About Tom Evslin

Video Profile of Tom Evslin

Follow Tom Evslin on Twitter


subscribe:

Add to Technorati Favorites!
Powered by TypePad
Member since 01/2005

technorati


« Cebu – The Pro(b)logue | Main | Wolves Eat Dogs »

Managing Programming for CEOs Part 1 – Decompiling Programmer-Speak

Naturally, programmers speak in code.  You may hear them but that doesn’t mean you know what they said.  I was a programmer long before I was a CEO.  Then I was a manager of programmers. When I started Solutions, Inc. in 1969,  I was all three since I was the only employee. 

Computers have changed; programming languages have changed; but programmer-speak has remained remarkably constant.  Programmers I managed at Microsoft and AT&T spoke the same language (whether they spoke English or not).  ITXC programmers, as great as they were at their jobs, still spoke programmer-speak. 

As a CEO or hope-to-be CEO of a technical company, it is essential that you crack the code.  Otherwise you will have no hope of knowing when any particular piece of essential development will be done or even what it will do if it is ever finished.  Today’s blog is a phrase book of programmer-speak.  Soon I’ll blog some secrets on actually managing programming projects.

“It’ll be done ASAP.”

Translation: There is no schedule yet.

“That feature shouldn’t add any time to the schedule.”

Translation:  There is no schedule yet.

“It’s fifty percent done.”

Translation: It hasn’t been started yet.

“It can literally do anything you want it do.”

Translation:  There is no spec yet.

“Take my word for it, my group isn’t on the critical path.”

Translation:  It’s schedule-chicken time.  We’re way late but someone else is bound to be even later.

“It’s ninety percent done.”

Translation: The remaining ten percent will take ninety percent of the elapsed time.

“It’s ninety-five percent done,”

Translation: The remaining five percent will take ninety-five percent of the elapsed time.

“It’s code complete.”

Translation:  Some code has been written.  Features will be added later.

“The code is 95% reusable.”

Translation:  Five percent of the source code is utterly and irretrievably lost.

“It’s feature complete.”

Translation: The feature list has been truncated.

“The UI’s still a little bit rough.”

Translation:  What’s not to love about the A:> prompt?

“I’ve got an idea for a really cool feature.  It’ll blow you away.”

Translation: Please give me an excuse to blow the schedule away.

“It’s Alpha ready.”

Translation: A lot of code has been written; none tested.

“It’s Beta ready.”

Translation:  It’s Alpha ready.”

“The daily bug count is going down.”

Translation: The testers have been reassigned or The testers have had their email server removed.

“What?  You wanted the results to display?  On the screen?  That’s gonna be hard.”

Translation:  Here’s a good place to bury all the slippage.  Major schedule revision coming.

“Ship it!”

Translation:  The Development team is sick of this and wants to move on to something else.  The customers will test it.

Part 2 of this series is the meaning of “done” and how to know when you’ll get there.

Part 3 is features that kill projects.

Part 4 is about great debuggers.

I’ve also blogged on how programmers can manage CEOs.

Part 1 is on managing non-technical CEOs.

Part 2 is on the even harder job of managing technical CEOs.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451cce569e200d83458b6fd69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Managing Programming for CEOs Part 1 – Decompiling Programmer-Speak:

» Do you like surprises? from Life Beyond Code
Whenever I ask the question "Do you like surprises?" most people say "yes" even before they blink.  Most of us ... [Read More]

» Geek Speak... from Occam's Razor
Great selection of geek speak, and it's actual meaning, here are my top 10:“It’ll be done ASAP.” Translation: There is no schedule yet. “That feature shouldn’t add any time to the schedule.” Translation: [Read More]

» Decompiling Programmer-Speak from microISV
Tom Evslin offers a list for CEO's to decipher the true meaning of programmer-speak. Some examples are, “It’ll be done ASAP.” Translation: There is no schedule yet. “That feature shouldn’t add any time to the schedule.” Translat... [Read More]

» Managing Programming for CEOs Part 1 - Decompiling Programmer-Speak from Virtuelvis
Do you need to translate programmer lingo into english? Tom Evslin has a great little guide. [Read More]

» 프로그래머와 대화하기 from Tabular Rasa
Fractals of Change: Managing Programming for CEOs Part 1 ?Decompiling Programmer-Speak (via. Decompiling Programmer-Speak [Read More]

» IT advice for CEOs from Ugh!!'s GreyMatter Honeypot
[Read More]

» Decompiling Programmer-Speak from Groovy Links
http://jeremy.zawodny.com/linkblog/ [Read More]

» Excellent series of posts for PMs communicating wi from cazh1.com
I just scanned this really terrific series of posts by Tom Evslin ... talks about "managing programmers", but it's quite insightful for a project manager or development lead trying to understand how they may be perceived by the business and managemen... [Read More]

» Programmer Speak Decrypted, Fool's Day, Gadget Con from Harveer Singh's blog
Tom Evslin writes about Managing Programming for CEOs in his blog, Fractals of Change. In the series titled Decompiling Programmer-Speak, he delves into some of the oft-used phrases by developers, and how as a CEO (or even a manager), you should lear... [Read More]

» Decoding Geek Speak in Software Projects from Technology Futurist

Late Friday afternoon, I always get a few funny e-mails (part of the Friday afternoon humor habit that I share with a few of my friends). Today, it surely was not a disappointing day, as I got a[Read More]

» Software Management Humor from 463 West Street
Some additional programmer-speak, with translations for The Rest Of Us. [Read More]

» Search Names Files From 1990 Census from Free Company Name Search
Pick a names file to search:. last, female, male. Enter name(s) to search for (space delimited, case insensitive):. Learn more about the name files and ... [Read More]

» Uh yes? from Laubscher
Tech.Memeorandum has finally moved to its own domain name: TechMeme. Pretty much everyone has mentioned this on their blogs, including TechCrunch. Heres something worth telling: Share your OPML. A basic Digg/Delicious for blogs. See what people ar... [Read More]

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Now on Kindle!

hackoff.com: An historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble

CEO Tom Evslin's insider account of the Internet bubble and its aftermath. "This novel is a surveillance video of the seeds of the current economic collapse."

The Interpreter's Tale

Hacker Dom Montain is in Barcelona in Evslin's Kindle-edition long short story. Why? and why are the pickpockets stealing mobile phones?

Need A Kindle?

Kindle: Amazon's Wireless Reading Device

Not quite as good as a real book IMHO but a lot lighter than a trip worth of books. Also better than a cell phone for mobile web access - and that's free!

Recent Reads - Click title to order from Amazon


Google

  • adlinks
  • adsense