For the longest time our internal platform-4 release seemed like a classic code death march gone wrong. I took some comfort recently reading Dreaming in Code, the story of Chandler, and realized that we could have done worse. (That’s actually a better book than I expected, but I’ll save that for another post).
Anyway, platform-4 has been in production for a while now, but it is hard to create a definite milestone of ‘now we did it’ on a system that takes a while to deploy fully.
People involved in planning are optimists at heart – making a plan and trying to stick to it just isn’t in a pessimist’s nature because the pessimist thinks planning is a lost cause to start with. (This is just a personal opinion – obviously schedules fail for a lot of reasons in the real world – but I do believe this to be a fundamental piece of the planning and delay problem.)
platform-4 became the lightning rod for all the frustration the whole company was having. When things go bad people look for something obvious to blame, preferably something that can be named with a simple single word (‘Bush’ anyone ?) It’s just basic human psychology. platform-4 became that thing for us.
So after deploying, I wanted to take back the word platform-4 and turn it into something good for everyone in a simple way. And what better way in a tech company to celebrate something than make a nice t-shirt ?
All the shirts have the same front (spot the 4), but a personalized back with a phrase relating their work to platform-4. Just like platform-4, the actual making of the shirts became a death march on its own. I started with some phrases, asked Arek and Aitor for help, and we spent a few weeks passing spreadsheets back and forth to decide on namings. It took a while to decide on the shirt type, the color, the front design, the fonts, and everything. Eduardo was patiently incorporating our feedback while trying to keep it on the down-low from his manager. In the end it probably took three months to do something as simple as get a few t-shirts made.
Almost all the shirts are in the picture, so I’d say people are happy with the results. Maybe you’ll spot some of them at FOSDEM this year, because our whole development team is going, as well as a big chunk of our support team.
Please take a note of Xavier, our Product manager, second from the top left, who for some reason was excited to get on this blog. Sorry ladies, the man’s already spoken for.
Big thanks to Arek and Aitor for coming up with phrases, Edu for the great design, and Jean-Noel for providing the funds!