• Vilhelm (unregistered)

    My question is, "How did a 3 year old who always needs to be right and get his way, get to be the Chief Development Manager?"

  • Mr T (unregistered)

    My question is, "How did a 3 year old who always needs to be right and get his way, get to be the Chief Development Manager?"

    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.

  • frits (cs)

    Kudos to those developers for providing the Chief Development Manager with an easy scapegoat for his failed process.

  • Ike (unregistered) in reply to Mr T
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.
  • MyKey_ (cs)

    So the happy ending would have been: Chris quit and got a job at David's new employer and they all worked happily ever after...

  • frits (cs) in reply to Ike
    Ike:
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.

    Maybe he was little in the pants, which would explain a lot.

  • not.first (unregistered)

    Overpaid management making under thought out decisions, no!

    Captcha: commoveo - a drunken italian way of saying come over here.

  • ObiWayneKenobi (cs)

    Oh no the CDM is back! I remember this horror story from when it was published :(

    Typical windbag with no real tech experience but who thinks he knows what's going on.

  • Teocali (unregistered)

    Depressing ending... very depressing but it's comforting myself in my way of work : always use the "knife in back" method with people like this. I'm keeping he nice ways for the nice people. If you want to follow the rules with people like him, you will be f*** in the end...

  • akatherder (cs) in reply to Ike
    Ike:
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.

    Based on the context, I took it as little = petty.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/little

    1. contemptibly small, petty, mean, etc., or so considered: filthy little political tricks.
  • tgape (cs) in reply to Ike
    Ike:
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.

    He wore a tall hat?

  • Migala (unregistered) in reply to Teocali
    Teocali:
    Depressing ending... very depressing but it's comforting myself in my way of work : always use the "knife in back" method with people like this. I'm keeping he nice ways for the nice people.

    What's depressing about the guy finding a new job without a crappy boss? But I'm sure if you keep up that 'knife in back' method, you'll someday become Chief Development Manager.

  • Charles400 (unregistered)

    I've never met anyone with the title of "Chief Development Manager". For that matter, I've never met anyone that wanted a title such as that.

    Regards, Charles Chief Programming Manager

  • Dignissim (unregistered)

    TRWTF was not going over the manager's head after the first spat of verbal abuse, and resigning if it wasn't taken care of.

    Was anyone surprised by the outcome of this story?

  • Ali (unregistered)

    Genius recovery by the chief development manager. The poster-boy for IT management!

  • Plz Send Me The Code (unregistered)

    what is a 'bonus'?

  • dkf (cs) in reply to tgape
    tgape:
    Ike:
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.
    He wore a tall hat?
    Maybe he wore platform shoes to his interview.
  • Anonymous Coward (unregistered)

    This probably doesn't even have to be said, since it feels so obvious to me: I would've fired them too. I'dve fired each of the hundreds of developers. If they weren't smart enough to work around this insanity, how would they be able to program a damn thing? Give the PHB lipservice and then set up your own CM process. Once it's stable, show the guy how much it makes sense and make it easy and obvious for him to take all the credit for the idea with his bosses. Yeah, he'll probably get a bonus equal to a year of your salary, but all you really want is painless builds.

  • rfsmit (cs) in reply to Dignissim
    Dignissim:
    TRWTF was not going over the manager's head after the first spat of verbal abuse, and resigning if it wasn't taken care of.

    Was anyone surprised by the outcome of this story?

    Quite. If you don't have HR's number readily to hand, you probably work for your uncle "doing computers".

  • Ben (unregistered)
    Anonymous Coward:
    This probably doesn't even have to be said, since it feels so obvious to me: I would've fired them too. I'dve fired each of the hundreds of developers. If they weren't smart enough to work around this insanity, how would they be able to program a damn thing? Give the PHB lipservice and then set up your own CM process. Once it's stable, show the guy how much it makes sense and make it easy and obvious for him to take all the credit for the idea with his bosses. Yeah, he'll probably get a bonus equal to a year of your salary, but all you really want is painless builds.

    By your logic, if I want painless teeth I should smash myself in the face with a baseball bat, hire a lawyer to sue the manufacturer, find a dentist and plastic surgeon to do reconstructive work in an alley, and then use the rest of the money to load myself up with heroin and stitch myself up the rest of the way with the dealer's used needles.

    I'd rather just use a toothbrush.

    CAPTCHA: your teeth will be damnum.

  • frits (cs) in reply to Ben
    Ben:
    Anonymous Coward:
    This probably doesn't even have to be said, since it feels so obvious to me: I would've fired them too. I'dve fired each of the hundreds of developers. If they weren't smart enough to work around this insanity, how would they be able to program a damn thing? Give the PHB lipservice and then set up your own CM process. Once it's stable, show the guy how much it makes sense and make it easy and obvious for him to take all the credit for the idea with his bosses. Yeah, he'll probably get a bonus equal to a year of your salary, but all you really want is painless builds.

    By your logic, if I want painless teeth I should smash myself in the face with a baseball bat, hire a lawyer to sue the manufacturer, find a dentist and plastic surgeon to do reconstructive work in an alley, and then use the rest of the money to load myself up with heroin and stitch myself up the rest of the way with the dealer's used needles.

    I'd rather just use a toothbrush.

    CAPTCHA: your teeth will be damnum.

    I see no correlation between your convoluted analogy and Anonymous Coward's comment. Directly confronting an egotistical confrontational higher-up is never wise. Especially if he has the ability to fire you.

  • Sanderman (unregistered)

    This story is so loaded with WTFs I don't even know where to begin.

    1. Developers putting up with verbal abuse like that.
    2. Higher ups don't even bother coming to the meeting despite the developers explicitly requested this. I assume they would be aware of the conflict by now between the manager and developers and of the fact that a mediator was needed, if they were not, then they were incompetent.
    3. This manager didn't get fired for incompetence after hiring a third party, which basically proves his original system was flawed and the reason for firing these developers was unjust.
  • digitallogic (unregistered) in reply to Anonymous Coward

    I was thinking the same thing. Why didn't someone take the 15 minutes to setup a script to automatically fill in the spreadsheet instead of having everyone do so manually? All that data is available in modern SCM tools and many will execute the script automatically for you via various hooks.

  • regeya (unregistered)

    Most WTFs are funny to me; this one is just depressing.

    I'm fully convinced that American business took the "promoted to his level of incompetence" joke to heart and decided to make it a worthy business goal.

  • blakeyrat (cs) in reply to Sanderman
    Sanderman:
    This story is so loaded with WTFs I don't even know where to begin.
    1. Developers putting up with verbal abuse like that.
    2. Higher ups don't even bother coming to the meeting despite the developers explicitly requested this. I assume they would be aware of the conflict by now between the manager and developers and of the fact that a mediator was needed, if they were not, then they were incompetent.
    3. This manager didn't get fired for incompetence after hiring a third party, which basically proves his original system was flawed and the reason for firing these developers was unjust.

    Don't forget: 4. Excel has a mode for "Shared" spreadsheets, which allows multiple people to edit them simultaneously over a network.

  • regeya (unregistered)

    OK, just because I'm OCD and end up doing guerilla management on the down low, I wonder why they didn't convert the stupid Excel doc to XML, put it in some sort of revision control (maybe distributed like hg or git) and give someone the unofficial job of merging the stupid report?

    Then again, if they're having to manually log their commits to a spreadsheet, I'm guessing they don't use revision control of any sort.

    I'm not a developer, but I keep docs and shell scripts in git repos. My docs repo started life as a subversion repo, then hg, and currently git. It's nice to be able to go back through the years and see what changes I've made, and why.

  • regeya (unregistered) in reply to blakeyrat
    blakeyrat:
    Don't forget: 4. Excel has a mode for "Shared" spreadsheets, which allows multiple people to edit them simultaneously over a network.

    facepalm I wish I'd seen that before. I did not know that; pure ignorance on my part. Then again, you'd either have to let the dipstick manager figure that simple one out (yeah, right) or go back to guerilla management...

  • Blagotron (unregistered) in reply to regeya

    Just try and see what happens when you have a shared Excel file with 200+ users all trying to make changes at the same time. It doesn't work.

  • Quirkafleeg (unregistered) in reply to regeya
    regeya:
    OK, just because I'm OCD and end up doing guerilla management on the down low, I wonder why they didn't convert the stupid Excel doc to XML, put it in some sort of revision control (maybe distributed like hg or git) and give someone the unofficial job of merging the stupid report?
    Whereas my first thought was "why didn't this id10t mandate use of a decent RCS?"
    Then again, if they're having to manually log their commits to a spreadsheet, I'm guessing they don't use revision control of any sort.
    Quite probably… but then again, this mismanager probably also uses Excel-shaped hammers for database-shaped nails.

    I wonder if the third-party solution was in fact a VCS of some sort, as opposed to the Share & Enjoy system which it replaced…

  • tgape (cs) in reply to Sanderman
    Sanderman:
    3. This manager didn't get fired for incompetence after hiring a third party, which basically proves his original system was flawed and the reason for firing these developers was unjust.

    Sadly, I've heard people make the claim that firing the manger for incompetence based on the fact his hiring the third party showing his prior plan was not workable, and thus the firing of those developers was unjust, opens the company up to a 'unjust termination' law suit.

    (I believe the real answer there is firing the manager actually protects the company from such a claim. Then, if any of those developers asks for their job back, you give it to them (and, if you really want to protect yourself, send an apology/job offer at the same salary to their last known address.) If you do this, then you can defeat any law suit from those developers over unjust termination with, "We've addressed the issue. We've apologized. What else do you want? The ex-manager's home address? Well, we can give you his lawyer's phone number - here you go." Yes, it'd probably be better to also give the developers wages for the time they were unemployed - but it sounds like the situation here came to a head so quickly that they'd not have had much time to build up said time - especially if the fired employees got some form of severance.)

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

  • haero (unregistered) in reply to regeya
    regeya:
    Most WTFs are funny to me; this one is just depressing.

    I'm fully convinced that American business took the "promoted to his level of incompetence" joke to heart and decided to make it a worthy business goal.

    I think they just decided to one-up in a typical American fashion. You know, promote way above the level of incompetence and not hire any competent people except by accident.

  • Machtyn (unregistered) in reply to Blagotron

    Truly. Especially when all 200+ users are updating the same cell/row/column

  • dkf (cs) in reply to regeya
    regeya:
    Most WTFs are funny to me; this one is just depressing.
    No, it's not. There's a happy ending. David got a much better job somewhere else.

    The moral has got to be this: if some dipshit makes the job intolerable, get the hell out of Dodge and go elsewhere. If you're really as good as you think you are, that won't be too difficult even now.

  • tgape (cs) in reply to regeya
    regeya:
    OK, just because I'm OCD and end up doing guerilla management on the down low, I wonder why they didn't convert the stupid Excel doc to XML

    XML's not needed here. Plain text would work just fine.

    That having been said, I agree - it doesn't sound like they were using any kind of version control, which is absolutely insane in developments of sufficient size to justify a "Chief" Development Manager. If I were advising such an organization, I'd say the first thing you do is you put in a version control system, and you configure it to do a build before any commit, using all of the new files from the user, but any files not being updated are pulled from the repository (just to be careful). This way, the build always builds, as no commit will break it.

    Of course, the build has to be working when you implement such a thing, or it'll block all commits until someone figures out the magic to fix it. (Of course, that may not be such a bad thing...)

    After putting in that protection for the build, the next step would be to get automated testing, so that new commits would not cause regressions of old problems for which automated tests have been written.

    But then, I'm a Technical Fascist - I believe in having a strict policy on these kinds of things, and enforcing it with code.

  • BentFranklin (cs)

    There's another word for a shared spreadsheet: database.

  • Coyne (cs) in reply to Sanderman
    Sanderman:
    3. This manager didn't get fired for incompetence after hiring a third party, which basically proves his original system was flawed and the reason for firing these developers was unjust.

    Unfortunately, there is a "man-in-the-middle" attack here. Clearly, upper management loves and trusts their CDM; and as a result there is zero communication between the developers and upper management:

       Upper management
         ^   |
         |   v
       +------------------------------------+
       | CDM communication isolation filter |
       +------------------------------------+
         ^   |
         |   v
       Slaves (aka Developers)

    So, of course, upper management is congratulating themselves on having a CDM astute enough to find the problem, fire the developers causing it, and save the company all that money.

    Bet they weren't told all the cost of the 3rd party solution. When the real bill comes, that'll get blamed on one or more slaves, resulting in even more savings.

  • Jerry (unregistered)

    And the TRUE WTF is: the CDM was finally fired, but he later got a job at where I'm working, with the title CIO.

  • Falcon (unregistered)

    I suppose it could still be a depressing ending from Chris's point of view, if he was stuck at the s***hole while David got a job at a nicer place.

  • Darius (unregistered) in reply to Vilhelm

    This should be published with this guys real name and organisation. He is a danger to himself and others and the sort of person who will willingly crash the company to protect his own ego.

  • Darius (unregistered) in reply to frits

    "I see no correlation between your convoluted analogy and Anonymous Coward's comment. Directly confronting an egotistical confrontational higher-up is never wise. Especially if he has the ability to fire you."

    That's what they count on - which is why it MUST BE DONE.

  • dcare (unregistered) in reply to Mr T

    love this comment!

  • Lee K-T (unregistered) in reply to dkf
    dkf:
    regeya:
    Most WTFs are funny to me; this one is just depressing.
    No, it's not. There's a happy ending. David got a much better job somewhere else.

    The moral has got to be this: if some dipshit makes the job intolerable, get the hell out of Dodge and go elsewhere. If you're really as good as you think you are, that won't be too difficult even now.

    That's not a happy ending. David may have found a better job but somewhere else but still... The bad guys wins...

  • Lee K-T (unregistered) in reply to dkf
    dkf:
    tgape:
    Ike:
    Mr T:
    He was probably tall. Every tall person who manages not to dribble when talking seems to eventually end up in senior management.
    But, the story said, He was a cantankerous, spiteful little man... So, unless he was a tall little man, I don't think so.
    He wore a tall hat?
    Maybe he wore platform shoes to his interview.

    Could the CDM be Willy Wonka?

  • Martin (unregistered)

    Sharing spreadsheet on network drive is really stupid. There are all these write access problem and so.

    The real solution is to made new "chief spreadsheed manager" position and let developers mail him all their changes. He than manages the spreasheet and developers could access it read-only on the network drive.

  • illtiz (unregistered) in reply to frits
    frits:
    Ben:
    By your logic, if I want painless teeth I should smash myself in the face with a baseball bat, hire a lawyer to sue the manufacturer, find a dentist and plastic surgeon to do reconstructive work in an alley, and then use the rest of the money to load myself up with heroin and stitch myself up the rest of the way with the dealer's used needles.

    I'd rather just use a toothbrush.

    CAPTCHA: your teeth will be damnum.

    I see no correlation between your convoluted analogy and Anonymous Coward's comment. Directly confronting an egotistical confrontational higher-up is never wise. Especially if he has the ability to fire you.

    I concur that the analogy doesn't work. Still, the original suggestion is as wrong as it gets. Shouldering the incompetence of those higher up is a loose-loose approach. You cannot expect gratification, monetary or otherwise. You cannot expect any changes for the better. Personally, I couldn't expect to be able to look at my own mirror image after years of such groveling.

  • Mike (unregistered) in reply to Plz Send Me The Code
    Plz Send Me The Code:
    what is a 'bonus'?

    It's the lie we tell ourselves once we're old enough to stop believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and government.

  • Mike (unregistered) in reply to Martin
    Martin:
    Sharing spreadsheet on network drive is really stupid. There are all these write access problem and so.

    The real solution is to made new "chief spreadsheed manager" position and let developers mail him all their changes. He than manages the spreasheet and developers could access it read-only on the network drive.

    That's too much power for one person to have over the process. It needs to be a team, with several Regional Spreadsheet Managers reporting to the Chief Spreadsheet Manager.

  • Lee K-T (unregistered) in reply to Mike
    Mike:
    Plz Send Me The Code:
    what is a 'bonus'?

    It's the lie we tell ourselves once we're old enough to stop believing in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and government.

    What has the Tooth Fairy got to do with it? What do you mean? o_O

  • LU (unregistered)

    Regarding all the comments, why the developers did not come up with a workaround:

    As I see the story, the devs had the following options:

    1. Complain to upper management, get blamed by CDM, get fired.
    2. Create a workaround for this stupid system, get blamed by CDM that they are not working how they should or that they are sabotaging his system and/or the company as a whole, get fired.
    3. Shut up and try to work with this monster, never get a build done right, get fired for incompetence.

    No matter what, it's really a lose-lose situation...

    Oh god, I wish such people like the CDM would fall on their nose. Hard.

    P.S.: It somehow reminds me of the problem the Soviet intelligence had with Stalin: Stalin wanted only to hear what he liked, and he did not belive in a possible attack by the Germans, so the people trying to convience him of a possible attack got shot. The people who told him that "no, the Germans won't attack" to save their lives ended up getting shot when the sky over the USSR was covered with Stukas...

  • hoodaticus (unregistered)

    The trick with bosses like that is to quit in a way that makes them look unprofessional. Preferably by manipulating them into breaching your employment contract.

    Bosses like this CAN be manipulated, but you need to form a relationship with their bosses first. As a bonus, you can then sue your employer for the lost salary.

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