The developer who hated Christmas (part 1)

The developer who hated ChristmasDecember 1st. “Not this time of the year again”, exhales Dave every year around the holidays. It’s the same thing every year: overtime, unrealistic deadlines, no time to have fun. “And we call this merry?”

Dave is a .NET developer in a software studio. With the holiday season inevitably comes the end of many projects and of course vacation. Finally, vacation… sure… for normal people! Dave is not able to take a vacation because he has to work. That’s right! The company’s policy is clear. In any case, so many projects are so far from being completed that taking vacation time doesn’t even cross his mind.

Dave has come to hate Christmas. He stays alone in his tiny apartment. He doesn’t even visit his family anymore. Dave is an unhappy developer. He’s no longer interested in his work. He doesn’t read anymore and has no ambition to do better. He only codes the stupid requisites asked by his manager.

On his way home, he sometimes wonders why it is so difficult to complete software development projects. The last three projects on which he worked on never even saw the light of day. Three years of coding…three years of his life wasted. The client didn’t even get his hands on a single functionality… Deep down inside, he really wanted to change things, improve his conditions…at the very least he wanted to feel useful!

One evening, after a never-ending 16 hours day spent coding millions of change requests yelled by his manager, Dave was surprised to see his front door open. As he walks into his apartment with clenched fists, Dave suddenly stops. “What the heck?” A two-meter high turtle is smiling at him. It was Urban, the Agile spirit of Christmas. “Don’t be scared Dave. Every year at Christmas, I meet the saddest developer in the world in order to show him that it is possible to deliver software without wasting time and energy and risking your health. Buckle up; we’re going on a ride!”

Without giving him time to react, Urban took Dave by the hand and they disappeared.
The following second, they found themselves in Dave’s manager’s office. “Don’t worry Dave, Stephen can’t see nor hear you” softly says Urban. Dave has never seen Steven so vulnerable. He was sitting in front of his computer, hunched back, his face clinched. He seemed completely lost, ready to explode. “I must be dreaming”, says Dave as he notices tears in Stephen’s eyes. Dave would have never imagined his manager so distressed. He quickly realized that he wasn’t the only one who thought work was difficult. Having to manage change requests and modifications to clients’ contracts at midnight on a Saturday night, that must not ease things with his wife and two sons…

Stay tuned, the story continues tomorrow... Read part 2 »