Rocks into Gold: Part 2

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Summary:
This short book, written by Clarke Ching, is a "biztech" parable for software developers who want to survive—and then thrive—through a credit crunch. We have republished the book in a four-part series. In part two, Bob, Bill, and Sam discover how a rocky economy can flip project costs and return on investments and how much money could be lost by canning the FBU project. Can they use these projections to save the project and their jobs?

Read "Rocks into Gold" Part 1

Yes, but ...
Bob turned back to his computer, reread Peter Prince's email, and then fired up his word processor. It seemed utterly pointless now, but he needed to update some of the FBU project documentation based on Peter's email.

A few moments later, his interoffice messaging software flashed at him, indicating a new message. He clicked on the flashing icon and the message popped up. It was from Billy. It simply said, "Bollocks!"

Billy sat in the cubical opposite Bob, but he preferred communication via keyboard rather than via lip.

Bob stood up just enough so that he could see Billy on the other side of the cubicle divider and asked, "What's wrong Billy?"

Billy didn't look up. Instead, he typed faster.

Bob wasn't offended. Billy wasn't being rude; he was just being Billy. Billy was a modern manlots of friends all around the world, and, thanks to the Internet, the ability to interact with them without ever having to talk to them. In fact, Billy held celebrity status amongst some of the more technically inclined Internet tribes, where he was known as BinaryBilly.

Bob sat down again and waited a couple of seconds until the new message popped up. "What Sam said is bollocks. MegaCorp aren't canceling FBU because people won't buy it. That just doesn't compute." Billy obviously had been listening in to Bob and Sam's discussion.

Bob replied, "Why'd u say that?" "The people on the news say this recession might last a year, perhaps two at most, and then things will start to pick up. You and I know that FBU won't be on sale for at least eighteen months. By the time it does ship, things are likely to be picking up."

Hmm, thought Bob. That makes sense.

Another message popped up. "IMNSHO, MegaCorp would be crazy to cancel FBU now. They'd be far better off continuing with the project and launching it, as planned, when the bad times turn good again." Billy has a point. Bob wrote back, "So, why are they really canceling the project?"

"It must be because they're stupid."

Bob knew that wasn't true. He had been dealing with them for years, and they weren't stupid.

He picked up his phone.

Cash Shortage "Peter Prince speaking."

Bob said hello, made an appropriate amount of small talk, and then got to the point.

"Why are MegaCorp really canceling FBU?"

About the author

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching

An independent consultant and regular columnist on StickyMinds.com, Clarke Ching is a passionate advocate of agile software development and a chairman of the AgileScotland special interest group. He is the author of the book Rolling Rocks Downhill, in which he demonstrates how to use lean, quality, and agile techniques to make your projects more productive and predictable. Read more about Clarke's work at www.clarkeching.com.

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