Anita parked outside the converted garage, the printed graphic reading Global Entertainment Strategies (GES) above it. When the owner, an old man named Brad, had offered her a position after spotting her in a student computer lab, she thought he was crazy, but a background check confirmed everything he said. Now she wondered if her first intuition was correct.

“Anita, welcome!” Brad seemed to bounce like a toddler as he showed Anita inside. The walls of the converted garage were bare drywall; the wall-mounted AC unit rattled and spat in the corner. In three corners of the office sat discount computer desks. Walls partitioned off Brad’s office in the fourth corner.

He practically shoved Anita into an unoccupied desk. The computer seemed to be running an unlicensed version of Windows 8, with no Office applications of any kind. “Ross can fill you in!” He left the office, slamming the door shut behind him.

“Hi.” Ross rolled in his chair from his desk to Anita’s. “Brad’s a little enthusiastic sometimes.”

“I noticed. Uh, he never told me what game we’re working on, or what platform. Not even a title.”

Ross’s voice lowered to a whisper. “None of us know, either. We’ve been coding in Unity for now. He hired you as a programmer, right? Well, right now we just need someone to manage our documentation. I suggest you prepare yourself.”

Ross led Anita into Brad’s office. Above a cluttered desk hung a sagging whiteboard. Every square inch was covered by one, sometimes several, overlapping sticky notes. Each had a word or two written in Brad’s scrawl.

“We need more than just random post-its with ‘big guns!’ and ‘more action!’” Ross said. “We don’t even know what the title is! We’re going crazy without some kind of direction.”

Anita stared at the wall of sticky notes, feeling her sanity slipping from her mind like a wet noodle. “I’ll try.”

Sticky Escalation

Brad, can we switch to Word for our documentation? It’s getting harder
to read your handwriting, and there’s a lot of post-its that have
nothing to do with the game. This will make it easier to proceed with
development. -Anita

Two minutes after she sent the email, Brad barged out of his office. “Anita, why spend thousands of dollars on software licenses when this works just fine? If you can’t do your job with the tools you have, what kind of a programmer does that make you?”

“Brad, this isn’t going to work forever. Your whiteboard is almost out of room, and you won’t take down any of your non-game stickies!”

“I can’t take any of them down, Anita! Any of them!” He slammed the door to his office behind him.

The next day, Anita was greeted at the door by the enthusiastic Brad she had met before the interview. “I listened to reason, Anita. I hope this is enough for you to finish this documentation and get coding again!”

Brad led Anita into his office. On every wall surface, over the door, even covering part of the floor, were whiteboards. Sticky notes dotted nearly a third of the new whiteboard space.

“Now, Anita, if I don’t see new code from you soon, I may just have to let you go! Now get to work!”

Anita went to sit at her desk, then stopped. Instead, she grabbed a bright red sticky note, wrote the words “I QUIT” with a sharpy, barged into Brad’s office, and stuck it to his monitor. Brad was too stunned to talk as she left the converted garage.

The Avalanche

“Are you doing better?” Jason called Anita a few weeks later. Their short time together at GES has made them comrades-in-arms, and networking was crucial in the business.

“Much,” she said. “I got a real job with an indie developer in Santa Monica. We even have a wiki for our framework!”

“Well, listen to this. The day after you quit, the AC unit in the garage broke. I came into work to see Brad crying in a corner in his office. All of the sticky notes had curled in the humidity and fallen to the floor. The day after he got us all copies of Word.

“Too bad we still don’t know what the title of the game is.”