It just happened again, this “simple” application that started as a low-fidelity prototype that was supposed to be used as a conceptual testbed is going to stay forever. After a lot of chrome and polishing, it developed a life of its own nurtured by the collective energy of designers, developers, and testers it became an unstoppable digital force and decided that it was here to stay.
So here is the full history so you can learn from my mistakes, if you are lucky, or finally I learn from the act of typing this:
We have this great relationship with the customer, then suddenly we register a distress call from one of their departments, a later analysis found it was warning signal from a consultant we forgot there in a project with HR. Once we arrived, we found this weird thing shaped like a big egg cemented to the floor, totally wrapped with ancient Gantt charts . When one of the members of the team bend down over it to take a closer look at the funny egg-shaped-requirement it exploded with a sticky organic alien noise and the poor guy had this software project stuck in his face.
There was little we could do at this point, the project would not get loose from the developer’s face. Fortunately, this guy was one of those Vim fanatics so he could work with the thing stuck on his face, we only needed to be sure not to update his laptop to the latest Escape-less MBP and he would be fine until the next keynote.
The thing grew quickly, and it was insatiable, it morphed over and over and its thirst for blood was insatiable: programmers, project managers, testers, designers and event a barista and the pizza guy were its victims. Gantt charts were all spattered with fluids, not event the unibody could withstand the effect of the acid like saliva and the family weekends were burned down to charred remains of Star Wars toys.
In the end, we made it, barely, the managed to escape in a survival pod just after the last deployment when through the Continuos Delivery pipeline. I must confess it broke my heart seeing the guys of SRE punching the airlock of the pod with their bare fists like Chaos Monkey out of control.
Despite all we tried, the project remained a creature made of rushed code nightmares, which such inception it was difficult turning it into something different from a monster. On the bright side it was a slick creature and in the end, we managed to have it passing all the tests in green.
So the moral of a fable is that once you start building it, it will haunt you, so better give it a good start and avoid unleashing a monster on you and your team. Because you don’t really want this “simple app just for testing this idea” sticking to you like a facehugger from Alien the Eight Passenger from Ridley Scott.