Mechanics, computer scientists and project management

This morning I dropped off the old car at the shop and later today I can come and pick up the new car.

When I asked one of the mechanics when I could come by for the new car his first response was “the guy who will be working on your new car isn’t here, so I don’t really know. Let’s go ask the foreman”.

We go ask the foreman who almost immediately says “let’s say 1 o’clock”. As we walk back to the garage the mechanic responsible for the new car walks in and the foreman asks him when I can have my new car. The reply is “now…”. The implication being of course that he has done this so many times before that it practically takes him no time to prep a car.

The foreman goes on to list the various jobs that need to be done for the car to be ready. The mechanic then says “let’s say 12 o’clock, then”.

The foreman turns to me and says “you can pick it up at 1 o’clock”.

I left the shop thinking about all the similarities between this experience and pretty much all projects I have ever been involved with as a computer scientist…

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