Cheap Fishing Rods are like Cheap Programmers.

So I’m fishing the other day at lake Dixon with a brand new rod/reel set from Wal Mart. Dixon grew a world record bass recently, so I thought I’d blow an afternoon hiking the banks – throwing cheap lures into the drink. Upon arriving, I immediately hiked to the furthest point. After about three casts, I hit a routine snag and did a “double pop” to free my Blue Fox spinner.”SNAP!”

Now, I’m not the world’s greatest fisherman, but I’ve done that same “double pop” a thousand times and never snapped a rod in two. Had I given the rod a good shake in the store, it would have cracked in two right there and I wouldn’t have been stranded on a far bank holding a small rod (I’m not accustomed to that).

I sat down on a big rock, took my shirt off, and enjoyed thirty minutes of sunshine.

Flashback: I’m working as a “Development Manager” for a group of 12 programmers at a large, financial services firm. I am one of many “Managers” responsible for delivering internal software applications. <Exciting!> Once a week, we have excrutiatingly painful meetings to pour over hourly rates, allocated resources, confidence factors, etc. All so projects can be tracked to the nearest dollar.

I’m given a small web program and asked to estimate a total cost and delivery date. In addition, I’m told to give the project to resource X so that he can begin learning ASP.

I triple my estimate because I have never worked with Resource X before and commit to a date a month out.

If you know software, you already know the rest. A month later, after repeated reassurances from Resource X, I found myself sitting with a bunch of senior VP’s explaining that the project was over budget, not ready, blah blah blah (think “short rod” again). I am forced to write the program on my own.

The lesson? Had I shaken Resource X at the outset, he would have broken like the rod would’ve in Wal Mart.

Wise Man Say, “Do not take weak rod when hard rod is needed.”

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