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December 21, 2006 / Bob Black

The Developer Duel

Bart, a senior architect for ExtraSpiffy Consultants, strolled through the cube farm, coffee cup in hand, over to see the new guy.

“Hi”, he said cordially, “you must be Cliff. I’m Bart, one of the architects. We desperately needed some extra help around here. Glad to have you aboard.”

“Hey, thanks. Good to be here. I guess you know today’s my first day. I’m just looking through the design specs for the CliffWorks project – trying to get the lay of the land.”

“So what do you think? Ever worked in a full life-cycle shop before?”, queried Bart, feeling him out. Should he be impressed? Or intimidated?

“Oh, I’ve worked in a variety of environments,” Cliff offered nonchalantly. “For about eight months I worked in a team that used a mixture of Agile and a few customized internal approaches, and I gained a bit of exposure to XP while I was at SuperCorp. Believe me, I’d rather work in a structured environment any day.”

“Oh yeah?”, Bart said, trying to think fast. “We use Waterfall here,” he blurted, ” with Test-Driven Development. The old TDD as I like to call it.” Bart tried to laugh, but it sounded more like a whimper.

“No kidding? I just spoke to the Director of Software Development and I believe he said you guys were moving towards a RUP based process model.” Cliff flipped the words out as he rocked back in his chair, slowly and deliberately crossing his arms. He was obviously ready for a developer duel.

“Oh yeah, yeah, I think I heard something about that too. But we’re not quite there yet. We still need buy-in from some of the architects,”  Bart replied as vaguely as possible, anxious now to move the subject along to more familiar territory. “Hey, have you had a chance to review the source for the WingTip module that you’ll be working on?”

 “No, not yet. But I plan to before I attend my first status meeting tomorrow. Anything I should be on the lookout for before I dive in?”

“Yeah, we’re interested in modifying the design to use the Model-View-Controller pattern, but a few of us think the time required to implement the necessary changes isn’t worth the expected benefits. After looking at the code I’m sure you’ll notice there are several problems, mostly performance related. Whether we use MVC or not, some changes are definitely in order.” Bart looked down his nose at Cliff as he continued, “I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to proceed.”

Cliff opened up a box and began pulling out book after book on design techniques and design patterns, which he slowly and methodically stacked on his cubicle shelves.

“Sure, no problem! I’ll be totally prepared by tomorrow.” 

And away Bart scurried, taking solace in the fact that there would be another day, another time, for another developer duel.

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