Did you ever say something in jest that
later came back to you as a statement
of fact or belief? Well, then this tale
should be familiar to you.
Years ago a company I worked for was
spending money like crazy on tools to
improve its software development processes.
Naturally, this was done not as the result
of planning, nor early in the planning
stages, but rather in panic in media res
as it were (I never get to insert Latin terms),
in the middle of things after schedule slips
but before budget tightening. A tool which
was advertised to convert requirements into
test procedures was purchased and training
obtained. A suite of CASE tools which included
code generation was bought and a whole new
group to support them was created. You get
During a casual conversation with team members
I joked, "Yep, by golly, we're gonna be able to
feed in those requirements, push the Big Red
Button on the wall that says "Software" and the
code will just pop out the other end, along with
the test plans and procedures which will go into
the automated validation facility, and presto!
tested, documented, configured code and not a human
in sight beyond requirements." Because we were a
test tools development team building simulators
and test language components and were acutely
aware of the incredible complexity of integrating
COTS products with in-house developed stuff, this
seemed so ridiculous as to be funny for a minute or
two. Okay, back to work.
A month or so later, against all odds, the Big Red
Button surfaced again, in a management presentation
Here, in toner, on plastic, with a heading and
a fancy border, was a proclamation of the
seamless cradle-to-grave software environment
that we would soon put into place, the sole
interface to which would be a "Big Red Button."
Believe it, or not.
I'd like to say it got me a huge raise and promotion as
a great visionary, but I just didn't understand how to
market the concept. Damn! Do you think I can copyright
edit: "not a human in site" -> "not a human in sight" (or should it have been "on site"?)