Developer

Promises and Delivery

Over the past month or so I have had to deal that section of society where time seems to flow in a completely different fashion - van drivers.

Over the past month or so I have had to deal that section of society where time seems to flow in a completely different fashion - van drivers.

You know the type, the people that deliver furniture, paint your house or clean your carpets. These are the sort of people that you book in for "early in the morning" which is supposed to mean between 8:30 and 9:30 but which in the view of reality that they live in, actually means "if we appear before lunchtime you are going great!"

On more than one occasion this has happened to me, in fact I am yet to see or hear of a van driver being on time, or even get a phone call informing that they will be late. It's frustrating, it's a waste of time to wait around, but most of all it is completely unprofessional.

The problem is that van drivers are not isolated to the road, they appear elsewhere — in offices, behind computers, sometimes writing software.

What is the difference between a driver telling me that he will be here at 9 sharp but doesn't arrive until 11 and a developer telling me that the latest feature will be delivered within two weeks but we finally see it after four weeks?

Not a damn thing.

The ongoing discussions about whether programmers are blue collar and white collar occur because over-promising and under-delivery happens. Yes as a programmer you get treated like dirt. Yes, you deserve more respect than you get. But you don't deserve that respect until you earn it.

Next time you commence a project, remember what it was like the last time the delivery guy didn't show up and left you sitting there in an empty house for two hours, then arrived in a banged up ute and commenced to chip and bang up your furniture.

Chances are if your code is late, looks shoddy, is full of bugs and you have left people uninformed the entire time — then you too are a van driver and you will garner the same amount of respect.

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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