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A field guide for sabotaging developer productivity: the art of code chaos

A field guide for sabotaging developer productivity: the art of code chaos

In the ever-evolving landscape of tech companies, where the battle for developer productivity rages like an unending storm, a new series emerges – a satirical guide that delves into the art of sabotaging developer productivity. This guide is not just a collection of stories; it’s a field manual for those who dare to tread the path of controlled chaos within the realms of software development.

Our satirical journey begins with the legendary tale of Carlo Gustafsson, a name that echoes through the halls of developer history. In the 1970s, this pioneer of productivity sabotage executed a masterstroke, one that would reverberate through the decades: he replaced all tabs with spaces in every changeset. This seemingly innocuous act threw developer tools into disarray, spawning a conflict that would divide developers into two factions – the Spaces and the Tabs.

dramatic scene at office

The Spaces, led by Gustafsson, waged a relentless campaign, transforming every tab into a space with the zeal of a crusader. This act wasn’t just about preference; it was a statement, a line drawn in the sand (or perhaps, in the code). The Tabs, feeling the heat of this unorthodox warfare, struck back, subverting the space indentation and turning it back into tabs reclaiming 3 bytes for every tab reestablished! Thus, a cold war was born, not of nations, but of keystrokes, one that persists in companies worldwide.

As a reader intrigued by this history, you might be wondering: How can I, too, become a maestro of developer productivity sabotage? Fear not, for this guide will unveil methods that have been shrouded in the annals of tech lore.

Volume 1: Discontinuous Disintegration

Dive into the world of developer productivity sabotage with the first masterful strategies designed to unsettle even the most stalwart of coders. The first prong of this devious plan involves a cunning manipulation of the continuous integration (CI) system. Envision a scenario where developers are perpetually grappling with a test suite that behaves like a capricious trickster, sprinkling random failures and incomprehensible delays into their workflow. This method’s genius lies in its stealth; a seemingly benign requirement stipulates that all PRs must pass the CI build before merging. However, the road to achieving this pass is littered with mysterious and unpredictable obstacles. By introducing these erratic challenges, this strategy aims to erode developers’ patience, provoke hasty and ill-considered decisions, and ultimately cultivate an environment rife with errors – a surefire recipe for plummeting productivity.

The second prong in this arsenal of disruption takes psychological warfare to new heights. It mandates that every PR must be rebased from the most recent commit on the main branch before merging. This rule might appear straightforward, but as the frequency of commits to the main branch escalates, so too does the complexity and exasperation associated with struggling to get a passing CI build. Some may speculate that organizations could evolve to trust their developers to merge changes, even amidst the chaos of flaky tests. Yet, this underestimates the resolute nature of DevOps, who operate as the hidden puppeteers in this intricate dance of coding chaos. These two prongs, when combined, form a potent strategy that sows doubt and disarray, turning the once orderly world of software development into a labyrinth of frustration and inefficiency.

chaotic scene at office

As this series unfolds, we will delve deeper into this field guide, unveiling tactics and strategies that have shaped the landscape of developer productivity – for better or for worse. Stay tuned, for this is just the beginning of a journey into the heart of developer chaos, a path few dare to walk, but many will find morbidly fascinating. Welcome to the Field Guide for Sabotaging Developer Productivity. Let the games begin.

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