Chapter 4. The Build Lab and Personnel


Philosophy: Noah didn't start building the ark when it started to rain.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and founder of FIRST

Figure 4.1. Noah.


When I visit customers and review their build process, the second most common problem I see is that the development team does not have a build lab. The most common problem is that they lack a mainline, as described in Chapter 2, "Source Tree Configuration for Multiple Sites and Parallel (Multi-Version) Development Work." The success of a software company or group is directly proportional to its ratio of labs to conference rooms. More labs than conference rooms equals greater success because people are spending more time doing work than sitting in meetings. As you can probably tell, I am not a big fan of meetings. Of course, not having meetings at all is bad, too, but I have seen too much time wasted talking about work instead of actually doing the work.

Microsoft Sidenote: IM Wright Talk "The Day We Met"

IM Wright is the alter ego of a developer in Microsoft's engineering best practices group. This person is in many ways the "dark side" of good people. He is well known at Microsoft, and there is a cynical, comical ring to his observations. Captured here are his thoughts while he was in a meeting:

Quit wasting my time. Would you, could you, please quit wasting my time? Maybe if I jump across the table and duct tape your mouth shut, I could take action instead of sit here incredulous while you incinerate 60 minutes of my life. How does calling a meeting give people license to act like you're worthless? If time is money, most meetings are a market collapse. I am so tired of people who could sooner drive a bus off a cliff than run a decent meeting.

Well, I'm not going to take it any more. If you force me into a meeting room, be prepared for me to call you on any stunts you try to pull. You waste my time, and I'll ensure yours gets torched with it. Don't like it? Don't test me. What am I going to call you on? Listen up, 'cause here it comes...

IM Wright could easily be any of us who have been forced to waste our time in meetings. So, it is a good idea to pretend that you will have him attend the next meeting you decide to call. You will have a better, more useful meeting. The point here is if you were to convert one of your conference rooms into a build lab, you would not miss the conference room, because IM Wright would not be saying this in a build lab. Thus, convert one of your conference rooms to a build lab if you are "out of space" in your building. It's a better use of the space, and you will see the production of your development team increase exponentially.


Here's a metaphor for you: If conference rooms are limited in a company, like parking spots in a city, the number of meetings, noise, and unnecessary foot traffic will be limited due to availability. This is a really good thing if you follow my logic.



The Build Master(c) Microsoft's Software Configuration Management Best Practices
The Build Master: Microsofts Software Configuration Management Best Practices
ISBN: 0321332059
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 186

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