Italian Traffic–A Metaphor

italian_traffic

Having recently returned from a wonderful time in the Bay of Naples for our anniversary, I was reminded once again of the madness that is Italian driving.

With Italian driving there is always a lot of noise, activity, and speed involved but not always a lot of movement towards the desired destination. This reminded me of how often we end up treating projects the same way, we can see a lot of noise, activity, and speed but not a lot of progress towards where we actually want to end up.

When all said and done none of those actually help if we are not actually making them in the right direction, or making them all together such that we end up with deadlock. Making sure we actually plan and direct the traffic or project activity ensures that we will actually make more progress than just doing lots of it. And here the Germans with their structured autobahns end up travelling a lot faster to where they want to go, although I am sure the Italians will say with much less fun (and dented cars and egos!).

So as I return to work after my break, I am reminded that my primary role as a Development Manager is to direct the traffic and make sure that all that activity is actually getting us where we need to go. The aids we have in place like our Kanban board and Teamcity build server just ensure that we are continuously checking we are moving in the right direction and not towards one almighty road block as is the wont with traffic at many of the intersections we encountered with everyone trying to enter at the same time.

Good Installation Errors & Visual Studio 2008

Have spent the last 2 days trying to get the RTM version of Visual Studio 2008 to install and what an experience that has been. Kept getting an error during the overall install process with the Web Authoring Component and the error given was:-

setup.exe: [2] ISetupComponent::Pre/Post/Install() failed in
ISetupManager::InternalInstallManager() with HRESULT -2147023293.

Now the googling started as I tried to work out what the problem was, all sorts of offerings were made and I tried most of them. Finally settling on extracting the web authoring component to a temp directory and running its setup out of the combined Visual Studio installer. This indicated that some Office 2007 Beta component was installed which was hindering the installation. So working through the various Office add-ons I had installed, previously I have had this error due to the PDF/XPS add-on and the Expression Blend betas. Well the PDF add-on is now the release version and I had already removed Expression Blend. After a few attempts it turned out that the Outlook 2007 Calendar Printing Assistant was the culprit, and once removed the install proceeded to complete.

Now I ask why couldn’t the combination installer tell me that in the first place, without trying to install it manually I would still be looking for a solution. If you are going to create combination installers which roll-up a whole host of components and install them together then you need to make sure that decent error messages are either passed back to the main installer or at least logged somewhere for further diagnosis.