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Rapid Development

I thoroughly enjoy the experience of rapidly developing storms. The visceral excitement they stir has never diminished since first memory of weathering extreme storms in tornado alley.

Alerted about this storm by notification from my favorite weather app, I could hear it coming before it appeared over the eastern ridges. It spawned above Black Lake, about 26 miles northeast of here, and developed rapidly. Time was short so I snapped shots of it as fast as I could before it got too close for comfort. The weather alert predicted heavy lightning strikes.

Eight shots later, I had what I wanted and scampered inside just as the first cloud-to-ground strike hit the closest ridge. Cold wind kicked up in a big gust then it dumped its load of rain and hail. Lying in bed beside the upstairs window gleefully watching and listening to the storm rage on, memories of the year I arrived here eighteen years ago in a stormy rush from a place just over 200 miles north and a little east to start working for the State of New Mexico in Santa Fe welled to the surface and were snagged in the drift of a thought stream. That too was an experience in stormy rapid development, on multiple dimensions. My new supervisor had warned her existing staff I was coming to lead the web applications development project they had all allowed to stall and they were not happy about it. Contractors were gleefully capitalizing on their lackadaisical attitudes, charging cost plus time to spin their expensive wheels while her staff all sat on their thumbs (as public service employees are very prone to do) and the project languished.

Within the first two weeks, the project was rocking and rolling after I had demanded a prototype from the contractors ASAP based on current design documentation. They delivered promptly, recognizing someone of skill and knowledge was now at the helm, and of course the prototype was severely lacking in expected functionality. Thus began iterative refactoring of the prototype into usable software adhering to the design requirements. Existing staff began to despise me for the significant progress being made because it generated new work for them they did not want to do, but my storm was just getting underway and they could not find shelter from it. After demonstrating to my supervisor I could get the ball rolling in the right direction, she allowed me to advertise for new staff to build a highly skilled, ultra-focused, agile web applications development team to take over the work the contractors were doing which her existing staff stubbornly refused to learn how to do themselves. Existing staff were relegated to training users in use of the new web application. They hated it, and I laughed my ass off. Getting lucky, I hired a recent computer science and engineering school graduate from Cornell University and a few other software development movers and shakers and we wrapped the project up, told my supervisor she could fire the contractors, deployed the web application to production and began cranking out bug fixes and enhancements at a high rate with high precision and accuracy. This angered existing staff under my supervisor even more as well as state employee staff beyond my supervisor's immediate purview and forces across the agency began making political moves to thwart our team's phenomenal success. They failed to do so until the time came to reward my little high-powered development team members with substantial raises they all deserved.

I also asked for bonuses for all of them, but the agency personnel office refused that "arrogant" request and the raises they granted to team members were paltry. Understandably disappointed and angered by this, the little development team disintegrated as rapidly as it had developed as members pursued and were quickly hired into more rewarding positions across the nation. A few months later, my supervisor retired, and a few months after that I resigned to start my own company–another exciting, stormy rapid development experience.

I love this eastern mountain slopes weather.

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