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Dr John Hawkins

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And the winner is...

Posted on 2008/05/31 12:06:49 (May 2008).

[Friday 30th May]
We've been having a two week bug fix offensive at work on my project, which accounts for some of the long hours I've been putting in recently. Just for fun we've been keeping a scoreboard of who has put in the best performance - a scoring system based on number of bugs fixed, priority of those bugs, how well tested the fixes are, and so on.

....and guess who scored highest? Yes, I'm pleased to (somewhat immodestly) report that it was me - out of something like 50 engineers. Yes, apologies for being sickeningly big headed but I really do feel rather proud of myself.

It's slightly ironic because at my previous company they'd done similar things, and I'd actually made a complaint about it at the time, as I didn't think it was a fair way to evaluate software engineers. I suppose the difference at my current employer is that they emphasize the "for fun" part (at my previous company I was convinced this sort of thing factored into annual review scores) and we also recognise a number of "winners" here - not just the total number of bugs fixed, but also the person who has tackled the single hardest bug, the longest standing bug, and so on.

It's quite unlike my usual self, but I'd actually found the competitive spirit really invigorating, and whilst most software engineers will tell you bug fixing is one of the worst parts of the job, I've actually thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks. It's a great feeling to be able to just "get things done" and have a very clear record of progress as I've gone along, and not be nagged by other people that I'm not working on the right thing, or not getting it done quickly enough.

I am increasingly finding that the more I can attach metrics to things, the better I can manage them - probably the worst situation for me is having a huge and poorly defined task for which it is difficult to know how to proceed, and difficult to know how much you've achieved when you do get anything done. My PhD being a prime example of this of course. This may all sound stupidly obvious to some people, but to me it has been something of an epiphany in recent months.

Anyway, at the end of the day there was the usual end-of-the-week beer and pizza. This evening I stayed there for quite a while - until about 8:30 - chewing the cud with my colleagues.

Back at the flat Chie made a very nice tomato and mozzarella salad, followed by spaghetti for dinner. I then spent the remainder of the evening on the computer, tying up a few work related odds and ends.

Comment 1

John, I hope you didn't cheat by lacing the code with 'bugs' over the last year so you can heroically fix them and save the day :)

Posted by Kev at 2008/05/31 14:50:06.

Comment 2

Of course not!

Posted by John at 2008/05/31 16:33:21.

Comment 3

Nigel: Actually that's exactly what happened, but John will never admit it, actually I have heard a rumour that he got his PhD redeeming it with Tesco's fidelity scheme points... :D

Posted by Lox at 2008/06/01 09:11:47.

Comment 4

Sheri: did you mean to address that comment to Kev?

Posted by John at 2008/06/01 09:47:40.

Comment 5

Actually yes I should have address it to Kev, but it's not Sheri writing it's me... LOX!

Posted by Lox at 2008/06/01 12:29:11.

Comment 6


Posted by Sheri at 2008/06/02 06:29:49.

Comment 7

Lol, oh dear, Lox I think that was a John joke! He was taking the piss.

Posted by Kev at 2008/06/02 08:22:19.

Comment 8

Yes that was indeed a deliberate joke, well spotted Travis.

Posted by John at 2008/06/02 09:55:24.

Comment 9


Posted by Lox at 2008/06/02 17:31:06.

Comment 10

Don't be ridiculous Bryan, Raj never writes anything on the 'Maison.

Posted by John at 2008/06/02 22:04:41.

Comment 11

Yeah nice try JOYCE!!!

Posted by Lox at 2008/06/02 22:07:12.

Comment 12

And they say I'm childish...!

Posted by Sheri at 2008/06/03 16:23:44.

Comment 13

Who did, Sheri? I'll get 'em for you!!!! ;)

Hey, well-done John! I haven't had a comparable accolade with my present employer, but the District Manager did tell me I could call him by his first name rather than the more formal title-surname etc. Hmmmm. Then I started to get suspicious... Did this mean I was being set-up for the chop?!?!?! (:D :D :D :D :D I should be so lucky!!!!)

Posted by Nigel at 2008/06/04 21:39:49.

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