Thursday, June 11, 2009


How much would it cost to develop Hello World in a large enterprise?

I have no clue but maybe some analysis of how thinks work in large enterprises is in order...

So, let's observe a conversation between an IT executive and others.

Enterprisey CIO: Even though I have no clue as to what business/IT alignment means, I need to craft a story around how to do this. I know that the business wants their Hello World application developed quickly but I must focus on perception management as my top priority. Hey enterprisey architect, can you handle?

Enterprisey Architect: Sure, got ya covered. I will first call up Gartner and get their Hello World magic quadrant where they rate all the vendors who provide Hello World functionality. I will then orchestrate a massive proof of concept where I invite in all the vendors to do a demo and hopefully a few of them will take me to lunch for the opportunity. Doing both of these things means that I don't have to think to hard on whether Hello World will actually solve a business problem.

Enterprisey CIO: Sadly, Gartner didn't have any advice on developing Hello World, maybe we can ask one of our favorite Indian outsourcing vendors.

CMMi Level 13 Process Weenie: We are more than glad to provide an estimate to develop your Hello World application. We have a team of senior developers with three weeks of IT experience that can aid your development.

Enterprisey CIO: Cool beans. So, what's next?

CmmI Level 13 Process Weenie: Well, we need to write comprehensive requirements and test plans for Hello World so that we deliver highest of quality.

Enterprisey CIO: Do you do Agile?

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: Sure, we do Agile, we do Waterfall. We do all of the latest buzzwords a client could ever hope to ask for. We never say no.

Enterprisey CIO: OK, so I want you to develop Hello World in six months. Could you do it in no less than one thousand lines of code?

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: That may introduce additional complexity.

Enterprisey CiO: Could you also make sure that the code actually compiles.

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: Yes, the functionality of writing code that compiles will be a small additional charge.

Agile In-House Developer: Hey, can I get a chance to develop this application. I know I can do it cheaper?

Enterprisey CIO: Absolutely not. The guys in India follow best practices. It says so on their website. You have a long way to go before you can reach their level of maturity.

Agile In-House Developer: Well, can I at least code review what they deliver?

Enterprisey CIO: Sure, I will also put it in your hands to ensure that proper knowledge transfer takes place. After all, the complexity of delivering Hello World and the knowledge behind it shouldn't reside in just one person's head.

Agile In-House Developer: Hey CIO, I found an open source version of Hello World that exactly aligns with our requirements.

Enterprisey CIO: You know we can't consider open source. After all, who is going to support it. I told you before that supporting Hello World requires lots of expertise and rigorous process that we simply don't have inhouse.

Agile In-House Developer: Well I will work with our outsourcing vendor to develop

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: We can do this one of two ways. I can annoy you to death with lots of idiotic questions or we can work together to propose alternatives to meet the dates. Don't underestimate the amount of silly questions I can ask. For
example, what code page should hello world use or should the H and W be upper-case or lower-case.

Agile In-House Developer: Why is this so freakin hard. My seven year old cat could write this in a day.

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: I warned you. I have to keep a team of a hundred people busy who are learning on your nickel. I can't simply get a single developer to write it in one day as I would get in trouble.

Enterprisey CIO: I see that my developer isn't working well with the offshore folks. Maybe its time to reduce scope.

CMMI Level 13 Process Weenie: I got a great idea. What if we were to deliver Hello in the first release and move World to version 2.0?

Enterprisey CIO: Great idea, I wish I thought of that. Now all I have to do is put together a slick Powerpoint for the business telling them that we have over 100 developers that will ensure top quality in delivering Hello World where they will
get Hello in the first release and everyone should be happy.

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