other tasks to achieve. We met our release date, partly by making some minor cuts to the feature set (though we still reached the overall goal of having something experimentally usable or demoable), partly by working professionally towards common goals. Even better, we did it without panic, without yelling at each other, without having sales presell the release (heh heh -- no sales). We didn't make developers stay all night. We didn't have unpleasant meetings. We didn't demonize anybody for their bug counts. And we still managed to release on a schedule.

I don't want to get too deep into how we did it (one could write a book), but it had a lot to do with honesty and trust. Maybe when the stakes and egos are high it's too easy to fool oneself into believing ridiculous schedules. I'd like to think our transparency (it's all out there on the wiki helped us be honest with ourselves and communicate potential problems early.

It's nice to have confirmation that it's possible to reach high goals and still be sane.


Anonymous said...

You might not want to imply that your ex-co-workers are losers or not nice, you know. I mean, they might be reading this. Just at thought.

Lisa said...

Well, I did mean to imply that some ex-co-workers were not nice. The atmosphere in Exchange 2000 was often not nice, and Exchange 2000 still slipped big-time. Other ex-co-workers have been nicer but worked on pragmatic, lower-goal projects (and still sometimes slippage occurred). The complexity is such that simply slipping software ship dates is not sufficient reason to call people losers.

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