Senior Developer looking for your asst in employmt issue (not job seeking!)

Discussion in 'ASP .Net' started by Xavier Jefferson, May 6, 2004.

  1. Community,

    I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering if
    you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I have
    to say vs. my supervisor.

    I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have advanced
    experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and 4.
    I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or even
    distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.

    I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.

    I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local area
    network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    forty tables with foreign key relationships.

    I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in another
    department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    things like data relationships.

    I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so many
    controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.

    I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate this
    into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    been purring ever since.

    My questions, if you please:

    1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the user
    base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?

    2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he could
    really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a client-server
    application?

    3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for an
    experienced developer?

    4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and telephone
    number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows that
    there are real people connected to my evidence.

    Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.


    Xavier Jefferson
    Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
     
    Xavier Jefferson, May 6, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Xavier Jefferson

    Steven Burn Guest

    Oks, first of all, we can't (or atleast, I can't) say whether you acted in
    good faith or not, nor whether you are incompetent or not. Only yourself and
    your employer can judge that.

    As for #1 and #2, if you did not do what you were paid to do (i.e. getting
    rid of Access) then your employer has a right to complain.

    As for re-building the entire app in FM Pro over the course of a weekend, if
    he could have done that, would he really have needed to employ you? (not
    saying he couldn't have, just suggesting that it's unlikely)

    --

    Regards

    Steven Burn
    Ur I.T. Mate Group
    www.it-mate.co.uk

    Keeping it FREE!


    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Community,
    >
    > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > things like data relationships.
    >
    > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    > been purring ever since.
    >
    > My questions, if you please:
    >
    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?
    >
    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?
    >
    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    > Xavier Jefferson
    > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
     
    Steven Burn, May 6, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Xavier Jefferson

    Al Manint Guest

    Well,

    It sounds like you gave it the ole college try and without seeing the Access
    database, I really can't answer your questions.

    I do have a question however. A person your position must also run as the
    project manager. Did you set the expectations? I think you were over
    enthusiatic and didn't take the opportunity to really scope out the effort
    to determine if it shoudl have taken 5 weeks. Also, it appears that you
    were not truely familiar with what ASP.NET (Web applications in general) are
    set up for and how they do what they do. This lead you down a few blind
    alleys and ate time. I'm not saying you are incompetent because I've done
    this many times myself early in my career. If you are wearing a project
    manager hat, you must manage expectations.

    I wish you luck. Wish I could see the actual database to answer your
    questions and see a functionality sheet on what you needed to deliver based
    on that database. Then I can make a real judgement as to whether you are
    "compentent". I do think that your manager probably needs a reality check
    though.

    Al Manint, MCSD (VB5, VB6), MCSD.NET (C#), MCDBA

    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Community,
    >
    > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > things like data relationships.
    >
    > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    > been purring ever since.
    >
    > My questions, if you please:
    >
    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?
    >
    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?
    >
    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    > Xavier Jefferson
    > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
     
    Al Manint, May 6, 2004
    #3
  4. Xavier,

    I will tackle your questions in order, followed by my general thoughts:

    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?


    The answer to the question (accomplish x, y, and z in 5 weeks?) is not
    knowable. As an experienced developer, I can say from my own projects as
    well as projects I have participated in as a team member that it is
    literally impossible to say with certainty how long *any* project will take.
    Development is necessarily a cyclical process in which requirements are
    defined and then implemented; then the requirements are further clarified,
    and then re-implemented. Put another way, development is a *process of
    discovery* for both the developer(s) and the user(s). Frequently the users
    say "I need X and Y". And you as a developer say, "sure - 5 weeks, no
    problem". Then as you implement X and Y, you make discoveries about what X
    and Y really are or what it takes to make them happen - and go back to the
    user for further clarification. Often times the user will respond something
    like "oh, yes, of course - it's not Y that I need, it's Z. Well at that
    point, your origina ("5 weeks - sure") response is no longer valid because
    you're now dealing with the need to implement X and Z - or X, Y and X, or X
    and some combination of Y and Z. You get the idea. The requirements evolved
    as a result of both the developer and/or the users discovering (1) what is
    really needed, or (2) what it actually takes to implement the original
    requirements. This abstracted scenario can be seen in real-life projects all
    the time. It is the norm. The exception is the project for which the
    requirements are (1) prefectly understood by the user/requester, (2)
    perfectly communicated to the developer, and (3) implemented perfectly by
    the developer - after which the user (4) accepts the project as it is, with
    no additional requirements. I've never seen or heard of this happening in
    over 10 years of consulting for dozens of large and small companies, the US
    government, and non profits.

    Additionally, even on an apparently trivial "mini requirement" (forget an
    entire project) it is difficult to predict with certainty how long it will
    take to implement. Take, for example the requirement to "Add one new column
    to an existing table in an MS Access mdb database". The knee-jerk response
    is "10 minutes max" - including time to locate the mdb file on the network,
    open it up, open the table in design view, add the column, specify the
    column name, data type, and close the mdb file). Well, what if your table
    has 254 columns in it already. Adding the additional column is not possible.
    Suddenly your 10-minute "mini requirement" just got really big, as you'll
    have to now (1) create a 2nd table (2) add any necessary key columns to the
    new 2nd table, (3) possibly move some columns from the orignial first table
    over to the new table in order to make room for new key columns in the first
    table so that you can join the two tables together logically (and
    physically). Then because you've had to reorganize the table structures,
    you've just broken all the queries that referenced the original table, and
    you'd have to rebuild all of those, and on and on it goes. You get the
    point. Even for a "mini requirement" it can sometimes legitimately take far
    longer than originally estimated. Note that this scenario says nothing about
    the competence of the developer who is doing the work. The developer could
    be the best in the world, and the mini-requirement could still take far
    longer than initially estimated.

    There are a number of ligitimate reasons why a project may take longer than
    estimated. An incompetent developer is one of the more unlikely reasons.
    Imperfectly understood and/or communicated requirements are the most common
    reason (at least from my observations and experience).

    I suspect that the original 5-week estimate in your situation was a pretty
    good guess givent the facts *as they were presented to you*. Then, as you
    got into the project, the facts were discovered to be something more complex
    than originally presented to you.

    Are you to blame for any of this? Perhaps you could have sought further
    clarification - but even if you sought it, was anyone there who could really
    present you with the clarification you needed? If not, then you were the
    only one in the entire world who could possible discover the true state of
    the system and the requriements.

    Is your manager to blame for any of this? Perhaps he could have presented
    the facts as they really were to you. If he did not, then your 5-week
    estimate had no chance of being accurate (beyond good luck - which you
    cannot count on). If he did not present the facts as they really were, then
    we need to under why: perhaps he was not in a position to know; perhaps he
    did know but did not tell you the complete picture; in any case, the problem
    is a lack of clarity. In either case, it is not fair (nor accurate) to
    simply blame the programmer for being incompetent when a deadline is not met
    (even if it is overshot by a long time).


    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?


    The likelihood is "minimal". Unless you've been there, you cannot possibly
    know what it really takes. You can THINK you know - but unless you've
    actually done it, you don't really know.

    You, as a legitimate developer, who has been immersed in the "developer
    community" for some time have a better idea - but even then, you are dealing
    with a unique system, with unique issues. So, even you are not in a position
    to really know what it takes until you jump in and actually get into the
    system. As someone who has been involved in the development scene, you are
    (or should be) well aware that it would not be a trivial undertaking. The
    manager would be in less of a position than you. His lack of expertise or
    experience *as a developer* means that his expectations may be unrealistic
    (because he has little or no familiarity with what it takes).

    Many network engineers I have worked with over the past 10 years (and there
    have been dozens) all believe that they understand the development game even
    though they have never written code (or have only written trivial code or
    played with File Maker Pro). This "hobbyist experience" provides them with
    the *illusion* that they actually know how to write code and develop. Not
    true. Only after undertaning a substantial project would someone even begin
    to gain an understanding of what it takes to be a developer and what it
    takes to complete non trivial projects - such as your porting project.

    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?


    His claim is the kind of naive and arrogant commentary we'd expect from
    someone who doesn't know what it actually takes to complete a non trivial
    development project. Second, even if it was true that he could have done it
    in a weekend - then why did he bother to hire a developer? If it were truly
    the trivial undertaking he is making it out to be, then there would be no
    need to hire someone for it. His arrogant comments serve to raise more
    questions: If File Maker were the platform of choice, then why did he ask
    you to do it in something else? All this calls into question his competence
    as a manager (hiring someone to do something so trivial that could have been
    done over a weekend... and asking the developer to use a different platform
    than the claimed "faster/RAD File Maker").

    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    Given what I know about your situation from your original post, and having
    dealt with and observed similar situations; and given the fact that you
    apparently care about this so much as to pursue it with your peers in the
    development community, I suspect that you not only acted in good faith in
    your initial estimate and other dealings with this manager, but I'd also
    suspect that you are the *kind of person* who acts in good faith in general.
    Are you incompetent? I doubt it. Does every developer (including you and me)
    have room to grow in terms of technical proficience? You bet. There's always
    more to know - and no one can know it all.

    So, it's not a question of competence/incompetence - it's a question of
    intent given the facts + how clear the facts were presented + how knowable
    the facts were, and by whom, etc...

    An incompetent programmer cannot get the job done - or requires constant
    supervision and assistance to get anything done. Another hallmark of what
    I'd call an incompetent programmer is someone who builds solutions that are
    not maintainable or unnecessarily difficult to understand or have
    unnecessarily poor runtime performance.

    A good programmer can be easily made to appear incompetent when the
    requirements are changed. It's like saying a sharp-shooter is incompetent
    when the target is constantly being moved. Imagine a high-jumper at the
    olympics going for the world record. If the bar were to be moved as the
    jumper was running toward it or in the act of jumping, then he'd land on his
    rear and appear to be incompetent. How about a Pinata example: We all think
    it's funny to blind-fold someone, give them a stick, and then ask them to
    hit a hanging box full of candy that is being constantly moved. We laugh and
    laugh and laugh. But we don't say that the blind-folded person swinging at
    the moving box is incompetent when they don't hit the target.

    Can a case be made that the manager is incompetent? I think so.

    First, he hired someone for a project that he, himself claims to believe
    could have been done over a weekend.

    Second, he claims that the project could have been completed much faster
    using one product (File Maker) than the one he actually requested you use
    ("anything on the Microsoft Platform").

    Third, he is attempting to diffuse responsibility for something of which he
    is an integral part. He definitely has a significant role in the fact that
    the project was not completed when expected (I believe he is the one who set
    the unrealistic expectation; if he did not actually set the deadline, he did
    not apparently work to manage the expectations of those who did have the
    unrealistic expectation).

    Fourth - he apparently changed requirements mid-stream; the ASP.NET
    front-end wasn't going to happen by the deadline, so switch back to patching
    the Access front end.

    Can a case be made that no one here is incompetent? Sure
    Like presented above, the development process is a process of discovery for
    both parties (the business users and the developers). As discovery proceeds,
    initial estimates must be revised.

    Should you be fired because (1) requirements changed; (2) he didn't have
    complete and accurate information upon which to base his initial estimates;
    (3) was doomed from the start with an unrealistic deadline; (4) he
    obviously does not have a supporting manager?

    This is like asking if a blind-folded child should be punished for not
    hitting a swinging Pinata. Rediculous.

    Good Luck

    Jeff Schaefer
    MCSD, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSE
     
    Jeff Schaefer, May 6, 2004
    #4
  5. Xavier Jefferson

    DebbieG Guest

    Jeff,

    I am in total awe of your response.

    Debbie

    "Jeff Schaefer" <> wrote in message
    news:%...
    Xavier,

    I will tackle your questions in order, followed by my general thoughts:

    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?


    The answer to the question (accomplish x, y, and z in 5 weeks?) is not
    knowable. As an experienced developer, I can say from my own projects as
    well as projects I have participated in as a team member that it is
    literally impossible to say with certainty how long *any* project will take.
    Development is necessarily a cyclical process in which requirements are
    defined and then implemented; then the requirements are further clarified,
    and then re-implemented. Put another way, development is a *process of
    discovery* for both the developer(s) and the user(s). Frequently the users
    say "I need X and Y". And you as a developer say, "sure - 5 weeks, no
    problem". Then as you implement X and Y, you make discoveries about what X
    and Y really are or what it takes to make them happen - and go back to the
    user for further clarification. Often times the user will respond something
    like "oh, yes, of course - it's not Y that I need, it's Z. Well at that
    point, your origina ("5 weeks - sure") response is no longer valid because
    you're now dealing with the need to implement X and Z - or X, Y and X, or X
    and some combination of Y and Z. You get the idea. The requirements evolved
    as a result of both the developer and/or the users discovering (1) what is
    really needed, or (2) what it actually takes to implement the original
    requirements. This abstracted scenario can be seen in real-life projects all
    the time. It is the norm. The exception is the project for which the
    requirements are (1) prefectly understood by the user/requester, (2)
    perfectly communicated to the developer, and (3) implemented perfectly by
    the developer - after which the user (4) accepts the project as it is, with
    no additional requirements. I've never seen or heard of this happening in
    over 10 years of consulting for dozens of large and small companies, the US
    government, and non profits.

    Additionally, even on an apparently trivial "mini requirement" (forget an
    entire project) it is difficult to predict with certainty how long it will
    take to implement. Take, for example the requirement to "Add one new column
    to an existing table in an MS Access mdb database". The knee-jerk response
    is "10 minutes max" - including time to locate the mdb file on the network,
    open it up, open the table in design view, add the column, specify the
    column name, data type, and close the mdb file). Well, what if your table
    has 254 columns in it already. Adding the additional column is not possible.
    Suddenly your 10-minute "mini requirement" just got really big, as you'll
    have to now (1) create a 2nd table (2) add any necessary key columns to the
    new 2nd table, (3) possibly move some columns from the orignial first table
    over to the new table in order to make room for new key columns in the first
    table so that you can join the two tables together logically (and
    physically). Then because you've had to reorganize the table structures,
    you've just broken all the queries that referenced the original table, and
    you'd have to rebuild all of those, and on and on it goes. You get the
    point. Even for a "mini requirement" it can sometimes legitimately take far
    longer than originally estimated. Note that this scenario says nothing about
    the competence of the developer who is doing the work. The developer could
    be the best in the world, and the mini-requirement could still take far
    longer than initially estimated.

    There are a number of ligitimate reasons why a project may take longer than
    estimated. An incompetent developer is one of the more unlikely reasons.
    Imperfectly understood and/or communicated requirements are the most common
    reason (at least from my observations and experience).

    I suspect that the original 5-week estimate in your situation was a pretty
    good guess givent the facts *as they were presented to you*. Then, as you
    got into the project, the facts were discovered to be something more complex
    than originally presented to you.

    Are you to blame for any of this? Perhaps you could have sought further
    clarification - but even if you sought it, was anyone there who could really
    present you with the clarification you needed? If not, then you were the
    only one in the entire world who could possible discover the true state of
    the system and the requriements.

    Is your manager to blame for any of this? Perhaps he could have presented
    the facts as they really were to you. If he did not, then your 5-week
    estimate had no chance of being accurate (beyond good luck - which you
    cannot count on). If he did not present the facts as they really were, then
    we need to under why: perhaps he was not in a position to know; perhaps he
    did know but did not tell you the complete picture; in any case, the problem
    is a lack of clarity. In either case, it is not fair (nor accurate) to
    simply blame the programmer for being incompetent when a deadline is not met
    (even if it is overshot by a long time).


    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?


    The likelihood is "minimal". Unless you've been there, you cannot possibly
    know what it really takes. You can THINK you know - but unless you've
    actually done it, you don't really know.

    You, as a legitimate developer, who has been immersed in the "developer
    community" for some time have a better idea - but even then, you are dealing
    with a unique system, with unique issues. So, even you are not in a position
    to really know what it takes until you jump in and actually get into the
    system. As someone who has been involved in the development scene, you are
    (or should be) well aware that it would not be a trivial undertaking. The
    manager would be in less of a position than you. His lack of expertise or
    experience *as a developer* means that his expectations may be unrealistic
    (because he has little or no familiarity with what it takes).

    Many network engineers I have worked with over the past 10 years (and there
    have been dozens) all believe that they understand the development game even
    though they have never written code (or have only written trivial code or
    played with File Maker Pro). This "hobbyist experience" provides them with
    the *illusion* that they actually know how to write code and develop. Not
    true. Only after undertaning a substantial project would someone even begin
    to gain an understanding of what it takes to be a developer and what it
    takes to complete non trivial projects - such as your porting project.

    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?


    His claim is the kind of naive and arrogant commentary we'd expect from
    someone who doesn't know what it actually takes to complete a non trivial
    development project. Second, even if it was true that he could have done it
    in a weekend - then why did he bother to hire a developer? If it were truly
    the trivial undertaking he is making it out to be, then there would be no
    need to hire someone for it. His arrogant comments serve to raise more
    questions: If File Maker were the platform of choice, then why did he ask
    you to do it in something else? All this calls into question his competence
    as a manager (hiring someone to do something so trivial that could have been
    done over a weekend... and asking the developer to use a different platform
    than the claimed "faster/RAD File Maker").

    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    Given what I know about your situation from your original post, and having
    dealt with and observed similar situations; and given the fact that you
    apparently care about this so much as to pursue it with your peers in the
    development community, I suspect that you not only acted in good faith in
    your initial estimate and other dealings with this manager, but I'd also
    suspect that you are the *kind of person* who acts in good faith in general.
    Are you incompetent? I doubt it. Does every developer (including you and me)
    have room to grow in terms of technical proficience? You bet. There's always
    more to know - and no one can know it all.

    So, it's not a question of competence/incompetence - it's a question of
    intent given the facts + how clear the facts were presented + how knowable
    the facts were, and by whom, etc...

    An incompetent programmer cannot get the job done - or requires constant
    supervision and assistance to get anything done. Another hallmark of what
    I'd call an incompetent programmer is someone who builds solutions that are
    not maintainable or unnecessarily difficult to understand or have
    unnecessarily poor runtime performance.

    A good programmer can be easily made to appear incompetent when the
    requirements are changed. It's like saying a sharp-shooter is incompetent
    when the target is constantly being moved. Imagine a high-jumper at the
    olympics going for the world record. If the bar were to be moved as the
    jumper was running toward it or in the act of jumping, then he'd land on his
    rear and appear to be incompetent. How about a Pinata example: We all think
    it's funny to blind-fold someone, give them a stick, and then ask them to
    hit a hanging box full of candy that is being constantly moved. We laugh and
    laugh and laugh. But we don't say that the blind-folded person swinging at
    the moving box is incompetent when they don't hit the target.

    Can a case be made that the manager is incompetent? I think so.

    First, he hired someone for a project that he, himself claims to believe
    could have been done over a weekend.

    Second, he claims that the project could have been completed much faster
    using one product (File Maker) than the one he actually requested you use
    ("anything on the Microsoft Platform").

    Third, he is attempting to diffuse responsibility for something of which he
    is an integral part. He definitely has a significant role in the fact that
    the project was not completed when expected (I believe he is the one who set
    the unrealistic expectation; if he did not actually set the deadline, he did
    not apparently work to manage the expectations of those who did have the
    unrealistic expectation).

    Fourth - he apparently changed requirements mid-stream; the ASP.NET
    front-end wasn't going to happen by the deadline, so switch back to patching
    the Access front end.

    Can a case be made that no one here is incompetent? Sure
    Like presented above, the development process is a process of discovery for
    both parties (the business users and the developers). As discovery proceeds,
    initial estimates must be revised.

    Should you be fired because (1) requirements changed; (2) he didn't have
    complete and accurate information upon which to base his initial estimates;
    (3) was doomed from the start with an unrealistic deadline; (4) he
    obviously does not have a supporting manager?

    This is like asking if a blind-folded child should be punished for not
    hitting a swinging Pinata. Rediculous.

    Good Luck

    Jeff Schaefer
    MCSD, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSE
     
    DebbieG, May 6, 2004
    #5
  6. Xavier Jefferson

    clintonG Guest

    No sh!t. I often do that sort of thing myself and while I sincerely
    appreciate those that do for me and others I still wonder why I
    and others take so much time doing so via NNTP which I
    absolutely consider to be Satan's spawn.

    The next thing I findi disturbing is the way some boob will come
    along and change the subject ;-)

    --
    <%= Clinton Gallagher
    A/E/C Consulting, Web Design, e-Commerce Software Development
    Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin USA
    NET
    URL http://www.metromilwaukee.com/clintongallagher/



    "DebbieG" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Jeff,
    >
    > I am in total awe of your response.
    >
    > Debbie
    >
    > "Jeff Schaefer" <> wrote in message
    > news:%...
    > Xavier,
    >
    > I will tackle your questions in order, followed by my general

    thoughts:
    >
    > > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with

    the
    > user
    > > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of

    the
    > > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?

    >
    > The answer to the question (accomplish x, y, and z in 5 weeks?) is

    not
    > knowable. As an experienced developer, I can say from my own projects

    as
    > well as projects I have participated in as a team member that it is
    > literally impossible to say with certainty how long *any* project will

    take.
    > Development is necessarily a cyclical process in which requirements

    are
    > defined and then implemented; then the requirements are further

    clarified,
    > and then re-implemented. Put another way, development is a *process of
    > discovery* for both the developer(s) and the user(s). Frequently the

    users
    > say "I need X and Y". And you as a developer say, "sure - 5 weeks, no
    > problem". Then as you implement X and Y, you make discoveries about

    what X
    > and Y really are or what it takes to make them happen - and go back to

    the
    > user for further clarification. Often times the user will respond

    something
    > like "oh, yes, of course - it's not Y that I need, it's Z. Well at

    that
    > point, your origina ("5 weeks - sure") response is no longer valid

    because
    > you're now dealing with the need to implement X and Z - or X, Y and X,

    or X
    > and some combination of Y and Z. You get the idea. The requirements

    evolved
    > as a result of both the developer and/or the users discovering (1)

    what is
    > really needed, or (2) what it actually takes to implement the original
    > requirements. This abstracted scenario can be seen in real-life

    projects all
    > the time. It is the norm. The exception is the project for which the
    > requirements are (1) prefectly understood by the user/requester, (2)
    > perfectly communicated to the developer, and (3) implemented perfectly

    by
    > the developer - after which the user (4) accepts the project as it is,

    with
    > no additional requirements. I've never seen or heard of this happening

    in
    > over 10 years of consulting for dozens of large and small companies,

    the US
    > government, and non profits.
    >
    > Additionally, even on an apparently trivial "mini requirement" (forget

    an
    > entire project) it is difficult to predict with certainty how long it

    will
    > take to implement. Take, for example the requirement to "Add one new

    column
    > to an existing table in an MS Access mdb database". The knee-jerk

    response
    > is "10 minutes max" - including time to locate the mdb file on the

    network,
    > open it up, open the table in design view, add the column, specify the
    > column name, data type, and close the mdb file). Well, what if your

    table
    > has 254 columns in it already. Adding the additional column is not

    possible.
    > Suddenly your 10-minute "mini requirement" just got really big, as

    you'll
    > have to now (1) create a 2nd table (2) add any necessary key columns

    to the
    > new 2nd table, (3) possibly move some columns from the orignial first

    table
    > over to the new table in order to make room for new key columns in the

    first
    > table so that you can join the two tables together logically (and
    > physically). Then because you've had to reorganize the table

    structures,
    > you've just broken all the queries that referenced the original table,

    and
    > you'd have to rebuild all of those, and on and on it goes. You get the
    > point. Even for a "mini requirement" it can sometimes legitimately

    take far
    > longer than originally estimated. Note that this scenario says nothing

    about
    > the competence of the developer who is doing the work. The developer

    could
    > be the best in the world, and the mini-requirement could still take

    far
    > longer than initially estimated.
    >
    > There are a number of ligitimate reasons why a project may take longer

    than
    > estimated. An incompetent developer is one of the more unlikely

    reasons.
    > Imperfectly understood and/or communicated requirements are the most

    common
    > reason (at least from my observations and experience).
    >
    > I suspect that the original 5-week estimate in your situation was a

    pretty
    > good guess givent the facts *as they were presented to you*. Then, as

    you
    > got into the project, the facts were discovered to be something more

    complex
    > than originally presented to you.
    >
    > Are you to blame for any of this? Perhaps you could have sought

    further
    > clarification - but even if you sought it, was anyone there who could

    really
    > present you with the clarification you needed? If not, then you were

    the
    > only one in the entire world who could possible discover the true

    state of
    > the system and the requriements.
    >
    > Is your manager to blame for any of this? Perhaps he could have

    presented
    > the facts as they really were to you. If he did not, then your 5-week
    > estimate had no chance of being accurate (beyond good luck - which you
    > cannot count on). If he did not present the facts as they really were,

    then
    > we need to under why: perhaps he was not in a position to know;

    perhaps he
    > did know but did not tell you the complete picture; in any case, the

    problem
    > is a lack of clarity. In either case, it is not fair (nor accurate) to
    > simply blame the programmer for being incompetent when a deadline is

    not met
    > (even if it is overshot by a long time).
    >
    >
    > > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > > development. He's a director, but has limited management training

    and no
    > > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that

    he
    > could
    > > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    > client-server
    > > application?

    >
    > The likelihood is "minimal". Unless you've been there, you cannot

    possibly
    > know what it really takes. You can THINK you know - but unless you've
    > actually done it, you don't really know.
    >
    > You, as a legitimate developer, who has been immersed in the

    "developer
    > community" for some time have a better idea - but even then, you are

    dealing
    > with a unique system, with unique issues. So, even you are not in a

    position
    > to really know what it takes until you jump in and actually get into

    the
    > system. As someone who has been involved in the development scene, you

    are
    > (or should be) well aware that it would not be a trivial undertaking.

    The
    > manager would be in less of a position than you. His lack of expertise

    or
    > experience *as a developer* means that his expectations may be

    unrealistic
    > (because he has little or no familiarity with what it takes).
    >
    > Many network engineers I have worked with over the past 10 years (and

    there
    > have been dozens) all believe that they understand the development

    game even
    > though they have never written code (or have only written trivial code

    or
    > played with File Maker Pro). This "hobbyist experience" provides them

    with
    > the *illusion* that they actually know how to write code and develop.

    Not
    > true. Only after undertaning a substantial project would someone even

    begin
    > to gain an understanding of what it takes to be a developer and what

    it
    > takes to complete non trivial projects - such as your porting project.
    >
    > > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a

    weekend.
    > > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such,

    even for
    > an
    > > experienced developer?

    >
    > His claim is the kind of naive and arrogant commentary we'd expect

    from
    > someone who doesn't know what it actually takes to complete a non

    trivial
    > development project. Second, even if it was true that he could have

    done it
    > in a weekend - then why did he bother to hire a developer? If it were

    truly
    > the trivial undertaking he is making it out to be, then there would be

    no
    > need to hire someone for it. His arrogant comments serve to raise more
    > questions: If File Maker were the platform of choice, then why did he

    ask
    > you to do it in something else? All this calls into question his

    competence
    > as a manager (hiring someone to do something so trivial that could

    have been
    > done over a weekend... and asking the developer to use a different

    platform
    > than the claimed "faster/RAD File Maker").
    >
    > > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    > Given what I know about your situation from your original post, and

    having
    > dealt with and observed similar situations; and given the fact that

    you
    > apparently care about this so much as to pursue it with your peers in

    the
    > development community, I suspect that you not only acted in good faith

    in
    > your initial estimate and other dealings with this manager, but I'd

    also
    > suspect that you are the *kind of person* who acts in good faith in

    general.
    > Are you incompetent? I doubt it. Does every developer (including you

    and me)
    > have room to grow in terms of technical proficience? You bet. There's

    always
    > more to know - and no one can know it all.
    >
    > So, it's not a question of competence/incompetence - it's a question

    of
    > intent given the facts + how clear the facts were presented + how

    knowable
    > the facts were, and by whom, etc...
    >
    > An incompetent programmer cannot get the job done - or requires

    constant
    > supervision and assistance to get anything done. Another hallmark of

    what
    > I'd call an incompetent programmer is someone who builds solutions

    that are
    > not maintainable or unnecessarily difficult to understand or have
    > unnecessarily poor runtime performance.
    >
    > A good programmer can be easily made to appear incompetent when the
    > requirements are changed. It's like saying a sharp-shooter is

    incompetent
    > when the target is constantly being moved. Imagine a high-jumper at

    the
    > olympics going for the world record. If the bar were to be moved as

    the
    > jumper was running toward it or in the act of jumping, then he'd land

    on his
    > rear and appear to be incompetent. How about a Pinata example: We all

    think
    > it's funny to blind-fold someone, give them a stick, and then ask them

    to
    > hit a hanging box full of candy that is being constantly moved. We

    laugh and
    > laugh and laugh. But we don't say that the blind-folded person

    swinging at
    > the moving box is incompetent when they don't hit the target.
    >
    > Can a case be made that the manager is incompetent? I think so.
    >
    > First, he hired someone for a project that he, himself claims to

    believe
    > could have been done over a weekend.
    >
    > Second, he claims that the project could have been completed much

    faster
    > using one product (File Maker) than the one he actually requested you

    use
    > ("anything on the Microsoft Platform").
    >
    > Third, he is attempting to diffuse responsibility for something of

    which he
    > is an integral part. He definitely has a significant role in the fact

    that
    > the project was not completed when expected (I believe he is the one

    who set
    > the unrealistic expectation; if he did not actually set the deadline,

    he did
    > not apparently work to manage the expectations of those who did have

    the
    > unrealistic expectation).
    >
    > Fourth - he apparently changed requirements mid-stream; the ASP.NET
    > front-end wasn't going to happen by the deadline, so switch back to

    patching
    > the Access front end.
    >
    > Can a case be made that no one here is incompetent? Sure
    > Like presented above, the development process is a process of

    discovery for
    > both parties (the business users and the developers). As discovery

    proceeds,
    > initial estimates must be revised.
    >
    > Should you be fired because (1) requirements changed; (2) he didn't

    have
    > complete and accurate information upon which to base his initial

    estimates;
    > (3) was doomed from the start with an unrealistic deadline; (4) he
    > obviously does not have a supporting manager?
    >
    > This is like asking if a blind-folded child should be punished for not
    > hitting a swinging Pinata. Rediculous.
    >
    > Good Luck
    >
    > Jeff Schaefer
    > MCSD, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSE
    >
    >
     
    clintonG, May 6, 2004
    #6
  7. I think Jeff makes a number of valid points. Project estimation is a tough job--just as estimating any job is tough. What makes it harder is not having all of the facts as Jeff points out. However, when I work with customers, I provide a "mentoring" service where I come in an study the problem for several days before any promises are made. This fixed-fee and fixed-time service is akin to a doctor doing a full physical and specific tests before providing a diagnosis or treatment regimen. An important part of this process is getting to know the people that will use the program. They can provide valuable insight as to what it's supposed to do as opposed to how it's described to you by a manager with an agenda. Politics often play an important role in how a system works and observing who is pulling the strings can help. Sometimes the manager wants to farm out the solution to his problems only to prove to his/her manager that it's too hard to do. I also look over the shoulder of the users for a few hours and quietly take notes. I follow that with interviews that focus on some of the issues noted during the day. This step would have told you that the ASP approach would not be appropriate. Getting into the database also helps. This will tell you if it needs a tune-up or CPR. All too often we've seen databases built by what I call "paradevelopers" (Microsoft calls these "hobbyists") with little (or no) technical training.

    Are you incompetent? That's not for me to say. I don't have any evidence except what you told us. Inexperienced? Yes, to some extent but like many new developers you may tend to implement what you're most comfortable with. When you go to a chiropractor with a headache he'll tend to suggest a "manipulation". If you take the same complaint to a neurologist, he'll make plans to buy that condo in Florida.

    I walk away from many mentoring jobs saying, I'm not the right person to solve this problem. I do, however, refer them to someone better equipped to deal with their problem. Knowing when to commit to a project, a timeline, a price and a specicification that lays out the ground rules is the key. Remember, those things that don't kill you make you stronger. You'll do better next time.

    Good luck.


    --
    ____________________________________
    William (Bill) Vaughn
    Author, Mentor, Consultant
    Microsoft MVP
    www.betav.com
    Please reply only to the newsgroup so that others can benefit.
    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    __________________________________

    "Jeff Schaefer" <> wrote in message news:%...
    > Xavier,
    >
    > I will tackle your questions in order, followed by my general thoughts:
    >
    > > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    > user
    > > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?

    >
    > The answer to the question (accomplish x, y, and z in 5 weeks?) is not
    > knowable. As an experienced developer, I can say from my own projects as
    > well as projects I have participated in as a team member that it is
    > literally impossible to say with certainty how long *any* project will take.
    > Development is necessarily a cyclical process in which requirements are
    > defined and then implemented; then the requirements are further clarified,
    > and then re-implemented. Put another way, development is a *process of
    > discovery* for both the developer(s) and the user(s). Frequently the users
    > say "I need X and Y". And you as a developer say, "sure - 5 weeks, no
    > problem". Then as you implement X and Y, you make discoveries about what X
    > and Y really are or what it takes to make them happen - and go back to the
    > user for further clarification. Often times the user will respond something
    > like "oh, yes, of course - it's not Y that I need, it's Z. Well at that
    > point, your origina ("5 weeks - sure") response is no longer valid because
    > you're now dealing with the need to implement X and Z - or X, Y and X, or X
    > and some combination of Y and Z. You get the idea. The requirements evolved
    > as a result of both the developer and/or the users discovering (1) what is
    > really needed, or (2) what it actually takes to implement the original
    > requirements. This abstracted scenario can be seen in real-life projects all
    > the time. It is the norm. The exception is the project for which the
    > requirements are (1) prefectly understood by the user/requester, (2)
    > perfectly communicated to the developer, and (3) implemented perfectly by
    > the developer - after which the user (4) accepts the project as it is, with
    > no additional requirements. I've never seen or heard of this happening in
    > over 10 years of consulting for dozens of large and small companies, the US
    > government, and non profits.
    >
    > Additionally, even on an apparently trivial "mini requirement" (forget an
    > entire project) it is difficult to predict with certainty how long it will
    > take to implement. Take, for example the requirement to "Add one new column
    > to an existing table in an MS Access mdb database". The knee-jerk response
    > is "10 minutes max" - including time to locate the mdb file on the network,
    > open it up, open the table in design view, add the column, specify the
    > column name, data type, and close the mdb file). Well, what if your table
    > has 254 columns in it already. Adding the additional column is not possible.
    > Suddenly your 10-minute "mini requirement" just got really big, as you'll
    > have to now (1) create a 2nd table (2) add any necessary key columns to the
    > new 2nd table, (3) possibly move some columns from the orignial first table
    > over to the new table in order to make room for new key columns in the first
    > table so that you can join the two tables together logically (and
    > physically). Then because you've had to reorganize the table structures,
    > you've just broken all the queries that referenced the original table, and
    > you'd have to rebuild all of those, and on and on it goes. You get the
    > point. Even for a "mini requirement" it can sometimes legitimately take far
    > longer than originally estimated. Note that this scenario says nothing about
    > the competence of the developer who is doing the work. The developer could
    > be the best in the world, and the mini-requirement could still take far
    > longer than initially estimated.
    >
    > There are a number of ligitimate reasons why a project may take longer than
    > estimated. An incompetent developer is one of the more unlikely reasons.
    > Imperfectly understood and/or communicated requirements are the most common
    > reason (at least from my observations and experience).
    >
    > I suspect that the original 5-week estimate in your situation was a pretty
    > good guess givent the facts *as they were presented to you*. Then, as you
    > got into the project, the facts were discovered to be something more complex
    > than originally presented to you.
    >
    > Are you to blame for any of this? Perhaps you could have sought further
    > clarification - but even if you sought it, was anyone there who could really
    > present you with the clarification you needed? If not, then you were the
    > only one in the entire world who could possible discover the true state of
    > the system and the requriements.
    >
    > Is your manager to blame for any of this? Perhaps he could have presented
    > the facts as they really were to you. If he did not, then your 5-week
    > estimate had no chance of being accurate (beyond good luck - which you
    > cannot count on). If he did not present the facts as they really were, then
    > we need to under why: perhaps he was not in a position to know; perhaps he
    > did know but did not tell you the complete picture; in any case, the problem
    > is a lack of clarity. In either case, it is not fair (nor accurate) to
    > simply blame the programmer for being incompetent when a deadline is not met
    > (even if it is overshot by a long time).
    >
    >
    > > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    > could
    > > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    > client-server
    > > application?

    >
    > The likelihood is "minimal". Unless you've been there, you cannot possibly
    > know what it really takes. You can THINK you know - but unless you've
    > actually done it, you don't really know.
    >
    > You, as a legitimate developer, who has been immersed in the "developer
    > community" for some time have a better idea - but even then, you are dealing
    > with a unique system, with unique issues. So, even you are not in a position
    > to really know what it takes until you jump in and actually get into the
    > system. As someone who has been involved in the development scene, you are
    > (or should be) well aware that it would not be a trivial undertaking. The
    > manager would be in less of a position than you. His lack of expertise or
    > experience *as a developer* means that his expectations may be unrealistic
    > (because he has little or no familiarity with what it takes).
    >
    > Many network engineers I have worked with over the past 10 years (and there
    > have been dozens) all believe that they understand the development game even
    > though they have never written code (or have only written trivial code or
    > played with File Maker Pro). This "hobbyist experience" provides them with
    > the *illusion* that they actually know how to write code and develop. Not
    > true. Only after undertaning a substantial project would someone even begin
    > to gain an understanding of what it takes to be a developer and what it
    > takes to complete non trivial projects - such as your porting project.
    >
    > > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    > an
    > > experienced developer?

    >
    > His claim is the kind of naive and arrogant commentary we'd expect from
    > someone who doesn't know what it actually takes to complete a non trivial
    > development project. Second, even if it was true that he could have done it
    > in a weekend - then why did he bother to hire a developer? If it were truly
    > the trivial undertaking he is making it out to be, then there would be no
    > need to hire someone for it. His arrogant comments serve to raise more
    > questions: If File Maker were the platform of choice, then why did he ask
    > you to do it in something else? All this calls into question his competence
    > as a manager (hiring someone to do something so trivial that could have been
    > done over a weekend... and asking the developer to use a different platform
    > than the claimed "faster/RAD File Maker").
    >
    > > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    > Given what I know about your situation from your original post, and having
    > dealt with and observed similar situations; and given the fact that you
    > apparently care about this so much as to pursue it with your peers in the
    > development community, I suspect that you not only acted in good faith in
    > your initial estimate and other dealings with this manager, but I'd also
    > suspect that you are the *kind of person* who acts in good faith in general.
    > Are you incompetent? I doubt it. Does every developer (including you and me)
    > have room to grow in terms of technical proficience? You bet. There's always
    > more to know - and no one can know it all.
    >
    > So, it's not a question of competence/incompetence - it's a question of
    > intent given the facts + how clear the facts were presented + how knowable
    > the facts were, and by whom, etc...
    >
    > An incompetent programmer cannot get the job done - or requires constant
    > supervision and assistance to get anything done. Another hallmark of what
    > I'd call an incompetent programmer is someone who builds solutions that are
    > not maintainable or unnecessarily difficult to understand or have
    > unnecessarily poor runtime performance.
    >
    > A good programmer can be easily made to appear incompetent when the
    > requirements are changed. It's like saying a sharp-shooter is incompetent
    > when the target is constantly being moved. Imagine a high-jumper at the
    > olympics going for the world record. If the bar were to be moved as the
    > jumper was running toward it or in the act of jumping, then he'd land on his
    > rear and appear to be incompetent. How about a Pinata example: We all think
    > it's funny to blind-fold someone, give them a stick, and then ask them to
    > hit a hanging box full of candy that is being constantly moved. We laugh and
    > laugh and laugh. But we don't say that the blind-folded person swinging at
    > the moving box is incompetent when they don't hit the target.
    >
    > Can a case be made that the manager is incompetent? I think so.
    >
    > First, he hired someone for a project that he, himself claims to believe
    > could have been done over a weekend.
    >
    > Second, he claims that the project could have been completed much faster
    > using one product (File Maker) than the one he actually requested you use
    > ("anything on the Microsoft Platform").
    >
    > Third, he is attempting to diffuse responsibility for something of which he
    > is an integral part. He definitely has a significant role in the fact that
    > the project was not completed when expected (I believe he is the one who set
    > the unrealistic expectation; if he did not actually set the deadline, he did
    > not apparently work to manage the expectations of those who did have the
    > unrealistic expectation).
    >
    > Fourth - he apparently changed requirements mid-stream; the ASP.NET
    > front-end wasn't going to happen by the deadline, so switch back to patching
    > the Access front end.
    >
    > Can a case be made that no one here is incompetent? Sure
    > Like presented above, the development process is a process of discovery for
    > both parties (the business users and the developers). As discovery proceeds,
    > initial estimates must be revised.
    >
    > Should you be fired because (1) requirements changed; (2) he didn't have
    > complete and accurate information upon which to base his initial estimates;
    > (3) was doomed from the start with an unrealistic deadline; (4) he
    > obviously does not have a supporting manager?
    >
    > This is like asking if a blind-folded child should be punished for not
    > hitting a swinging Pinata. Rediculous.
    >
    > Good Luck
    >
    > Jeff Schaefer
    > MCSD, MCDBA, MCSA, MCSE
    >
    >
     
    William \(Bill\) Vaughn, May 6, 2004
    #7
  8. Xavier Jefferson

    Rick B Guest

    While it sounds like you had good intentions, my overall feeling is that you
    did not do what you were employed to do (get rid of Access). Working long
    hours without extra pay is admirable, but if it does not lead to the
    ultimate objective, then it is working hard, not working smart.

    As a manager I constantly have to explain to people that all the good
    intentions in the world do not matter if the end result is not met. Also,
    if I am told something will be done in a specified amount of time and it
    does not happen, the project is a failure. I expect my folks to give me
    realistic timelines and set goals that are attainable.

    One last point, you are trying to argue whether or not you are competent.
    The simple fact is that your supervisor's perception (right or wrong) is
    that you are not. This is not a good working situation. You should cut
    your losses and find a place where your talents will be appreciated.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

    Rick B

    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    Community,

    I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering if
    you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I have
    to say vs. my supervisor.

    I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have advanced
    experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and 4.
    I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or even
    distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.

    I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.

    I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local area
    network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    forty tables with foreign key relationships.

    I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in another
    department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    things like data relationships.

    I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so many
    controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.

    I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate this
    into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    been purring ever since.

    My questions, if you please:

    1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the user
    base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?

    2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he could
    really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a client-server
    application?

    3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for an
    experienced developer?

    4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?

    If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and telephone
    number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows that
    there are real people connected to my evidence.

    Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.


    Xavier Jefferson
    Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
     
    Rick B, May 7, 2004
    #8
  9. Xavier Jefferson

    BJ Freeman Guest

    xyz hires you to-do something they have a picture of in their mind. If you
    have probe enough to know they don't know what they are talking about, then
    you must propose a time to evaluate the project, before committing to it.
    If you don't get this walk away.

    The manager, in his mind hired you to accomplish one thing. Get rid of the
    access. If you did not accomplish this you have not met the requirements.
    You could have mediate this by reporting in the first week you finding of
    your evaluation, which is necessary to plan the project. Then you and he
    could have worked out how to accomplish his goal.

    Basically the manger is complaining you made him look bad, and your the
    scape goat.




    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Community,
    >
    > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > things like data relationships.
    >
    > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    > been purring ever since.
    >
    > My questions, if you please:
    >
    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?
    >
    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?
    >
    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    > Xavier Jefferson
    > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
     
    BJ Freeman, May 7, 2004
    #9
  10. Xavier Jefferson

    Timo Guest

    Xavier,
    In light of your boss's instructions to you to use "a Microsoft
    tool" and his express desire to get "rid" of the Access
    application, his bringing in FileMaker Pro's putative RAD
    capabilities and his own skills with that tool as evidence of your
    alleged incompetence is both irrelevant and unfair. FileMaker is
    not a Microsoft tool. And what are the Microsoft counterparts to
    FileMaker Pro? Access and FoxPro.

    Where you seem to me to have miscalculated, is in thinking you
    could successfully convert in only 5 man-weeks (plus whatever
    overtime your were willing to work) a project of the described
    scope: 8 tabbed pages containing ~15 controls each, bound to a 40-
    table SQL Server database via undocumented client-side queries,
    where the original application apparently had bugs or was not
    functioning as expected. It could be that some of those queries
    were flawed and would require investigation. Was there any client-
    side enforcement of business rules? Was the server enforcing the
    referential integrity?

    Perhaps you would have had a slighly greater chance of timely
    success by converting the thing to Access ADP. That would have let
    you focus on the logic of the app without having to spend so much
    time on the custom databinding classes and presentation layer. But
    to begin to judge the situation really requires that we know if
    your boss wanted to get rid of Access entirely, or simply wanted
    to get rid of the problems arising from the original two-tiered
    client-side implementation, whatever those problems were.

    However, it's quite evident to me, from your description of the
    situation, that you are not an incompetent developer. If there is
    incompetency to be found in this situation, it is in the arbitrary
    deadline of 5 man-weeks to fix a broken application of this scope.
    Regards
    Timo
    P.S. I've been developing multi-user database applications since
    1985 (shared CPU mainframe with dumb terminals, DOS shared-file
    networked apps, networked Access.MDB apps, Access ADP against SQL
    Server, VB 2-tier and 3-tier client-server apps against Oracle and
    SQL Server, and most recently .NET WinForms and ASP.NET. Also
    earning today only about 35% of what I earned throughout the
    1990s.

    In article <>,
    writes...
    >Community,
    >
    >I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    >not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    >dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering if
    >you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    >There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I have
    >to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    >I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have advanced
    >experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    >2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and 4.
    >I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    >Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    >product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or even
    >distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    >I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    >starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    >he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    >whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    >was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    >I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    >August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    >front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local area
    >network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    >specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    >forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    >I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    >reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    >design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    >form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    >pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    >tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    >local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in another
    >department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    >things like data relationships.
    >
    >I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    >set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    >Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    >same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    >Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so many
    >controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    >I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    >hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    >basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    >to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate this
    >into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    >ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    >been purring ever since.
    >
    >My questions, if you please:
    >
    >1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    >platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the user
    >base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    >front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    >2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    >development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    >exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he could
    >really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a client-server
    >application?
    >
    >3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    >application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    >Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for an
    >experienced developer?
    >
    >4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    >If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and telephone
    >number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows that
    >there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    >Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    >Xavier Jefferson
    >Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
    >
     
    Timo, May 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Xavier Jefferson

    BJ Freeman Guest

    I am looking to augment manpower for SQL 7 server and ADP. only Stored
    procedure used in ADP.

    We will eventually be converting to

    postgresql and Java interface.

    email me if you interested.

    "Timo" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Xavier,
    > In light of your boss's instructions to you to use "a Microsoft
    > tool" and his express desire to get "rid" of the Access
    > application, his bringing in FileMaker Pro's putative RAD
    > capabilities and his own skills with that tool as evidence of your
    > alleged incompetence is both irrelevant and unfair. FileMaker is
    > not a Microsoft tool. And what are the Microsoft counterparts to
    > FileMaker Pro? Access and FoxPro.
    >
    > Where you seem to me to have miscalculated, is in thinking you
    > could successfully convert in only 5 man-weeks (plus whatever
    > overtime your were willing to work) a project of the described
    > scope: 8 tabbed pages containing ~15 controls each, bound to a 40-
    > table SQL Server database via undocumented client-side queries,
    > where the original application apparently had bugs or was not
    > functioning as expected. It could be that some of those queries
    > were flawed and would require investigation. Was there any client-
    > side enforcement of business rules? Was the server enforcing the
    > referential integrity?
    >
    > Perhaps you would have had a slighly greater chance of timely
    > success by converting the thing to Access ADP. That would have let
    > you focus on the logic of the app without having to spend so much
    > time on the custom databinding classes and presentation layer. But
    > to begin to judge the situation really requires that we know if
    > your boss wanted to get rid of Access entirely, or simply wanted
    > to get rid of the problems arising from the original two-tiered
    > client-side implementation, whatever those problems were.
    >
    > However, it's quite evident to me, from your description of the
    > situation, that you are not an incompetent developer. If there is
    > incompetency to be found in this situation, it is in the arbitrary
    > deadline of 5 man-weeks to fix a broken application of this scope.
    > Regards
    > Timo
    > P.S. I've been developing multi-user database applications since
    > 1985 (shared CPU mainframe with dumb terminals, DOS shared-file
    > networked apps, networked Access.MDB apps, Access ADP against SQL
    > Server, VB 2-tier and 3-tier client-server apps against Oracle and
    > SQL Server, and most recently .NET WinForms and ASP.NET. Also
    > earning today only about 35% of what I earned throughout the
    > 1990s.
    >
    > In article <>,
    > writes...
    > >Community,
    > >
    > >I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > >not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > >dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > >you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my

    argument?
    > >There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > >to say vs. my supervisor.
    > >
    > >I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > >experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > >2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > >I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > >Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > >product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > >distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    > >
    > >I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > >starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then

    that
    > >he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > >whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as

    it
    > >was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    > >
    > >I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place

    by
    > >August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > >front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > >network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > >specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of

    about
    > >forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    > >
    > >I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > >reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > >design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > >form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > >pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > >tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > >local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > >department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > >things like data relationships.
    > >
    > >I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > >set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > >Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with

    the
    > >same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > >Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > >controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    > >
    > >I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > >hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > >basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data

    available
    > >to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > >into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > >ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and

    it's
    > >been purring ever since.
    > >
    > >My questions, if you please:
    > >
    > >1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > >platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > >base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > >front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    > >
    > >2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > >development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > >exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > >really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > >application?
    > >
    > >3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > >application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > >Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > >experienced developer?
    > >
    > >4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    > >
    > >If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > >number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > >there are real people connected to my evidence.
    > >
    > >Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    > >
    > >
    > >Xavier Jefferson
    > >Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    > >
    > >
    > >
     
    BJ Freeman, May 8, 2004
    #11
  12. Xavier Jefferson

    Earl Guest

    Your only "incompetence" was in making assurances that you could meet the
    deadline, "sink or swim" -- particularly since there were so many unknown
    variables. I have made that mistake myself in the past.

    Another mistake was trying to develop in new technologies in order to
    increase the functionality that the client would gain in the long run. I
    have made that mistake also. In your case, it was shooting craps with all
    your assests on the pass line. If you could have pulled it off, you would've
    looked like a guru -- failing, you look like an incompetent. Management
    never sees the myriad issues involved in even a "simple" project and your
    performance is usually only noted in its absence -- and then its REALLY
    noted.

    Man is fundamentally an optimist -- it is this trait that developers have to
    strongly resist when presented with such challenges and asked, "how long"?
    In your case, I would build a defense around your over-optimism and the
    unknown issues that sprang to life. I hope you documented your work.

    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Community,
    >
    > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > things like data relationships.
    >
    > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    > been purring ever since.
    >
    > My questions, if you please:
    >
    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?
    >
    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?
    >
    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    > Xavier Jefferson
    > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
     
    Earl, May 10, 2004
    #12
  13. Xavier Jefferson

    Ron Hinds Guest

    I saw a lot of good suggestions, etc. here. Just wanted to throw in my
    observations. The trap I believe you fell into was when the manager, rather
    than saying "here is the problem - fix it" tried to offer the solution,
    i.e., "get rid of Access". Which is why you wasted time on a .NET
    "solution", when in the end it appeared that Access was not the problem,
    after all. Whenever I am approached by someone saying to me "this is what
    you need to do" I immediately respond by saying "what's the problem?" Then,
    I come up with my own solution, which may or may not be the same as the
    requester proposed. After all, *you* are the professional developer, the one
    who is paid to come up with the solutions. If the manager was *really*
    capable of solving the problem, he would have done so.

    That being said, from your post it appears that you are both intelligent and
    articulate, therefore *probably* not incompetent. Also, I am quite certain
    that the manager could *not* have recreated the app in a single weekend! Not
    even in FileMaker Pro... ;-)

    "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Community,
    >
    > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering

    if
    > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    have
    > to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    advanced
    > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and

    4.
    > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    even
    > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    area
    > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    another
    > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > things like data relationships.
    >
    > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    many
    > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    this
    > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    > been purring ever since.
    >
    > My questions, if you please:
    >
    > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    user
    > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    could
    > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    client-server
    > application?
    >
    > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for

    an
    > experienced developer?
    >
    > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    telephone
    > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    that
    > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    > Xavier Jefferson
    > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
     
    Ron Hinds, May 11, 2004
    #13
  14. Xavier Jefferson

    AlexS Guest

    Xavier,

    you're in trouble. Sorry to say that, however my experience insists that if
    super wants to fire you, it will happen sooner or later.
    Instead of concentrating on technical issues (this guy would never deliver
    stable release in 5 weeks - at least I did not see such supervisors in my
    life) - better concentrate on friends and good connections.

    In principle if problem is dismissal, I see 2 possible outcomes and one is
    not very probable - either you, either your supervisor. Hence the
    conclusion.

    I know it is not optimistic enough, however, when you start to retaliate by
    enumerating your past achievements, you lose face. That's harsh reality -
    most managers consider references to past as lame whining. You can overcome
    this with either demonstrating that your super is incompetent in most
    obvious manner as possible, either by taking part of blame and trying to
    stabilize situation for nearest future. However, super who wants to fire you
    is personal enemy - and you must take this into account. Whatever you'll
    do - overtime, heroic efforts, genius solutions - will weigh nothing against
    personal grudge.

    I am not saying that war is worth the effort. Unfortunately sometimes it is
    necessary. So think, what kind of weapons and defenses you have. Question is
    not .Net, Access or other technical issues - question is personal
    relationships. Try to elaborate plan of war - where you can show to higher
    management that super is not what he/she seems to be, how to avoid personal
    clashes, which usually make bad impression on external participants and how
    you can take super place. If you have some friend on top - talk and maybe
    even document your decisions and reasons why you did not succeed and what
    was done wrong.

    Finally, you will lose - 99.99% - so, be ready for this. Just don't do
    anything stupid - try to keep good memories of you in the team. And if there
    is no team - what for to suffer? Spend the remaining time trying to find
    another and better one - and don't be shy to tell everybody why you are
    doing this. Truth is most precious thing in this world. However, I am not
    God, so, please don't take that literally.

    And final note - most managers are not able to come with solutions. I mean
    technical. It's a bit different psychology - to develop something and to
    manage developers or people in general. So, take this into account too. As
    soon as you start understanding motives of your super - you might find
    winning position. In any case try to understand why it happened at all. If
    super personally dislikes you - for pimples or bad breath - you can do
    nothing. But understanding might help you to fight back with some
    satisfaction.

    Not much help, huh? But this is fight and you have to fight - if you want
    it, of course. Just be intelligent and use your biggest muscle - brain.

    HTH
    Alex


    "Ron Hinds" <__NoSpam@__NoSpamramac.com> wrote in message
    news:%...
    > I saw a lot of good suggestions, etc. here. Just wanted to throw in my
    > observations. The trap I believe you fell into was when the manager,

    rather
    > than saying "here is the problem - fix it" tried to offer the solution,
    > i.e., "get rid of Access". Which is why you wasted time on a .NET
    > "solution", when in the end it appeared that Access was not the problem,
    > after all. Whenever I am approached by someone saying to me "this is what
    > you need to do" I immediately respond by saying "what's the problem?"

    Then,
    > I come up with my own solution, which may or may not be the same as the
    > requester proposed. After all, *you* are the professional developer, the

    one
    > who is paid to come up with the solutions. If the manager was *really*
    > capable of solving the problem, he would have done so.
    >
    > That being said, from your post it appears that you are both intelligent

    and
    > articulate, therefore *probably* not incompetent. Also, I am quite certain
    > that the manager could *not* have recreated the app in a single weekend!

    Not
    > even in FileMaker Pro... ;-)
    >
    > "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > Community,
    > >
    > > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who

    is
    > > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district).

    Wondering
    > if
    > > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my

    argument?
    > > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    > have
    > > to say vs. my supervisor.
    > >
    > > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    > advanced
    > > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1

    to
    > > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3

    and
    > 4.
    > > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a

    shareware
    > > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    > even
    > > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    > >
    > > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then

    that
    > > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    > > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as

    it
    > > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    > >
    > > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place

    by
    > > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    > > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    > area
    > > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of

    about
    > > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    > >
    > > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    > > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    > > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of

    one
    > > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    > > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    > > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    > another
    > > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    > > things like data relationships.
    > >
    > > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim.

    I
    > > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    > > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with

    the
    > > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    > many
    > > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    > >
    > > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime.

    I
    > > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was

    used -
    > > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data

    available
    > > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate

    > this
    > > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later,

    I
    > > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and

    it's
    > > been purring ever since.
    > >
    > > My questions, if you please:
    > >
    > > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the

    > user
    > > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    > > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    > >
    > > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and

    no
    > > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    > could
    > > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    > client-server
    > > application?
    > >
    > > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    > > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even

    for
    > an
    > > experienced developer?
    > >
    > > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    > >
    > > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    > telephone
    > > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    > that
    > > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    > >
    > > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    > >
    > >
    > > Xavier Jefferson
    > > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    AlexS, May 12, 2004
    #14
  15. Xavier Jefferson

    AlexS Guest

    By the way, if you really need to talk to me - send me personal email -
    remove NOSPAMPLEASE from my address.

    Rgds
    Alex

    "AlexS" <> wrote in message
    news:OR$...
    > Xavier,
    >
    > you're in trouble. Sorry to say that, however my experience insists that

    if
    > super wants to fire you, it will happen sooner or later.
    > Instead of concentrating on technical issues (this guy would never deliver
    > stable release in 5 weeks - at least I did not see such supervisors in my
    > life) - better concentrate on friends and good connections.
    >
    > In principle if problem is dismissal, I see 2 possible outcomes and one is
    > not very probable - either you, either your supervisor. Hence the
    > conclusion.
    >
    > I know it is not optimistic enough, however, when you start to retaliate

    by
    > enumerating your past achievements, you lose face. That's harsh reality -
    > most managers consider references to past as lame whining. You can

    overcome
    > this with either demonstrating that your super is incompetent in most
    > obvious manner as possible, either by taking part of blame and trying to
    > stabilize situation for nearest future. However, super who wants to fire

    you
    > is personal enemy - and you must take this into account. Whatever you'll
    > do - overtime, heroic efforts, genius solutions - will weigh nothing

    against
    > personal grudge.
    >
    > I am not saying that war is worth the effort. Unfortunately sometimes it

    is
    > necessary. So think, what kind of weapons and defenses you have. Question

    is
    > not .Net, Access or other technical issues - question is personal
    > relationships. Try to elaborate plan of war - where you can show to higher
    > management that super is not what he/she seems to be, how to avoid

    personal
    > clashes, which usually make bad impression on external participants and

    how
    > you can take super place. If you have some friend on top - talk and maybe
    > even document your decisions and reasons why you did not succeed and what
    > was done wrong.
    >
    > Finally, you will lose - 99.99% - so, be ready for this. Just don't do
    > anything stupid - try to keep good memories of you in the team. And if

    there
    > is no team - what for to suffer? Spend the remaining time trying to find
    > another and better one - and don't be shy to tell everybody why you are
    > doing this. Truth is most precious thing in this world. However, I am not
    > God, so, please don't take that literally.
    >
    > And final note - most managers are not able to come with solutions. I mean
    > technical. It's a bit different psychology - to develop something and to
    > manage developers or people in general. So, take this into account too. As
    > soon as you start understanding motives of your super - you might find
    > winning position. In any case try to understand why it happened at all. If
    > super personally dislikes you - for pimples or bad breath - you can do
    > nothing. But understanding might help you to fight back with some
    > satisfaction.
    >
    > Not much help, huh? But this is fight and you have to fight - if you want
    > it, of course. Just be intelligent and use your biggest muscle - brain.
    >
    > HTH
    > Alex
    >
    >
    > "Ron Hinds" <__NoSpam@__NoSpamramac.com> wrote in message
    > news:%...
    > > I saw a lot of good suggestions, etc. here. Just wanted to throw in my
    > > observations. The trap I believe you fell into was when the manager,

    > rather
    > > than saying "here is the problem - fix it" tried to offer the solution,
    > > i.e., "get rid of Access". Which is why you wasted time on a .NET
    > > "solution", when in the end it appeared that Access was not the problem,
    > > after all. Whenever I am approached by someone saying to me "this is

    what
    > > you need to do" I immediately respond by saying "what's the problem?"

    > Then,
    > > I come up with my own solution, which may or may not be the same as the
    > > requester proposed. After all, *you* are the professional developer, the

    > one
    > > who is paid to come up with the solutions. If the manager was *really*
    > > capable of solving the problem, he would have done so.
    > >
    > > That being said, from your post it appears that you are both intelligent

    > and
    > > articulate, therefore *probably* not incompetent. Also, I am quite

    certain
    > > that the manager could *not* have recreated the app in a single weekend!

    > Not
    > > even in FileMaker Pro... ;-)
    > >
    > > "Xavier Jefferson" <> wrote in message
    > > news:...
    > > > Community,
    > > >
    > > > I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who

    > is
    > > > not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    > > > dismissal from a public entity (a California school district).

    > Wondering
    > > if
    > > > you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my

    > argument?
    > > > There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I

    > > have
    > > > to say vs. my supervisor.
    > > >
    > > > I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have

    > > advanced
    > > > experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1

    > to
    > > > 2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3

    > and
    > > 4.
    > > > I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    > > > Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a

    > shareware
    > > > product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or

    > > even
    > > > distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    > > >
    > > > I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    > > > starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then

    > that
    > > > he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and

    that
    > > > whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long

    as
    > it
    > > > was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    > > >
    > > > I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take

    place
    > by
    > > > August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an

    Access
    > > > front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local

    > > area
    > > > network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    > > > specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of

    > about
    > > > forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    > > >
    > > > I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly

    to
    > > > reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the

    existing
    > > > design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of

    > one
    > > > form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and

    those
    > > > pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    > > > tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of

    slow-running
    > > > local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in

    > > another
    > > > department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble

    understanding
    > > > things like data relationships.
    > > >
    > > > I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim.

    > I
    > > > set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to

    mirror
    > > > Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with

    > the
    > > > same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    > > > Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so

    > > many
    > > > controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    > > >
    > > > I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime.

    > I
    > > > hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was

    > used -
    > > > basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data

    > available
    > > > to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't

    incorporate
    > > this
    > > > into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks

    later,
    > I
    > > > ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and

    > it's
    > > > been purring ever since.
    > > >
    > > > My questions, if you please:
    > > >
    > > > 1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    > > > platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with

    the
    > > user
    > > > base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of

    the
    > > > front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    > > >
    > > > 2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    > > > development. He's a director, but has limited management training and

    > no
    > > > exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he

    > > could
    > > > really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a

    > > client-server
    > > > application?
    > > >
    > > > 3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    > > > application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a

    weekend.
    > > > Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even

    > for
    > > an
    > > > experienced developer?
    > > >
    > > > 4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    > > >
    > > > If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and

    > > telephone
    > > > number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows

    > > that
    > > > there are real people connected to my evidence.
    > > >
    > > > Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > Xavier Jefferson
    > > > Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    > > >
    > > >

    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    AlexS, May 12, 2004
    #15
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