Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Pony and The Dog

One of the tasty items on my plate in the relatively near future is a trip out to the Left Coast for a little demo for the NHL at their 2010 Draft.

The term Dog and Pony show has always been one of my favorites- conjuring the image of a circus performance of a dog and a pony- and my involvement as one behind the scenes at this kind of performance...running like mad trying to accomplish the impossible as the spotlight is on the Pony and the Dog.

A few years back I came across a little scrap of poetry regarding software coding and the role of the Management (or Marketing in our case) and the Client as we attempt to make a living without going insane (or postal) that featured the Dog and the Pony quite prominently.

Deep in engineering down where mortals seldom go,
A manager and customer come looking for a show.
They pass amused among us, and they sign in on the log.
They've come to see our pony and they've come to see our dog.
Three things you should be wary of,
A new kid in his prime,
A man with all the answers,
And a code that runs first time.
Summoned from our cubicles to conference room we go.
We bring our dog and pony for we know they'll want a show.
Watching as we enter with a shifty restless eye,
The customer sits waiting in his pinstripe suit and tie.
Three things never trust in,
That's the vendor's final bill,
The promises your boss makes,
And the customer's good will.
The pony kicks his heels up as the doggie does his trick,
And hands are waved with vigor as we lay it on real thick.
The customer just watches as we do this song and dance,
Then reaches for his briefcase, only giving us a glance.
Three things see no end,
A loop with exit code done wrong,
A semaphore untested,
And the change that comes along.
From briefcase then there comes a list of things we must revise,
And all but four within the room are taken by surprise,
And all but four are thinking of their last job with remorse;
The customer, the manager, the doggie, and the horse.
Three things hold no secret;
Files that somehow hit the net,
Your boss's secretary,
And the third thing I forget.
First twenty-one new features that somehow we must add in.
Then thirty-seven changes show up, much to our chagrin,
And this thing's just inadequate, and that one's just plain wrong,
And by the way, your schedule is about three months too long.
Three things it is better far that
Only you should know,
How much you're paid, the schedule pad,
And what is just for show.
The customer proceeds to go through each change line by line.
Excruciating detail which no logic can divine.
When it ends there's only four not sitting there agog;
The customer, the manager, the pony and the dog.
Three things never anger,
First the one who runs your deck,
The one who does the back-up,
And the one who signs the check.
Now we are contract software types who spend our days and nights,
Embedded in the system down with all the bits and bytes,
And none but us can tell full well the damage done today.
It's what they do not know for which they're gonna have to pay.
Three things are most perilous,
Connectors that corrode,
Unproven algorithms,
And self modifying code.
The manager and customer are quick to leave this bunch,
They take the dog and pony and they all go out to lunch.
Now how will we revenge ourselves on those who raise our ire?
Write code that self destructs the day the warranties expire.
Three things trust above all else;
Your knowledge of your craft,
That someone makes a profit,
And that you will get the shaft.

Copyright ©1988 Duane Elms- All Rights Reserved


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