I just spent three days in meetings in St. Cloud, an opportunity to get away from the office while our cubicles are being torn down and rebuilt (bit of a physical reorg to match the recent organizational reorg) and to outline the direction that our web development will be taking in the next couple years. If we had been at a conference center, we would have called it a retreat, I’m sure, but instead we were in a small conference room in a basement labyrinth in a building that just screams “I was built in 1969! I was built in 1969!” There’s a guy in our regional computer center there who has been working in the same basement office since 1971. Crazy.

The first day was highly energizing, the second day exhausting, the third energetically neutral and quite enlightening. Today we hashed out a process for moving code from development to QA to production. Largely because of concessions that we made for existing processes, it ended up being far more complicated than I ever expected. For one thing, our introducing CVS entails an enormous shift in code management. The way that I would normally think to use CVS, branching off major releases to run through QA, won’t work because of conceptual hurdles and because it doesn’t mesh with the current process. The culture clash between our long-time core systems developers and newer developers working on web-based apps will be a fun one to watch. I understand that we shouldn’t jettison a perfectly functional system, and I want to learn from what we’ve been doing, but at the same time it’s really bizarre to me that CVS should cause such a ruckus, because I don’t think it’s that different.

Then again, I don’t think that the leap from procedural to object oriented programming is a big deal. Seriously, I don’t understand all the fuss.

I can’t wait until we broach the topic of unit testing. Oy.

Regardless, I’m going to have to spend time thinking about how to smooth out the wrinkles in our new code management process. It will work, but it’s inelegant.

And of course, the real fun of the meeting was getting other work done at the same time, as I have a big project that just can’t wait for me to be on pause for several days. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by workaholics who think it perfectly natural to be typing away while everyone’s talking. :)