The Agile Architect

Agile Humor: 5 Radio Ads and Announcements We'll Never Hear

Our Agile Architect provides absolutely nothing of value in this column. But you might enjoy reading it anyway.

I was day-dreaming the other day about some fun Agile radio commercials and announcements we'll never hear and figured I should jot them down. Enjoy.

Estimating with Deadly Accuracy
Folks, are you tired of long planning poker estimation meetings? Do you get bored with pointless discussions of minute technical details that don't affect your estimates? Well, now Cutwell Knives has the solution you've been waiting for. Our new story estimation cards are razor edged. Yes, that's right! You'll never have a boring estimation meeting again! If someone doesn't agree with your estimate, there's no need for discussion. Simply flick your estimation card at them. When they feel the sting of our diamond-sharpened cards, we guarantee they'll back down. But don't miss or you may be doing some ducking yourself!

Pairing Down
Does this ever happen to you? You're working in your war room with your pairing partner on a thorny problem. You've been wrestling with the solution together for days. You can't see eye-to-eye. You know that the solution requires composition. Your pair insistence on using inheritance. The conversation gets heated. You pull a knife. He pulls a gun. The shot rings out. As you stare up at your pair's maniacal grin, your life ebbing, you realize you should have switched pairs more often.

Nuclear Testing
Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your announcer. (Sounding panicked.) Sorry for breaking into the program. We've got a report of a situation at the nuclear facility at the outskirts of town. It appears some sort of emergency is going on. We're getting reports of extremely high radiation output.

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, we've just been informed that the nuclear plant has suffered a catastrophic failure in the containment vessel. Recovery crews are working to identify the cause of the problems, hoping to find a fix.

Announcer: I've just been handed a report. Software engineers have discovered a flaw in their control algorithms. We're told we'll get more information later.

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, if you've just joined us, the nuclear plant has suffered a catastrophic failure. We're getting reports that the core has melted down and is heading toward the center of the Earth.

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, we've just learned that the cause of the failure in the control algorithms is due to a missing null pointer check. We've got the software developer who wrote the code. Rupert B. Thurne is here with us in the studio. Rupert, we've been told that the core will reach the center of the Earth in five hours, detonate, and effectively end all life as we know it. What do you have to say for yourself?

Rupert: Well Jim, I guess I should have written that automated test after all.

QUIT Quality
Folks, I want to tell you about a new product that's just come on the market. I was so excited that I had to run out and buy one for myself this morning. It's called the Quality Unit Injector Thingy, or QUIT for short. For me, personally, this is a lifesaver. I usually spend hours on my code ensuring high quality. Now, I can write code without regard to quality and just QUIT. It's fast too. Runs in just seconds. Boy, it sure is fun and makes for a short day. QUIT even comes with a patented mode the boys in the lab like to call the Prolonged Agony mode. Don't feel like doing work the rest of the day? Just turn on the patented Prolonged Agony mode and you can QUIT for hours. When your boss asks you what you're doing, you can honestly tell him you're making sure your product is of the highest quality. Remember, if you don't want to spend time on quality, make sure you tell your boss you QUIT!

War Room Woes
Are you tired of a messy war room? Do piles of paper get you down? Are your white boards littered with the ghosts of past discussions? Have we got a product for you! Introducing the REMCO Self-Cleaning War Room! Here's how it works… When your team leaves for the night, powerful jets of our patented cleaning solution surge from every wall of the REMCO Self-Cleaning War Room. This slightly acidic solution cleans all white boards instantly and dissolves all paper. In the morning, your war room will be shiny and new, ready for your team to have a happy, healthy productive day. Best of all, the REMCO Self-Cleaning War Room promotes the healthy behavior of creating self-documenting code because nothing else is going to survive!

Next Time…
Well, let's face it. I'm probably fired after this column. But if not, we'll talk about something a little more serious: measuring business value. [Editor note: We'll keep you around, Mark. For now...]

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About the Author

Dr. Mark Balbes is Chief Technology Officer at Docuverus. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Duke University in 1992, then continued his research in nuclear astrophysics at Ohio State University. Dr. Balbes has worked in the industrial sector since 1995 applying his scientific expertise to the disciplines of software development. He has led teams as small as a few software developers to as large as a multi-national Engineering department with development centers in the U.S., Canada, and India. Whether serving as product manager, chief scientist, or chief architect, he provides both technical and thought leadership around Agile development, Agile architecture, and Agile project management principles.