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You wouldn't believe how crowded it's getting
in my new office -- I tried to set up my
laptop this morning but couldn't find a free
electrical socket to save my life.
I'm part of a team that is making the new
Japanese Panasonic Web site. The management
have been hiring a lot of new people recently
because the project is so far behind schedule,
but there's just no where to put the newcomers.
You have to cram yourself in where ever you
can find space, cheek and jowl to the suit-wearing
programmer beside you. Even now I'm writing
this post from a meeting table that I really
shouldn't be using as a work space, but what's
a guy to do?
The foreigners on the team, myself, a few
consultants from Blue Martini (the software
manufacture) and Accenture (the Web site
builder) are starting to show signs of frustration
at the way things are done around here. It's
not just an English mentality versus a Japanese
mentality either, all of the consultants
are from different countries, China, Taiwan,
Everyone means well, but the project couldn't
possibly be any more poorly organized. There
is no one, single person who has an overall,
comprehensive knowledge of the Web site that
we are trying to create. Every time you're
told to make something you have to go to
four different people to find out the information
that you need to complete your task, and
then when you finally manage to finish it,
a fifth person shows up and tells you how
what you did won't work because he forgot
to tell you about such and such a thing a
week ago when you started. Oh well, you gotta
say to yourself, time to start over.
Here's an example of the convoluted organization
on this project. Even though the Web site
is due to be finished in a few weeks, and
a lot of the code has already been written,
for some reason the management is now having
people retroactively write requirement statements.
Requirement statements are usually the first
thing done on a project, they are documents
that lay out exactly what the software/Web
site functionality is supposed to be, what
the customer expects it to do, and basically
how the developers are going to structure
the project. Up until now we haven't really
had any unified set of requirements, people
have been trying to move forward with vague,
ill defined expectations as to what their
code was supposed to do, and it was a painful
process that took literally about five times
longer than it should have. Ironically, now
that the majority of code has been written,
the management is having people scour through
it trying to figure out what it does so that
they can then write what they've discovered
and call that 'the requirements'.
I've never seen anything so bass ackwards
in my life....
Oh well, as the Japanese say, shoganai [that's life, you can't change it, so don't
stress over it].
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It's Saturday morning and I just got word
that I have to go back to Osaka for another
week. They want me to stay there longer,
but I was hesitant to commit. I want to be
back in Tokyo when Karen and Jack get home
from New Zealand, but I'm not sure if I'm
going to be able to. They're pretty desperate
in Osaka and there's a lot of pressure on
me to stay and help them.
I've been missing Jack... and Karen too,
of course, so I decided to have a 'Jack picture'
day here on Hunkabutta.
Isn't he just the happiest baby?
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I'm at work right now. As I said before,
the project is pretty hectic, but because
of the crappy way that things are organized
I'm waiting on various people to finish
work before I can proceed with mine.
I don't think that they're going to finish
on time. The site is suppose to go live in
about three weeks and there's just still
too much work left to do to even make that
a possibility. I don't know how the contractor
is going to explain the mess.
Everyone's working like crazy, last night
I left the office at 1:30 a.m. and I'll probably
do the same tonight. The problem is that
the project has been poorly organized and
ill defined from the beginning and now all
of these flaws are starting to produce major
I'm still having a great time though, doing
tons of programming and learning quite a
On Sunday I even found some time to go and
visit nearby Osaka castle, and today's pictures
are from that visit.
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I still haven't seen any of Osaka yet --
it's been three days now.
My hotel is across the street from my office
and I just go back and forth between the
two -- back and forth, back and forth.
The people on the project are friendly
easy going. I spend most of my 'social
i.e., lunch and dinner with two Accenture
consultants from Europe -- Paolo from
and Davy from Belgium.
I worked all day Saturday until 1:00 a.m.,
it's Sunday now, 1:25 p.m., and I'm just
getting ready to go back in. I figured I
treat myself and take the morning off and
do my hunkabutta stuff.
Just two more days and then it's back
Tokyo for the NinJava meeting and a