Day: 12 September 2006

Gathering Evidence

While working on a previous project, before I had a blog, I remember an incident with a particular boss at a company which thrived on a blame culture. No one cared if software was late or crap. All they cared about was whether another department was to blame. So once we screwed up on a project and his response was "Can't you find an email showing its the customers fault?". In this case, the answer was "No, it was our fault. I screwed up and misread the requirements." Being a good boss, he didn't want to shit on me. "OK, but surely you can find an email that shows its the customers fault? Thats all I need to copy to his boss." He didn't care about the impact on the business. Didn't want me working over time to fix the problem. Didn't want me to accept responsibility for the problem. He just wanted to blame some other department for the problem. And this was the way he worked project after project. Find evidence. Copy the head of the other department. Threaten to escalate... He wasn't alone either. Every department worked in the same way. No one had accountability. It lead to people being scared to make mistakes. Perhaps that was why the company was a market leader? But it wasn't a very nice place to work.

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SLOC is "Software lines of code" and is an old measure of productivity when taken as lines of code written per day. There is lots of debate about its use, whether its good etc. But when comparing like for like, it should give valid results. I once worked out that there were something like 20 lines of code a day developed in EAI at my last client (with say 300,000 lines of code in total). We said it wasn't too bad, compared to the old days of OS development quoted as around 5 LOC per day... I'm reviewing a project here with around 160,000 LOC (thats an assumption that the GUI is the same as the back end, which is around 82,000 LOC). It was developed in 5 months over 820 man days. That makes around 200 LOC a day, so ten times more quickly developed than on the EAI project. It includes generated code, but probably as much as the EAI tool gives you, showing that if you want to build an SOA, that old EAI tool is slow to develop with. I then took a look at the maxant demo I did. It has around 36,000 LOC (again an assumption that the GUI has the same amount of code as the back end which is around 18,000 lines), and I did that in around 70 man days. So that's around 500 LOC a day. Both the project I'm now reviewing and the maxant demo have 150 lines per…

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