In which we take the liberty of retelling the Creation story to make it ‘relevant’ to the modern IT professional.
God looked up wearily as a two-headed donkey wandered into the amphitheatre. It had a baffled look, and rolled both pairs of eyes before bleating pathetically, raising its tail vertically, giving a squawk of alarm, and exploding into a myriad of quivering chunks of meat. Whilst distractedly wiping off the stains from his toga, God cast an anxious glance at the assembled IT managers.
“Art thou sure of meeting the aggressive six-day schedule for this project, verily??”
The smartly-clad angels looked nervously around for a spokesman. After a moment, a well-groomed executive angel stepped forward.
“We have, er…hath…, a total commitment to quality delivery of an effective solution”
“Our mission is to achieve total excellence in meeting the timescales for delivery of the project to the defined and agreed scope”.
“Quality… excellence…”, harmonised the assembled IT angels, upon hearing this confirmation of their mission statement, and rustled their feathered-wings to signal their commitment and solidarity.
“..and we’re all clear on the project deliverables?” asked God. “Being more of the instinctive sort of executive, I realise I may have been heavy on the overall project vision…you know ‘let there be light’, and that sort of stuff…and light on the practicalities. I’m not really a detail person. That’s why I delegate that sort of thing to you. I can appreciate that this is really a logistics and facilities-management issue but, we’re 5 days in to a 6-day project and exploding two-headed donkeys at this stage make me rather nervous.”
“You’re not implying that maybe we need to invoke the change-control procedure, surely? The project definition is carved on tablets of stone and signed off by you.”
“Did I sign it off? Does a lightening bolt signify assent?”
“Well, there is nothing in the project specification about donkeys having only one head, and I’m sure there is nothing about lack of donkey-explosions. It could be a very effective means of regulating their population.” Observing God’s rising eyebrows, the angel executive gestured in a conciliatory way. “Look”, he said, ” we can hammer out these details, but surely the most important point is that we are all synergistically working together in total commitment to achieving the project schedule and exceeding your expectations”. He waved his hands elegantly, in a meaningless way. The assembled angels all took the cue, and looked innocent and keen.
“You’re not bullshitting me are you?” asked God, wryly.
“Why no,” cried the spokesman in exaggerated, affected, indignation at this idea, “Merely, managing your expectations. Besides, we have a bit of a slippage on bulls due to technical issues”
“Ah, technical issues? What a relief. Nothing important, then?”
The assembled angels looked at each other in mock confidence.
Meanwhile, behind this group, young technical angels were picking up the quivering pieces of donkey and attempting to piece them back together. Standing over them was a belligerent, pot-bellied angel in sandals and bottle glasses and with wings that looked as if they’d been through a shredder.
‘Bloody shambles I call it”, mumbled the pot-bellied one, “I’d love to meet the character who insisted on this bloody useless technical platform. Create a whole world with this? Who is He kidding? Thank goodness most of it is made of mud.”
God, catching the faintest murmur of a foul oath, glanced in his direction. “You there!” he barked, “Art thou one of the angelic host?”
“No, he isn’t”, the manager angel muttered with marked distaste “he’s a contractor angel. And of course the technical platform is in total compliance with specifications and will be, ahem, fully documented in the post-project Genesis report.”
However, the manger angel’s attempts to draw back God’s attention were thwarted by the contractor angel’s loud and bitter laugh. “Me, a permie !? You’re kidding, mate! I’ll get this lot done and then I’m off. What a shambles, I’m telling you. The bloody angels are so keen on promotion they’ve got no spare energy for the real work. We know that the devil has got the only good operating system, but why you couldn’t at least have opened the wallet for a proper database I can’t imagine.”
“Proper database?” asked God
“Yes, we’re using SQLLite. Fine for managing your bleeding stamp collection, but not for this sort of work!”
“I said ‘Let there be Light, not Lite!'”
“What you sayeth at one end and what cometh out the other, having filtered through six levels of management, are two very different things. I suppose you weren’t insisting on Sun workstations either?”
“I had more of a celestial object in mind, actually….”
The executive angel became increasingly agitated as this conversation continued and finally interjected, “I think it would be better to allow me to manage the customer interface, if you don’t mind. You need to concentrate on the technical issues” he said, huffily, and with an angry glare at the contractor angel. “And concentrate on them pretty hard too” he added menacingly.
“If you guys didn’t keep meddling with the architecture then we’d have finished the job already and knocked off early on Friday for a beer break. The Sahara was a tropical paradise before you insisted on open-source components. And don’t get me started on the animals. We thought the Alpaca was bad but that was before we had to use UML. It was then that we had to go down the two-headed-donkey route. Why, I’ll never know but I suspect some manager wanted to put in his CV that he had ‘done’ a distributed architecture. And then you’ve got the user-acceptance testing. What confusion! This is the only project where bugs are actually specified. More species of bugs than anything else, and the test teams keep thinking a cockroach is a bug with a bug…..”
“Enough!” thundered God. “Yea verily this soundeth like an utter shambles. Let there be a project review!”
“Don’t think we haven’t been there already. At the last one, there was a long argument about re-designing an American song thrush and, by the time everyone had finished interfering, we had created the turkey.”
God suddenly felt very weary. His fears and premonitions, which had gradually grown over the course of the 5 days, seemed to be confirmed. “Oh woe unto this project” he muttered.
“Cheer up” said the contractor, before the angelic manager could intervene once more, in order to effect a ‘reconstruction of the perceived user-experience’. “There may be a way out”
“And what is that?”
“An insurance job”
“An insurance job? I see only through a glass darkly.”
“Well, the project is insured against acts of God, isn’t it?”
“Well yes, they forgot to take that clause out.”
“OK, then. So what about a big accidental fire, just after the end of the project sign-off? We all get paid and you get the insurance money.”
“Fire? Hmmm…not sure about that.”
“Well it doesn’t have to be a fire. The world is a bit big to accidentally drop down the stairs but you could always engineer a flood”
“A flood, eh?” mused God. “Shh! I’m thinking…” he snapped, as the manager made to interject yet again. “I think I’d better give Noah a call…”