Sunday, November 17, 2013

Obamacare's Pre-existing Conditions, #1 in a series of undetermined length

Have we missed an important point regarding the delays and software difficulties with HEALTHCARE.GOV? It is possible that many members of the team are suffering from a medical condition known as SADD. SADD or "Software Almost Done Disorder" affects millions of IT technical professionals and project managers. Its incubation period is about six weeks for the commercial strain and up to a year for the government strain. SADD is a chronic condition that worsens over time, normally until the sufferer retires, changes careers, or gets a glue about best practices and productivity. Sufferers are unable to clearly articulate a definition of "done".  Even with a reasonable grasp of "done", they often exhibit an inability to plan their work, execute the plan, or adequately test the results.

If it is determined HEALTHCARE.GOV has not met its project goals because key members of the project team have pre-existing cases of SADD, then we may have to re-think the path forward. Those members of the team may be eligible for disability pay, and full availability of the site may have to wait until after they complete their treatment regimens, return to work and remediate the defects in the system.

Note: SADD was first documented as an occupational disorder among IT professionals in 2005 by Chris Drummonds on this forum.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Life Through The Peculiar Lens Of Social Media

If you have a lot of family, friends, and contacts of various kinds on social media you might have had the kind of morning that used to be known only to doctors, nurses, counselors, pastors, and so on. That is the simultaneous observation of the full spectrum of life events. Sometimes, within minutes we read of births, graduations, new jobs, marriages, divorces, retirements, sickness and death. 

For me, it has been one of those mornings. A friend's dad is in precarious health. Another friend lost a close friend of decades to the inevitability of physical death. Literally within seconds of reading about this friend's loss on my Facebook news feed, I saw a great picture of friends with their beautiful daughter who was born overnight. This nearly instant view of the major life events of our family and friends is sometimes a cause for great joy, on those days when everybody seems to have good news. Other days are frankly, depressing, when nobody has anything to report except illnesses, trouble at work, or failing relationships. Most common however are days like today, when the full cycle of life is on display. 

Social media, Facebook in particular, are filled with jokes, pretty pictures, political rants, advertisements and more. Do with those things what you will.  But keep a watchful eye for what really matters. Don't just read what you see like a newspaper. Engage with each other. Participate with each other in the miracle of life itself and our shared experience as we pass from cradle to grave with hope of the life to come.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Time Travel And The Day After Christmas

We already know that retail marketers are shape-shifters, perhaps not quite like Odo, the Star Trek character played by René Auberjonois, but they are ever-shifting, ever-adapting, and ever in our faces with some reason to buy, buy, buy, on their schedule, not ours.

Tonight's evening news featured a story about a major State Street (Chicago) department store's unveiling of its Christmas window displays, the Governor of Illinois lighting its 45-foot Christmas tree, with thousands of lights and ornaments, and yes, somebody singing an over-the-top hopped up version of Jingle Bells - the kind of music that makes we wish that we Christians could just have another day altogether and leave this "holiday" for the marketers. Following that story was an ad for a home furnishings store's "Pre-Veterans' Day" sale. Let me get this straight. It's not yet Veterans' Day, but we're having a Veterans' Day furniture sale. This is of course, weeks before Thanksgiving, which is in turn weeks before Christmas, which we are already celebrating.

If we have to be bombarded by all of this commercial clap-trap for the next several weeks, can we please at least do it in sequence? One passerby, interviewed by the news crew covering the Christmas window unveiling said, "It's never too soon to start the holiday season."  Really? Would December 26th be too soon? Yes. November 2nd is also too soon, unless you are an adept manipulator of rifts in the space-time continuum. In that case, the calendar is irrelevant, holidays can come in any order, or all at once. Maybe that's the solution. Let's just line up all of the holidays, one after another, shop 'til we drop and be done with it by mid-January and start again around the 1st of March.