Forbidden Words for Developers

One of the worst plagues in society is hitting developers’ communities everywhere. It is not the swine flu. It is the CMAL syndrome. I think I might have caught it as well.

Cover My A**, Legally syndrome causes developers and managers  to start talking like lawyers or priests.

Allegedly, I will finish fixing the bug tomorrow.

I estimate the milestone will be completed in one hour.

The component is supposed to be ready in a week,unless something bad happens.

I hope this fix works, if not, let me know. (A real comment on a bug tracking system)

If all goes well, and no one gets sick, the plan should be realistic, allegedly.

The upgrade script is supposedly completed, on 8 out of 9 cases.

As a manager, I don’t need a constant reminder of human kind inability to control its destiny. My cat reminds me of that every morning.

A Cat Called Sushi

A Cat Called Sushi

If there is a concrete problem  that needs handling, it  is worth a mention.Otherwise, let’s get the job done.

Moreover, if one estimates a task as one day long , in the morning, in most cases, it has to be finished by the end of the day.Estimating long projects is complex, but approximation of tasks that are less than eight hours long is part of profession.

The words create the mindset. Compare the passive  “will be completed” with the active  “I will complete”.

Does it mean that developers have to shut up and just please their managers ? Of course not. On the contrary. The relationship and language should be open and honest , not legally binding. As a manager I want to know if my decisions are stupid or not realistic. CMAL syndrome is not helping any of us.

If the manager is an idiot who is looking for a scapegoat, the legal disclaimer would not save your behind anyway.

If the manger is smart he does not need these legal and spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Hope and faith are better left to other important areas in life. I hope Dexter’s season four is as good as season two.

Hope and Faith, White Dove

Hope and Faith, White Dove

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