SFDC: It’s a Design Flaw, and We Just Don’t Care

I pointed out a flaw in — a wellknown outsourced Customer-Relationship-Manager — and although it’s understood to be a flaw, “SFDC works as designed”.

I’m unconcerned whether it’s a coding error, or a design error; an error is an error. Working-as-designed implies that the implementation was flawlessly accurate; a design error is still an error.

In this case, it simply shows that SFDC is unwilling to accept that other countries exist, and that they speak more than one language, and that those people are alienated if you’re forcing your culture upon them. It’s worse if you’re forcing your customers to force that culture on their users.


Working Breakfast?


S.Lott-Software Architect: Meetings

I worked for a few really good managers; most would grip the general ideas of manager-vs-developer work styles, and efficiency of all-hands meetings. S.Lott is the latest of many to summarize in his entry “Meetings“.

In short:

  • 12 direct-reports in a 1-hour meeting is 13 hours consumed. Luckily, 7 direct-reports is only one day of effort wasted.
  • An all-hands meeting should be brief, focused and logged
  • An iterative status report from each attendee is the opposite of these rules

I was lucky enough to work with Rao Hong for a while; he was laconic, targeted, efficient. He did call me into his office to discuss, but it wasn’t a power-game, it was a meeting-of-opportunity.

I get to work with Clarissa Eastham; she takes names, actions, and follows up; also, she protects her people like precious resources, inducing attempts to make oneself worthwhile.

I was pleased to work with Julian Chen; he excelled at brief meetings-of-opportunity, and the ability to make the other person feel truly significant. Julian’s style of strategic meetings where possible were also quite effective at the one-on-one.

There were others, but these examples approach the “Holy Grail” of the PMs in S.Lott’s article, and excel in other attributes.


Vague Suggestions are like Hindsight

I love feedback, suggestions, ideas on how to improve; in fact, I almost feel as if I’m withheld a chance to improve if I don’t get feedback.

At the same time, vague negative feedback is as useful as hindsight and fortune-tellers.

We’ve all heard it: someone who visits a fortune-teller, gets a horoscope-accurate diagnosis (“you’ll come into money but it involved a large mass of water”) and matches that to whatever happens (“I found $50 in a High-C -brand orange juice — and High-C is like High Seas!  That fortune teller is so accurate”)

Vague suggestions simply allow someone to say “see?  I told you not to do that” after the fact: to have been right.  There’s little value in being right beyond a victory at the other’s expense, and a history of being right so that one’s advice is more easily accepted without question.  It has little value beyond what hindsight gives us — trading re-use for lower acceptance threshold for accuracy.  Hindsight is accurate.

Vague suggestions are an opener for conversation, but discussing a vague suggestion might involve refining it.  It might shine the Bullshit Spotlight at the information and chase the smelling bits out, or might beat up an imprecise idea that has merit but is difficult to express.  Discussion should be done with a certain gentleness.

Once a suggestion is less-vague, more concrete, it’s actually valuable; it would be a shame to attack someone offering genuine help, chasing away his or her idea through aggressive discussion to refine it.