• moz (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Dragos (unregistered) in reply to moz

    I especially like the moderation feud taking up half the thread, and the ending offers on escorts in Shanghai.

  • ObiWayneKenobi (cs)

    Still a hilarious story. This is why ex-military shouldn't ever be allowed to manage people. They seem to have these crazy ideas and run things like a dictatorship instead of like human beings.

  • belzebub (unregistered)

    There's nothing wrong with "military-style" management, provided there are some similarities between military service and your company's field of business - if your company does some physical labour, where workers don't have to think too much, you may actually do get more done as you pour in more grunts. It may work for cleaners, construction workers, gardeners, etc. Whenever this doesn't apply (like in IT developement), using "military-style" management fails horribly. But I wouldn't condemn it completely.

  • anonymous_coder() (unregistered)

    Funny thing is, I actually took military leadership classes in Navy ROTC. They actually talk about the failures of the screaming martinet, and how to motivate technical staff when you are not technical. But then again, the Navy has been dealing with tech geeks since the first steam ships...

    I swear this sounds like a system I helped deploy for Greyhound with a whole bunch of DHS money. Commodity cell phones, commodity GPS receivers, web tracking interface, went through a few hardware revisions? Based out of Texas?

  • Vlad Patryshev (unregistered)

    This is beautiful. It epitomizes a lot of quirks one encounters even in more or less normal companies.

  • Matt Westwood (cs)

    Oh but it's true As we went warp factor 2 And I met all of the crew Where's Captain Quirk?

  • Zylon (cs) in reply to Vlad Patryshev
    Vlad Patryshev:
    This is beautiful. It epitomizes a lot of quirks one encounters even in more or less normal companies.
    This comment is beautiful. It epitomizes the sort of utterly vague post that can be reused verbatim for any article.
  • The Kernel (unregistered)

    EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: We have had numerous reports of TDWTF staff slacking off because it's a holiday in some places. Holidays are no longer considered okay to just post some old article on front page again. People have to work on holidays, and this website should be no different. As such, from now on you will need to be at your computer, started up, and ready to go at exactly 0800 hours each and every morning Monday through Friday. This will give you plenty of time to come up with a carefully crafted, clever article to put on the front page. Those posting old articles in an attempt to have something up to take the rest of the day off on holidays WILL BE DEALT WITH ACCORDINGLY.

    --The Kernel

  • Coyne (cs) in reply to moz
    moz:
    How curious. Mark didn't mention when this was previously posted. Anyway, most of the good comments were made in 2008.
    I resent that. I'm quite certain we can create a whole new set of comments for any re-posting, that contain some at least as good as those made for the original posting.

    I suppose this one doesn't count, though.

  • Fkae Nagesh (unregistered)
    kuirq:
    There was just one caveat: since computer code caused the problem in the first place, adding more computer code would likely exacerbate the problem. They needed a solution that didn’t call for any programming to deal with the bad data.
    Pls don't send teh codes.

    Thanks.

  • Captain Oblivious (unregistered) in reply to belzebub
    belzebub:
    There's nothing wrong with "military-style" management, provided there are some similarities between military service and your company's field of business - if your company does some physical labour, where workers don't have to think too much, you may actually do get more done as you pour in more grunts. It may work for cleaners, construction workers, gardeners, etc. Whenever this doesn't apply (like in IT developement), using "military-style" management fails horribly. But I wouldn't condemn it completely.

    Military style management works for nearly all fields, assuming that the people being managed are trained to be disciplined, responsible, and pro-active. If they go in to work with a "it's just a job" attitude, then the bosses will become frustrated very quickly. The bosses, being bosses, will take perks away until they get what they want.

    On the other hand, the Colonel's lack of understanding of the development life-cycle was a major problem. Obviously, a nobody can optimize a process if they don't know what they're optimizing.

  • Subroutine (unregistered) in reply to The Kernel
    The Kernel:
    --The Kernel

    Brillant!

  • summerian (unregistered) in reply to Captain Oblivious
    Captain Oblivious:
    belzebub:
    Whenever this doesn't apply (like in IT developement), using "military-style" management fails horribly. But I wouldn't condemn it completely.

    Military style management works for nearly all fields, assuming that the people being managed are trained to be disciplined, responsible, and pro-active. If they go in to work with a "it's just a job" attitude, then the bosses will become frustrated very quickly. The bosses, being bosses, will take perks away until they get what they want.

    I'd like to see agile military-style software development.

  • Freddy-Bob (unregistered)

    TRWTF is using a desk calculator while working in Excel.

  • ctw (unregistered) in reply to Subroutine
    Subroutine:
    The Kernel:
    --The Kernel

    Brillant!

    Yeah, that reminded me of Paula too.

  • Meep (unregistered) in reply to ObiWayneKenobi
    ObiWayneKenobi:
    Still a hilarious story. This is why ex-military shouldn't ever be allowed to manage people. They seem to have these crazy ideas and run things like a dictatorship instead of like human beings.

    The whole notion that everyone in the military is marching everywhere they go is a product of Hollywood. It's not remotely that strict even in a combat arms unit, and it's far more laid back when you're actually deployed. I had the good fortune of having a lot of good NCOs and officers, and you'd find they would challenge you, and you'd work hard but have a great time.

    Now, many NCOs and officers just plain suck as leaders for various reasons, the big one being that it's a fairly rare talent. And they may clamp down to cover up their own shortcomings as The Colonel did. But, the way the military is structured, if you suck at leading, you will be put in staff positions where you can do less harm.

    The takeaway is this: If you're ever considering a prior service, check their resume. If all of the positions were staff, that means your candidate didn't have the chops to lead soldiers. Don't be surprised if they make a shitty manager.

  • Meep (unregistered) in reply to belzebub
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Meep
    Meep :
    The military is a separate culture, and the military's leadership structure is heavily influenced by everyone involved having a common culture and at least understanding a common set of values. You just don't do that in a private firm

    HR have a set of company values, making developers listen or care about them is a different story.

  • Romojo (unregistered)

    Sounds like the Colonel got caught by the WISCA and WIMP issues.

    As in, "Why isn't Sam coding anything?" and "Why isn't Mary programming?".

    All credit to 'Code Complete'

    Captcha - haero. The 'are you there' call of a toothless person down a well shaft.

  • eh what? (unregistered)

    Why do you need a desktop calculator when you have an excel spreadhseet>?

  • robbak (cs) in reply to eh what?
    eh what?:
    Why do you need a desktop calculator when you have an excel spreadhseet>?
    Because formulas is code and code is what got us into this mess. Haven't you been listening?

    (No, I don't want to know how a calculator works.)

  • Decius (unregistered) in reply to Meep
    Meep:
    The military manages schools, airports, intelligence gathering, fairly large databases, and every single post is basically a little city run by the military. The idea that it only works for physical labor is just stupid. Christ, the Navy manages nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines, and the Air Force can do mid-air refueling.

    The Navy couldn't wipe its own ass if their grunts were permitted to seek other employment, and neither could the Air Force. Military management styles only work if retention isn't a priority at all, most often because the job market blows chunks.

    That said, there are a lot of former military officers who learned enough about leadership to avoid the military style.

  • in the bag (unregistered)

    He should have waited until he had a new job in the bag before bringing the bag to his desk.

  • WtfIsACheck (unregistered) in reply to Freddy-Bob
    Freddy-Bob:
    TRWTF is using a desk calculator *while working in Excel*.

    A calculator does what you want when you hit that = key.

    Excel will force you to enter a formula first. Or if you use it's Autosum/Autoaverage... feature, it is guaranteed to pick the wrong cells. It will hide decimals. It will deceive you via coworkers who value presentation of their tables more than reusable values.

  • fa2k (unregistered) in reply to in the bag
    in the bag:
    He should have waited until he had a new job in the bag before bringing the bag to his desk.
    we never learned what the items were.. may have been a dog or a baby
  • lolwtf (cs) in reply to WtfIsACheck
    WtfIsACheck:
    Freddy-Bob:
    TRWTF is using a desk calculator *while working in Excel*.

    A calculator does what you want when you hit that = key.

    Excel will force you to enter a formula first. Or if you use it's Autosum/Autoaverage... feature, it is guaranteed to pick the wrong cells. It will hide decimals. It will deceive you via coworkers who value presentation of their tables more than reusable values.

    It will round 65536 up to 100000.

  • Watson (cs) in reply to summerian
    summerian:
    Captain Oblivious:
    belzebub:
    Whenever this doesn't apply (like in IT developement), using "military-style" management fails horribly. But I wouldn't condemn it completely.

    Military style management works for nearly all fields, assuming that the people being managed are trained to be disciplined, responsible, and pro-active. If they go in to work with a "it's just a job" attitude, then the bosses will become frustrated very quickly. The bosses, being bosses, will take perks away until they get what they want.

    I'd like to see agile military-style software development.

    Coding the SAS way.

  • Mr. A N Mouse (unregistered) in reply to summerian

    I write mil/aero software, where we have to dot all i's and cross all t's from the detailed specifications, created from the detailed user requirements. The new boss wants to bring in Agile development. Await an article describing the bloodbath!

  • Mike L (unregistered)

    Damn - and to think I wasted all that time debugging code! I should have just followed the Colonels lead and never made a mistake!

  • trololo (unregistered)

    Don't know why but after reading this article, DJ Fresh - Gold Dust came into my mind :

    "There's no place to hurt yourself The fight - I'm gonna get it Tallest running for me Baby, you're gonna regret it I can't understand why you can't free yourself, let it

    Go, go, go, go

    Got you in my Palm, now listen good, you can't escape it Bring you to ma world and hold you, see if you can take it Don't you be afraid, I know you're strong enough to make it

    Go, go, go,

    .........

    You keep runnin' and you're runnin' And you're runnin' and you're runnin' away, away, away, boy You keep runnin' and you're runnin' And you're runnin' and you're runnin' away, away, away You keep runnin' and you're runnin' And you're runnin' and you're runnin' away, away, away, boy You keep runnin' and you're runnin' And you're runnin' and you're runnin' away

    Go, go, go"

  • camelotbob (unregistered) in reply to moz
    Comment held for moderation.
  • ereh-emaNrouY (unregistered) in reply to belzebub
    belzebub:
    It may work for cleaners, construction workers, gardeners, etc.

    Anyone else read "gardeners" as "grenadiers?"

    I also find it interesting when 12 staff quit on you in one maneuver, his response is to tighten the fist. Naturally, 8 more squeezed out.

    I was at a company and I was the first to resign over some belt tightening (which was only the latest in a tense environment). Another coworker resigned a week later, and the belt was loosened a little bit. It was a fine company, even with the micromanaging owner-boss. Still, it was time for me to move on to better paying jobs.

  • xaade (cs) in reply to summerian
    summerian:
    Captain Oblivious:
    belzebub:
    Whenever this doesn't apply (like in IT developement), using "military-style" management fails horribly. But I wouldn't condemn it completely.

    Military style management works for nearly all fields, assuming that the people being managed are trained to be disciplined, responsible, and pro-active. If they go in to work with a "it's just a job" attitude, then the bosses will become frustrated very quickly. The bosses, being bosses, will take perks away until they get what they want.

    I'd like to see agile military-style software development.

    It's called kick-yourself-in-the-***-ism.

  • Mr Ascii (unregistered) in reply to ereh-emaNrouY
    ereh-emaNrouY:
    It was a fine company, even with the micromanaging owner-boss. Still, it was time for me to move on to better paying jobs.
    I had an IT Manager who explained to me that his management style was micromanagement. Luckily he didn't last more than a year or so.
  • jay (unregistered) in reply to Decius
    Decius:
    Meep:
    The military manages schools, airports, intelligence gathering, fairly large databases, and every single post is basically a little city run by the military. The idea that it only works for physical labor is just stupid. Christ, the Navy manages nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines, and the Air Force can do mid-air refueling.

    The Navy couldn't wipe its own ass if their grunts were permitted to seek other employment, and neither could the Air Force. Military management styles only work if retention isn't a priority at all, most often because the job market blows chunks.

    That said, there are a lot of former military officers who learned enough about leadership to avoid the military style.

    Hmm. Here in the US we have a volunteer military, so retention certainly IS an issue. Yes, you have to sign up for a tour of duty, so you can't just quit whenever you like as in most private jobs. But a bad manager who drives people out will still causes staff losses, it just takes a little longer.

    I'm sure that a bad job market makes it easier to retain people despite bad management, but that would be true of a private company just as much as it would be true of the military.

  • jay (unregistered)

    Hmm, so the Colonel's strategy resulted in a high casualty rate while failing to achieve the objective, and his response was ... to continue to pursue the same strategy? Doesn't seem like such a good military leader to me. What, did he serve in World War I?

  • Jazz (unregistered) in reply to anonymous_coder()
    anonymous_coder():
    Funny thing is, I actually took military leadership classes in Navy ROTC. They actually talk about the failures of the screaming martinet, and how to motivate technical staff when you are not technical.

    So wait, the military HAS the technology to AVOID this sort of scream-until-it's-fixed approach, but they choose to NOT APPLY IT to the vast majority of their screamers?

    Facepalm...

  • herby (cs)

    One must remember ONE thing about the Military:

    The enlisted men are the ones doing the job. The officers are just along for the ride to direct the enlisted men.

    Don't think it is relevant? Look at the TV series MASH, where the draftees (Doctors were drafted as Captains, so they might as well be 'enlisted') were the ones doing the work and those who thought it was a career, were the ones along for the ride.

    The second "Hollywood" example is Kelly's Heroes. Give the grunts a goal, and THEY WILL DO IT.

  • Jazz (unregistered) in reply to Meep
    Meep:
    But, the way the military is structured, if you suck at leading, you will be put in staff positions where you can do less harm.

    I'm not sure that I would say that the guy responsible for the cleaning or cooking staff is doing "less harm" than the guy responsible for the pilots who fly drones and launch missiles at rescue workers. Unless you have a very narrow and skewed understanding of the word "harm."

  • Matt Westwood (cs) in reply to herby
    herby:
    One must remember ONE thing about the Military:

    The enlisted men are the ones doing the job. The officers are just along for the ride to direct the enlisted men.

    Don't think it is relevant? Look at the TV series MASH, where the draftees (Doctors were drafted as Captains, so they might as well be 'enlisted') were the ones doing the work and those who thought it was a career, were the ones along for the ride.

    The second "Hollywood" example is Kelly's Heroes. Give the grunts a goal, and THEY WILL DO IT.

    "Look at the TV series MASH, where the draftees (Doctors were drafted as Captains, so they might as well be 'enlisted') were the ones doing the work and those who thought it was a career, were the ones along for the ride."

    Get out of here! Hot Lips? Along for the ride? Hardly!

  • chubertdev (cs)

    "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

  • Nagesh (cs)

    what is this "Dicated but not read" nonsense?

  • Rod (unregistered)

    This reminds me of a place I used to work. There was a video camera at the elevator, and someone watching people arrive in the morning and return after lunch. If you arrived at 8:01, or returned from lunch at 1:01, your manager got a call before you could get back to your desk.

    My manager, of course, got a call when I arrived one day shortly after 9:00 am. His response was to inquire if they were also watching when I left at 7:00 am, after an all-night disaster recovery.

    The whole incident escalated into a major war within the company management. A couple of weeks later, the camera was removed.

  • jay (unregistered) in reply to herby
    herby:
    One must remember ONE thing about the Military:

    The enlisted men are the ones doing the job. The officers are just along for the ride to direct the enlisted men.

    Don't think it is relevant? Look at the TV series MASH, where the draftees (Doctors were drafted as Captains, so they might as well be 'enlisted') were the ones doing the work and those who thought it was a career, were the ones along for the ride.

    The second "Hollywood" example is Kelly's Heroes. Give the grunts a goal, and THEY WILL DO IT.

    So you present a thesis: Enlisted men do all the work; officers do not. Then you give an example as evidence. Except your example in fact contradicts your thesis, and so you dismiss YOUR OWN EXAMPLE with a glib "they might as well be enlisted".

    In any case, the two examples you give are not from the military. They are from Hollywood depictions of the military, which proves pretty much zero about the real military.

    Next up: I can prove that there is life on other planets. I saw it with my very own eyes, on Star Trek.

  • jay (unregistered) in reply to Jazz
    Jazz:
    Meep:
    But, the way the military is structured, if you suck at leading, you will be put in staff positions where you can do less harm.

    I'm not sure that I would say that the guy responsible for the cleaning or cooking staff is doing "less harm" than the guy responsible for the pilots who fly drones and launch missiles at rescue workers. Unless you have a very narrow and skewed understanding of the word "harm."

    Staff officers do not supervise the cleaning or cooking staff or anyone else. The definition of staff officer is that they have no supervisory responsibility -- other than maybe an assistant who is also a staff officer.

  • Omego2K (unregistered) in reply to Nagesh

    Means the memo was dictated by him, but he never read the dictation.

  • sascha (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Pauly You (unregistered) in reply to jay
    jay:
    Hmm. Here in the US we have a volunteer military, so retention certainly IS an issue.
    um, it's an 8 year obligation upon initial enlistment. Hardly the same retention issues.
  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to robbak
    robbak:
    eh what?:
    Why do you need a desktop calculator when you have an excel spreadhseet>?
    Because formulas is code and code is what got us into this mess. Haven't you been listening?

    (No, I don't want to know how a calculator works.)

    What the Colonel doesn't know won't hurt him, and the end result need not have any code in it (just save as .csv). Assuming he's not standing over my shoulder watching, I'd write the formulas. Some copy and paste, paste as values, delete the originals, save, move on to something more important (or goof off for long enough to make it seem like I finished such a herculean task very quickly).

    In fact, the WTF is that none of the developers was smart enough to say "oh, without any code? yeah, Excel can do that" and then do it and let the boss be blissfully ignorant of the details.

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