Guerrilla Developers

Not sure I like the punchline but the story is real.

Once upon a time there was a project, pretty bad one actually. The were big performance and stability issues. The were no docs about functionality whatsoever. The code base quality was disastrous. There was even a local framework implemented that dealt with mapping java classes and fields into database tables via annotations (hmmm… this kind of framework does sound familiar…)

Several smart developers where thrown into this project. Officially, they didn’t have time for technology upgrades because new clients were waiting for this software. Developers couldn’t deal with the crap they ended up with. They started guerrilla development. All the efforts occurred under the radar: refactoring, automated testing, improving migration scripts, performance & debugging capabilities. They were stealing work hours, cheating on estimates, doing 2AM check-ins, staying late at work, etc.

After ~1 year of guerrilla development developers finally sorted out the project. Cost of introducing new features was reduced substantially, migrating new clients was blind fast, there were very little bugs, fixing & patching the production system was quick & easy.

Higher management was very happy with the quality of the product. The project was doing well and apparently it didn’t need so many developers to maintain it. So they rewarded developers… by transferring them into even worse project. The project was bigger, uglier and had large number of existing team members that stopped caring long time ago. Half year passed and there is no sign of improvement. Guerrilla developers are pretty much disillusioned because there is no groove in the team for sneaky improvements plus they still remember the reward after fixing similar project last time…

14 Responses to Guerrilla Developers

  1. Bartosz says:

    I don’t get the story, I mean – where’s the conclusion?

  2. Jeff Santini says:

    The conclusion is don’t do work under the radar if you want to be rewarded for it.


    Don’t expect others to change their behavior based on your activities if your activities are not visible.

  3. Vishnu says:

    haha, you’re right, it is depressing. But I guess the lesson is that everyone needs some management/communication skillz. Don’t do stuff under the radar. Buy the time from management and use it.

  4. bickle says:

    Lol. That’s reality as I see it. Agile has made it worse for the guerrillas, though for more fun for the “others” promoting the methodology and moving onto the next project. The “others” rarely reap what was sown.

    But, hey: job security man! Viva la Revolution!!

  5. just a me says:

    This story could have ended another way as well: project started to generate revenue, so a rewrite using a completely new team was scheduled, and tho do-gooders were stuck fixing old crap for ever.

  6. Higor says:

    Hiwe are looking for a great place to trvael next monnth.Where Erin & Mike have been feels very safe and great food.Thanks Linda and Ken

  7. Tania says:

    Would you happen to have any famliy photo’s that were taken in Sterling that you would be willing to share? I live in Sterling and am interested in the history. Any photo’s that also include buildings are of interest.I remember your Aunt Francis and Uncle Dugan and Butch, they lived down the road from me when I was growing up.

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  9. No complaints on this end, simply a good piece.

  10. Trivhonia says:

    maybe it’s title this because from the psiecre moment she was attacked it will be forever Inevitable that she will question her every move, look over her shoulder at every sound, fear every stranger who comes near her, it will be Inevitable that she will live her entire life in fear of the unknown.

  11. That’s a knowing answer to a difficult question

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