A Programmers Nightmare Elucidated
Presented in four parts
"I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when suddenly I felt this thing gnawing on my toes. Took half the team to beat it into submission, and as you can see, the doctors couldn't save my foot - had to amputate just below the knee."
"One minute to deadline, and the damnable thing just ballooned out, knocking over cubicle walls, gnawing on the Cat-5... fires sprung up in the server room, alarms going off, then it swallowed Agatha, our Project Manager, whole... that's when I blacked out."
"Everything worked, really, it did. Then these programmers start running around like lunatics, blind to the terror, obeying its every command... naturally, when they were done, our test suite just sat there spewing error after error..."
"No, not at all. Customer driven, certainly not optional. Just a tiny little change."
"Like, dude, we were doing the XP thing, naw, man, not Micro$oft, eXtreme Programming, you know? And I'm sitting there with Charlie, easing back, sliding the keyboard back and forth, you know, a line of code here and there, each one, like, totally proving a test, kapeesh? Suddenly, while I was lookin' up for inspiration, I hear this radical sound, kinda like grinding, kinda like thwumping, and there's all this red gooey stuff all over me. Yeah, that little bugger got Charlie while I was sitting right there. Keep thinking to myself, hell, man, you know, I almost took that chair... that could have been me, man. Could have been me."
Bringer of Fear. Eater of Souls. Destroyer of Projects.
These are all names for one creature, as elusive and malleable as nothing else in this world can be: the Scope Creep. Programmers everywhere tremble at the thought of this malicious beast - seeing it in their worst dreams, just as they are about to put the last comment on the Worlds Most Concise And Perfect Software, suddenly become a writhing hideous, blasphemous, cyclopean mass of bloatware. Created from the depths of Marketing or within the twisted minds of Upper Management or other, more unspeakable places, which shall, of course, be detailed further along in this dissertation, the Scope Creep is the bane of all those who work in software development and engineering.
Up next, episode two: Anatomy of a Scope Creep