Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Project Manager.

I am part of this mailing list, of which my manager is part of too. There was an e-mail asking whoever had a device with a specific serial number to respond. I read it, checked the devices we had, and didn't respond because we didn't own the device with that particular serial number.

Now, 10 mins later, I see the same e-mail in my inbox again, this time around, forwarded by my project manager, asking me if we had the device with that serial number. I replied, No. 

Now, the point is, he sits right next to me !!, all he had to do was, turn around, and ask me if I had checked. But, he felt comfortable e-mailing me instead, sitting not even a foot away from me ?

Now, this leaves me thinking, does he have to re-confirm to himself that he is manager(who sits right next to me), by e-mailing me and asking ? rather than trusting me that I'd have responded if we had it in the first place ! or is it technology has him spoilt so much, that he'd rather write than talk.

Whatever, it annoys me, when managers take so much interest in following up with trivial things, rather than try to provide solutions and follow-up with things that really demand it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One day in the life of Niniane Wang.

Niniane currently works as an Engineering manager for Google. This was when she was working as a developer as part of the Google Desktop product. You can read more fun stuff here.

March 2004

One day, we are sitting at lunch, and I'm eating a slice of chocolate pecan pie.

Me: Pie is so great! If I had pie every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy person.

Steve: If you fix all of your bugs, I will give you one thousand pies.

Me: Don't make promises you can't keep, Steve.

Steve: Hm, yes, I should restate. If you fix all of your bugs by tomorrow, I will give you one thousand pies. Wait, how much do pies cost?

Me: 10, 15 bucks.

Steve: [does some mental computations] Ten pies. If you fix all of your bugs by tomorrow, I'll give you ten pies.

Me: Oh really?

Steve: [slightly concerned] How many bugs do you have?

Me: Fifteen.

Steve: [confidently] Yes, ten pies.

Me: Okay, you're on.

Chris: Wait, now, it shouldn't be all-or-nothing. We should say that if Niniane fixes 5 bugs in one day, you give her 1 pie. 10 bugs, 2 pies. All 15, then you give her 10 pies.

Steve and me: Okay, that sounds reasonable.

Omar: What about new bugs that come in?

Steve: Those don't count.

Me: Okay, it's 1pm right now. The bet ends at 1pm tomorrow. Let's shake on it. [shake hands with Steve] Okay, I'll see you guys later! I have some bugs to fix!

I dash off. The next 24 hours are a steady progression of bug fixing. By dinnertime (8pm), I've fixed about 6 bugs. A few of us are discussing the bet.

Chris: You should fix the easy ones first, so that you can be guaranteed 2 pies.

Me: No, I should fix the hard ones first, when I'm not as tired.

Chris: Oho! That must mean you're going for all 10 pies!

Everyone begins to leave work. By 2am, I am the only person left. From 4am to 7am, I took a nap in the massage room down the hall. When I emerge, bleary-eyed, Steve is already back at work and shocked to find me.

Steve: Niniane! You're here so early!

Me: No, I didn't leave. Don't you see I'm wearing the same clothes?

Steve: [looks at the bug count] Oh no! I better take longer to do the code reviews!

By noon, I'd fixed all 15 bugs. Two new "non-pie" bugs had come in during the 24 hours, and I fixed them too for good measure, for a total of 17 by 12:50pm.

Steve had a graph that tracked everyone's bug count over time. Because it didn't handle the case where the bug count is 0, my graph line disappeared from the chart. So the next bug fix immediately following the bet was from Steve, to fix his script to handle 0.

Over the next months, Steve bought me a number of pies:

Pie #1: berry #2: apple #3: pumpkin #4: custard #5: pumpkin for Hallowen