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The Boss: My management philosophy is 'measure' twice, cut once. Dilbert: That only makes sense in a narrow, and generally archaic, set of conditions. In software development, the item being cut, metaphorically speaking, is often plentiful and inexpensive. In many cases, the cost of measuring incorrectly is low compared to the time wasted doing two measurements before every action. Your philosophy is better suited for rock carving than web design. Do you have any wise sayings that involve churning your own butter, or putting saddles on dinosaurs?" The Boss: Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Dilbert: I have direct deposit."
The Boss: "I need a cost estimate on your project." Dilbert: "I have no idea I haven't even gathered the user requirements." The Boss: "Don't worry I won't hold you to the estimate." Dilbert: "Yes you will. You will put it in the plan, forget we had this conversation, and fire me when I go over budget." The boss: "Give me a number or I'll fire you right now." Dilbert: "Okay, it will cost ten million dollars." The Boss: "That's too high." Dilbert: "If you already know the cost why are you asking me?" The Boss: "So you'll feel like you had input." Dilbert: "Is input supposed to feel this bad?"
Dilbert: "What would your system cost?" Vendor: "We can deliver in two weeks." Dilbert: "But what would it cost?" Vendor: "A lot of vendors deliver in four weeks, but we can do it in two." Dilbert: "I'm asking about price, not delivery schedules." Vendor: "Do you want it shipped by ground or air? Air is even faster." Dilbert: "What does it cost?" Vendor: "Ground costs less than air." Dilbert: "GAAA!!! What does the SYSTEM cost?!!" Vendor: "For ground?"
"Dilbert, do you have some time to help me with this technical analysis?" "Sure, if you'll go to my house and mow my lawn so this doesn't become a lopsided relationship." "Why must you be so difficult to abuse?" "Go spit in your socks."
"Wally, did you finish the detailed analysis?" "No, I'm more of a big picture kind of guy." "Why didn't you tell me that a week ago when I asked?" "I don't like to disappoint people." "What the @#$% do you think I am now?!" "Hey, I think I'm starting to like disappointing people!"
Wally: "May I see the vacation schedule?" Carol: "Why do you want it?" Wally: "No reason." "Well, Ted, I hope you're enjoying your vacation." The Boss: "Wally, do you have the cost estimates?" Wally: "I'm waiting for Ted's input. He's on vacation." The Boss: "How about the revised time-line?" Wally: "I'm waiting for Ted." "Do you need any office supplies? I'm going to the store." Dilbert: "Maybe some pens." TED Wally: "Limited selection but excellent prices." Dilbert: "Thanks." Wally: "So, I understand you have a vacation next week."
Tina: Dilbert totally flipped out when I showed him the cost estimates. Alice: "Really? Or is this one of those cases where someone acts normally and you inexplicably tell the world that they totally flipped out?" Tina: "Whoa! Don't flip out." Alice: "I wonder if I can punch her sane."
I'll ask the vendor for ballpark prices to see if the idea is feasible. "You can't talk with vendors until our change control board approves the project." "But that would require a cost-benefit analysis." "And I can't do that without ballpark prices from the vendor." "Just take your best guess." "So...I should make up a number so I can get approval to make a phone call and ask what the number should have been?" "Right. But first you need to get my approval to do the cost-benefit analysis." "Will you approve it?" "I'd have to see the numbers."