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I'm scratching my head and trying to make sense of the mess of a diagram in front of me. It's the weirdest and most convulted object hierarchy I've seen since I last took a look at the Outlook object model.
Colin, who's been reading the comics again, wants to know what design patterns they've used.
'It's the spaghetti pattern,' I explain.
He nods appreciatively. 'Thought so,' he agrees.
I pick the phone up as soon as it rings.
'Joe,' the Boss gasps, breathless, 'I need to talk to you urgently.'
'Prickly heat playing up again?' I ask.
'What? No,' he snaps.
'Good, I'm glad it's cleared up at last.'
'No, I mean I never had prickly heat.'
'So what was it then? Something that antibiotics can sort out?'
'What are you talking about?' he demands. 'I need to find out about what development framework we're using.'
That sounds like bad news. Colin's not the only one who's been reading the comics.
'What do you mean by framework?' I ask suspiciously.
'What do you mean, what do you mean by framework?' he responds.
'Well, I thought we were talking about your prickly heat and now you're talking about frameworks. I'm all confused.'
'Are we using ITIL?'
'ITIL?' I repeat. Colin raises his eyes to the ceiling.
'ITIL. You have heard of it, haven't you?'
Spiky bastard. 'Obviously, I'm not as much of an expert as you are. Which version were you thinking?'
He's thrown by that. 'There's different versions?'
'Yep. Are you thinking ITIL 3, or possibly CMMI? What about Six Sigma. Or COBIT?'
'Whoa! Stop, stop!' he cries, frightened.
'Look,' I decide, 'why don't you tell me what this is about?'
'It's the Board of Directors,' he explains. 'They're on a big IT Governance trip at the moment. Some new guy on the board wants to make a splash, so I've been asked to present something - in the next 30 minutes - about where we are at the moment.'
'Can't you stall?'
'And risk being shown up? No way, Joe. Now, where are we? If we're not on the latest and greatest ITIL then why not and who's to blame?'
'Who's to blame?' I repeat, incredulous.
'It's not my fault,' the Boss affirms. 'Nobody even told me that there'd been an upgrade to ITIL.'
'Do you even know what ITIL means?'
'I'm not a technical person, Joe,' he reminds me. 'My job is management. Someone's been falling down on the job, and I know it's not me.'
Colin leans over and whispers to me. 'Tell him to eff off and die.'
'FOAD,' I repeat loudly. Colin's eyes go very wide, very quickly.
'FOAD? What's that?' the Boss splutters. 'Some kind of framework?'
'Sure it is,' I agree. 'ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. But we're developers, so we're using the Framework for Object Application Development.'
'FOAD,' I can hear him scribbling it down. 'I've got it. What version?'
'The updated version. It's called U FOAD in the trade.'
'Sounds good. Look, Joe, I need this done fast. Is there a site where I can Google this stuff for a presentation?'
'Try wikipedia,' I suggest, tapping away at my keyboard as fast as I can.
'Bugger,' the Boss exclaims at the other end of the phone, 'look like the network's down.'
Colin grins appreciatively. Having installed a proxy server just for the Boss does have its advantages…
'I can fill in,' I continue. 'FOAD was developed by Professor Uckers. A German. It was later updated by a Yank called Cox. He was heavily into military applications, NATO that kind of thing.'
'Sounds good. Do you have any documentation?'
'Tell you what,' I suggest, 'I'll send you a presentation that they gave at a conference a few years ago. What time's your meeting?'
'I'll send you the PPT as soon as I can find it.'
It takes five minutes of cutting and pasting from various techie sites before I've got the bones of a presentation. Lots of complex flow charts, box diagrams and references to the product lifecycle. Paste in some stuff on governance and we're almost done. All that remains is that crucial first page. That's added and then I turn it into a PDF that can't be dicked with.
Five minutes later the Boss is escorted from the building by a security guard. The first page is still on the projector in the Board room: