Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will guard the guards.)
Warning : If you are not an IT employee or never have been, then you should probably skip this one, it’s all going to be Geek to you. But if you are, or have been, then continue reading. You might have an answer to my question.
It all started with the making of the great ring. Forged in the great fires of Mount Onsite by the Dark Lord – Project Manager. For within these ring was bound the strength and the will to govern over each team. It was called the…. Defect Tracker. One tracker to track them all.
But the flesh of men is weak and forgetful and lazy. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half enhancements, the tracker passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, the tracker ensnared another maker. But then something happened that the tracker did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable. A consultant, me, of the quiet village called offshore. For the time will soon come when consultants will shape the fortunes of all. As I was made the anchor to for all the trackers.
It was a long and thunderous night when a major delivery was missed as the person responsible was on leave. And thus came into being the great leave tracker, designed to keep track of the planned leaves of the people and plan accordingly. And for a time it was all good. But then tragedy struck again, as it happened when one of the team members had high fever and couldn’t come to office and deliver within the deadline. To make up for this great folly our leader, the lord of lords, the king came up with a very ingenious idea. We were to keep track of our body temperature in a tracker and to mark all temperatures above 99 F as red. So all the fevers could be forecasted all thus the damage could be contained.
But we soon realized that all diseases didn’t come with a high temperature and a runny nose. Some came with an enlarged belly and an intense desire to eat chocolate ice-cream at midnight. It just so happened that a lady who was just sent to onsite had to come back on maternity leave. Now this waste of resources, money and precious visa did not sit well with the management, the HR department and her colleagues who were clamming to go in her stead. Also as this was such a thing which required much planning in advance we all knew that a tracker was due, and it was there, what later came to be known as the knocked-up tracker. All women were to mark whether they had sex last night or not and two columns for protected or unprotected. Assuming that all contraceptives were only 99.9% reliable I was to calculate their chances to get pregnant and when. But soon a young engineer made me add one more column – ‘don’t remember, had too much vodka last night’.
Now other issues had started creeping in. One new joinee promised a functionality on a client call that couldn’t be implemented. To contain such screw ups our manager asked us to maintain a tracker where we were to log all the keywords spoken by us in any client call. We all were getting a little worried when our chief technical architect always entered the same 6 words in different order – Scalable, Agile, Robust, Intuitive, Holistic and Cross- Platform. But what really set the alarm bells ringing was the day when a person entered the keywords as Naked, Hard, Table, Ass and Sex. The man afterwards told nearly in tears on a conference call with the senior management, the HR panel and the legal department that what he had told the client that instead of hard coding the sex of the customer in the table he could use the data entered over the naked kernel of the program and use ASS (Agile Semantics System) to determine the appropriate salutation of the user. This fiasco made me add a new column to the tracker with the heading ‘Sexual Innuendo meant or not’.
By this time we had also gone in to the support phase of the project and lot of complains were coming from the support team, to better collect the data I was asked to make a tracker for the support team. They were asked to enter the number of bugs resolved after each issue solved. I was the first to notice that entries were almost always in negative. When this reached the management they quickly introduced one more tracker to identify the root cause of each error found in the support phase. As reason could be many I was asked to make a flexible tracker, I added the usual reasons like ‘Incompatible Middleware’, ‘User Error’, ‘Incomplete data supplied in the design phase’ etc. But soon I realized that most markings were under two columns marked GOK and TBTPAIA. On one team call when some curious soul asked the meaning of these acronyms there was 2 minute silence then one hot –blooded Sardar blurted out the meaning of them as ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘The Build Team People Are Incompetent Assholes’ .
As time progressed the project had grown in size and dissatisfaction. Lots of people were clamoring up to go on-site. So after a lot of arguments someone suggested an objective way, which was of course a tracker. The initial tracker I made very soon ran into trouble, it was a simple excel file containing one column for name and one for months spent onsite. But people shortly made it clear that 6 months spent in Switzerland were not equal to 6 months spent in Kanchipuram. So more columns were added to capture the average salary there, cost of living, continent, wife happiness and a rating from 1 to 10 of whether it brought favorable matches in marriage classifieds. The earlier mentioned hot-blooded Sardar added two more columns one night, ’Skin color of residents’ and ‘Number of strip joints in a 10 km radius’.
The all-seeing eye saw this and the Lord of Mordor commanded me to make a tracker of all insolent and tracker abusing people. And I could only murmur “But my lord, who will track the trackers?”