It Takes 6 Days to Change 1 Line of Code – edw519.
Stories like these are amazing to me. Personally I know I couldn’t last in such an environment but I only say that from the outside, I’ve never been stuck in a situation like that. Further, I haven’t been exposed to too much ‘formal’ ‘enterprise’ (I really don’t know how else to refer to it) software development process on teams, so I have even less experience than you think. But all of this seems super crazy. How did the process become this elaborate? Is it legacy process left over from a time with crappy version control, unstable networks, and difficult distribution paths? I’d love to hear from other people with similar experience and just how the heck these situations still exist.
The issue comes about for some companies because of gov regulations, and the need to run the fix by all involved parties. I work for a very big company. We just recently got on a schedule that allowed for easy CSS/JS fixes to be implemented in 2 week cycles. The backend code is released on 6 week schedules. (Both of these are barring the rare “the world is on fire” issues, which are fix it and get it out, and deal with the legal matters later)
When you live in a mixed world of “brick and mortar” and cyber stores there are a lot of concerns that your code may cause every store to not be able to collect money. The code needs to be tested, fixed, and retested many times before getting it into a production environment.
If the company is big enough, you can get people’s egos getting in the way. The “owner” of the lumber section doesn’t like the system wide change and is throwing false error reports to cause FUD and push the release back.
Publicly traded company? Well you need to have full documentation on why the change is needed, what the change will be, how it will impact the website, how it will impact the stores, etc. Without exaggeration, I have dealt with 6 different documents (Business Requirements Document, Functional Specification Document, Creative Design Document, Implementation Documentation, Rollback Documentation, Post Implementation Documentation) that were each 20-60 pages long. Even for the “single line of code” fixes.