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Meet Joe Bloggs


It's another one of those painful visits from the Boss. As usual he's plonked himself down in the nearest seat and coughs loudly in case I haven't noticed him invading my space. He waits a second and then announces, loud enough so the rest of the development team can hear: 'I think we ought to rewrite the system in UML'.

UML? Sweet Jesus, who let his browser stray from He does this every six months or so. I suppose it's to remind us all that he's not just the Boss, he's also a tech-savvy kind of guy who knows where the future lies.

I turn around slowly to see him pull out a stash of full-colour PowerPoint slides that he's probably spent the best part of the week on.

'UML?' I repeat.

'Unified Modelling Language,' he explains, adopting that look that tells me he thinks I'm a lowly hack who just isn't hip to where things are at. 'It's exactly what we need. UML improves productivity, fits the whole life-cycle and can help us improve quality just when we need it.'

I can see the guys behind him sniggering into their screens. 'Er, UML isn't a programming language that you code in,' I start to explain.

He looks fazed for a second but then the bullshit gene kicks in. 'Of course not,' he announces even more loudly, 'it's a notation. I just think we should re-code the system with it.'

Bill, (the contractor with 3 days left to finish his CV before he's out), decides to join in. 'But the system's already a year late,' he points out.

'True enough,' the Boss agrees. 'But UML is designed to make iterative development go really smoothly. And just think, those UML diagrams look great in PowerPoint.'

It's looking grim because I can see he's made his mind up. Six months ago it was making the system a web service. Six months before that we became an agile development team where he was the one with the agility and we had to keep up or ship out.

'What about the training costs?' I ask.

Boss just shakes his presentation at me. 'It's all here, a complete tutorial that I knocked up earlier.'

Knocked up or knocked off? Has someone shown him how to download content off the web? That's bad news.

The sniggering is getting louder but the Boss isn't taking the hint.

'And the cost of the tools?' I ask calmly.


'Sure, you can't do UML without the tools.'

'Can't our compiler handle it?'

'Sorry, this version just doesn't compile UML. What we need are some CASE tools.'

The Boss looks broken-hearted. 'Yes, I remember now, it says something about Use Case here in my presentation.'

Bill nods sagely. 'I'm something of a CASE tools guru,' he announces.

I figure that means that he's had no luck getting a new contract and now he's decided that hell has indeed frozen over and that he's going to go for a renewal. Again.

The Boss looks even more pained. He and Bill don't get on. At least not since the water cooler falling out of the window on to the roof of the new Jag incident.

'On the other hand we are almost a year late,' the Boss reminds us all. 'Now's not the time for fundamental changes like this.'

He wanders off and we all sigh with relief. Until the next time, at least.

Who Is Joe Bloggs?
Episode Two - Team Building
Episode Three - Recruitment
Episode Four - Team Player

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