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What do you think a sane developer/designer/technical guy would do? I have already asked him to get the source code to look at.
The Reply: We won't get the source code. It is their sole property. They can't share it.
OK, in that case we need either
1. Workshops between people from previous and current organisation who know the business processes
2. A working application set up for you can try and figure out what is going on. ( and also try decompile it if that is allowed)
Another interesting fact is that there are plenty of buttons on each screen and the client only used one or two in many cases. So, we know that 'Generate Summary' takes us to another screen but we don't know what the other buttons does?
For the other buttons --> alert('E_NOTIMPL');
Sounds to me that some of the requirements are still a bit vague. In the time estimation leave space for 'this time is an unknown which is dependant on what this button is suppose to actually does which we are not clear about'. At the end of the day you'll give them an estimation and leave yourself room to change the estimation.
You are in any case going to get a couple of understanding of some requirements wrong because of miss communication. They will in any case change or add a couple of requirements as they start using the product. Make sure that they know that the estimation is dependent on the current requirements as agreed to by you. That any changes would change the cost. Make sure that they don't take advantage of your developers... e.g. slip in a requirement or two without following strict processes. Add a percentage to the estimate for unknown issues that may arise. In my experience there are always setbacks unaccounted for.
"Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence."
Spend some time to imagine if you had the perfect requirement list and start writing down whatever is missing in current situation. Then you have something that you can act upon. Don't ignore this: This is part of the work and should be estimated, so you are not using any tactics or whatsoever here.
Looks like your boss really needs education on software projects, but it's not something you can fix; you can only "show by doing". When you have such a list, from your boss' perspective, you will have a better approach than "making excuses with buzzwords like 'requirements' or 'specifications'".
Result: You will have a meaningful estimation on when you can start implementing the project. Your boss may still expect an estimation for actually delivering the project, but then you can handle it because you will have some ground which you can base your fat estimates on. (ps: if I were you, I would go for obese estimates.) Do not forget to explicitly mention that "these estimates will be updated as you proceed on this initial learning phase"; this will show your confidence and should give your boss some relief after seeing those numbers
And now you can choose your new job: Team lead? Product Owner? Mentor (of your boss)? Architect? Technical Lead? Man, you ARE lucky
"The primary trait of a good programmer is laziness. Nobody works harder to do nothing than a good programmer." - MehGerbil
The video shows the user clicking a button and a new form pops up. All the button needs to do is to show the form with the exact data that the video showed. AFAIK you have the business rules right there. If you push button A, form B shows up. Take screen shots from the video and paste it on the form. They got exactly what they asked for.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx
Just had a similar situation - I got a spec which was full of 'to be decided later' type comments and just brief ideas of what was wanted, so I put my quote in based on my best estimation, however once the job was in progress there was so much added, changed and not considered by the customer that it has taken a long time to unravel the spaghetti and get to the meat - I was happy to work alongside the client to give them what they want even though its taking a while (but I wont do it for nothing), but a tad of bad feeling has arisen because of what he has called my 'weak quotation' and because I didn't bring it in on budget even though I did say at the start that usually specs such as his change and I cant quote on the unknown lol. the positive is that he is happy with the quality of my work, and now we both have no real choice but to see it through on an uneasy truce, but now wants me to give more estimations on unknowns (really !!) but ive said that once this project is finished that's it for me. sorry to waffle but the moral of the story is TRUST YOUR GUT, IF YOU THINK IT WILL BE A TROUBLE JOB IT PROBABLY WILL, SO SAVE YOURSELF THE PAIN AND RUN AWAY NOW
This sucks, and this is why software projects fail!
My suggestion is simple. Create the project outline for
the screens shown, and add for each button on the screen:
For each task you have:
- Create Screen/GUI
- Backend Business Logic
- DB Design/Interface
- User Feedback Processing
- All of these items
- All of these items
And just keep clacking away at it. For EVERYTHING you saw in the video.
Don't forget to add time to review Printing Components, Frameworks, have
graphics built. Every CONCEIVABLE thing that could happen.
Give yourself PLENTY of time at every point.
Whatever number you come up with, use that as the low end of the estimate.
Then Double or Triple that as the high end.
Now, for every 2 weeks of time, add 25% to the project for meetings,
and another 25% for lost time in meetings, and misinformation!
When you are done, you should have a VERY LARGE range, in which you should
have plenty of time to create what they asked for.
When the customer or the PM suggests this number is too big, ask them to PROVE IT.
Even better, ask them HOW they would prove it. When they suggest "We would go through
EVERY SCREEN, and review the logic", then say "Yes, given BETTER information, I could
produce a BETTER estimate. But that is not what I was given!"
Almost all of our projects start as a PAID "Define Phase". Where we Record the meeting,
and make the user walk through all of the screens, and explain what is and is not important,
who is and is not knowledgeable about each feature, etc. etc. etc.
I have 2 new projects. One has a 40hr Define phase. Another has a 90-120 day Define phase.
Train your PM to do a better job!
BTW, if your PM complains that your number is too big, explain that if you get it done sooner,
the company makes more money! LOL
Yesterday evening I was just putting doing some minor edits in VS 2013, and as I was about to quit for the day, I had turned the a/c off. Suddenly, the system froze. As I have had this happen occasionally in the past, I run a CPU temperature meter on one screen, and the CPU was over 70°C at the last refresh. Power down, restart, launch VS 2013, finish my edits, save and exit.
This morning boot up, start the project, nearly all my urgentz codz had disappeared. All I had was the last part of the sub I was working on. OK, keep calm, don't panic, Aaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhh!
Run a debug - it works. Go to the designer and select a control used at the start of the class - it shows me the code. Scroll down, and the first part of the sub I was working on shows up.
Comment out a variable declaration, lots of errors showing up. Select the first error - shows me the missing code. Finally figure it out.
When the system crashed, VS managed to insert thousands and thousands of blank lines into the code. It took over five minutes to scroll down to delete the blank lines, on an i7 with 16GB ram.
I think I'll take up flipping burgers for a living.
That IS indeed weird. I could understand it if the system froze with the A/C ON!
With the A/C off, it shouldn't be that cold...
But if you want to be a nice guy, you could always wrap it in a blanket and boil it some hot tea...
Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant Anonymous - The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine Winston Churchill, 1944 - I'd just like a chance to prove that money can't make me happy. Me, all the time
I think it was faster to just scroll down, particularly as I wasn't sure it was extra blank lines at first - which you must admit, was seriously weird. The fastest way would have been to pull the code into Notepad++ and do it from there.
You can't actually get at the fan in this laptop without a major strip down. The removable panels on the bottom expose everything but the fan and heat sink. Every week I give the intake and outlet a good blast from a can of high pressure air.
I've enjoyed Robert's writing for over 40 years, but I haven't read everything he's written. My wife got "The cat who walks through walls" and as expected, I've enjoyed it, both for the enjoyable plot and descriptions that were scientifically accurate. I think he wrote Neutron star and that had a section using tidal forces that matched exactly what we know about physics if we had the equipment that could do what that spaceship was capable of doing.
Now our hero is on a space "ship?" with multiple rings that has multiple gravity levels, and all that is easily explained by centripetal forces. Now for the part where all things we know about physics get's thrown out the window.
What does it have to do with a tidal lock on Luna; the forward end points forever straight down at the Moon.
First off, on a spinning ship, where would the forward end be? To me, it would have to be on the center axis line that the ship is spinning on and forward would arbitrarily be one direction or the other. There is a way that the orientation of the ship wouldn't fight the tidal forces of gravity and that is with the axis of the the orbit and the axis of the spin being parallel. (Well sort of, then the moon would be using tidal forces to slow down the spin of the ship. Just like it is trying to do with the earth, but more successfully because of distance and mass.)
With a Top, it has a pointed end and a body you wrap a string around and throw it while holding on to the string. Immediately, earth's gravity tries to get the Top to topple, but it fails. If you throw it right it stays pretty stationary at first and then it starts to precess as it slows down. That speeds up the slow-down of the spin until the top does topple and quickly loses all its spin. But the spin has to slow significantly, to get it to topple.
Yes, tidal forces have slowed down the moon until it's rotation matches it's orbit around the Earth. The sun is putting tidal forces on the moon but they are ignored because the Earth's tidal force is MUCH greater. The moon is applying tidal forces to the Earth and it is slowing it's rotation down (about as much as a mach truck is slowed down when it hits an ant). It is much better at slowing the water on the surface of the earth down. (Creating tides)
The moon would try to slow the ship's spin, but if it succeeded in stopping the spin, the whole ship would be in zero gravity. If the axis wasn't parallel to the station's orbit, the station would precess like a top but the angle of forces would continue to change orientation and everything would be working to slow the station's spin, which would reduce the induced centripetal force, but would be negating the reason for having the spin. So you would have engines to speed the spin up again when the moon started to slow it down. (Negating the tidal force with engine force.)
If you could get the moon spinning every 24 hours with the current moon's face as the axis of spin, the moon's face would have the same orientation to the earth every 28 days instead of 100% of the time. We would eventually have a new "face on the moon" but it would take many centuries to get it.
Oh well, at least he rarely disappoints.
First, Heinlein didn't write Neutron Star, Larry Niven did. It's one of his Beowulf Shaeffer stories - you can get his full collection of Beowulf stories, along with a story that ties them all together, in his book Crashlander.
Second, while, "front" of the ship may be a bit ambiguous, it seems pretty clear he meant one end of the center of the ship which is the axis of rotation for the rings. With the axis of rotation pointing directly towards the center of the moon while in orbit, it could be considered sort of "tidally locked". The rotation of the rings around that axis could be made dynamically stable in this configuration.
And lastly, I very much enjoy Heinlein's writing as well, though my personal opinion is that he peaked with Time Enough for Love - much of his work after that got pretty strange (though I still did enjoy To Sail Beyond the Sunset, but mostly for the portion of the story about Maureen's early life).
Thanks for the correction of authors. Maybe H isn't as scientifically adept as I thought.
"With the axis of rotation pointing directly towards the center of the moon while in orbit" Again, this station is like a top. That top continues to point to the center of the Earth against Earth's massive gravity trying to upend it. We are talking short-term so the top's refusal to drop is because the top's axis of rotation starts directly pointed to the center of the earth.
If you put a gyroscope to spinning on gimbals with the axis originally pointed directly down and keep it spinning for 24 hours, that gyroscope would end up rotating close to 360 degrees relative to Earth's surface anywhere reasonably close to the equator.
You put that gyroscope spinning horizontally on the equator with the axis pointed to true north, over 24 hours it shouldn't rotate it's orientation at all.
Once a body is in motion, it tends to stay in motion. That rule is consistent even with rotating bodies.
Again, this station is like a top. That top continues to point to the center of the Earth against Earth's massive gravity trying to upend it.
But that doesn't sound right to me. the reason a top upends is because its point cannot move, but the rest of it can.
If you stand a pencil on a table it will fall over.
If you drop a pencil from a height it will land point down.
The Earth isn't trying to upend it!
The gyroscope effect will keep a spinning body oriented in the same direction, relative to the universe, as it moves - so you are right in that, if the axis is pointing toward the moon, and the ship is in orbit, then it would tend to rotate through a vertical plane through 360 degrees each orbit.
H suggests the tidal forces act on the ship - so is he assuming the tidal force is great enough to overcome the gyroscopic force?
the reason a top upends is because its point cannot move, but the rest of it can.
Sort of right, but not quite. The top upends because the point is not a stable platform. You try to balance a top on it's point and let go, within seconds it will have tipped over. (Unless you stick it in sand, but that just widens the support base.) It doesn't immediately topple when you release the spinning top because the gyroscopic force overcomes the natural desire to topple and the point is a quite stable platform. In fact if the top lands unbalanced it will spin in smaller and smaller circles until the point comes to a complete stop (Relative to the floor location) and spins in place. The point hitting the floor is an anchor point that tries to keep the top in one place. The gyroscopic action is the stabilizing force. It finally becomes an unstable platform as the top slows it's spin.
so is he assuming the tidal force is great enough to overcome the gyroscopic force?
I can't know what he is assuming. A spaceship with multiple rings ranging from 0.01 G's through 1 g levels would be massive, probably in the millions of KGms of material. Yes, the closer the orbit the bigger the tidal force, but the moon hasn't come close to stopping the Earth. I'm guessing putting a 100 Gm Top spinning in a 100 M orbit around the moon would take more than a month to stop spinning because of tidal forces. (It would fairly quickly start precessing.)
Have to agree with you there, although Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my favourite among many. I have read a number of authors who are touted as the new Heinlein, Spider Robinson comes to mind, but they are not a patch on the RAH.
I think having someone pick at his scientific accuracy after he is dead would hugely amuse him.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity
The quote comes from Chapter 8 of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. We have a cylindrical space station, spinning about the cylinder's axis. This gives you a space station made of cylindrical shells, each with its own level of gravity due to centripetal force.
The cylinder is quite long (at least a few hundred meters, judging by the presence of scooters inside), and was built with the axis of the cylinder pointing at the Moon. For a non-rotating cylinder, this position will be maintained because the gravitational pull on the near end of the cylinder is higher than that on the far end. This is your tidal lock.
As I see it, the problem here is that the cylinder is rotating. Forcing the axis to always point at the moon requires torque to be applied, and I am unsure whether the Moon's gravitational force provides enough. I have not read the book recently, but IIRC it doesn't give us enough information to do the calculation.
[Height over the Moon's surface - 300km (Chapter 9)
Length of the cylinder - ???
Radius of the cylinder - ??? <==> Rate of rotation - ???]
If Heinlein sinned here, it was not a great sin.
Gentlemen (and Ladies) of the Jury, give me your verdict.
If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.
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