It is of no surprise to anyone who practices software as a dark art that, whether engaging in data migration or a much needed exorcism, there is always such a thing as best practice. These are the things you do to keep every one safe. In one case, the failure to impose larger size constraints on a table than on a web form might lead to failure for a user attempting to send a package from point A to point B; in another, the user might, say, find the Shoggoths have gone from serving canapes to removing the heads of the dinner guests.

Everyone is aware of best practice. But in some cases, it’s there more as a gloss to cover the taint of incipient failure – to give a sense of confidence to the less technically inclined. For those of us who are darned well aware of what good looks like (not to mention what evil looks like), our ability to waft a tiny scent of best practice is about as helpful as carrying a rabbit’s foot to the betting shop – although, to be honest, a rabbit’s food can actually be useful for many arcane practices. In other cases, hitting one of the ten best practices you need in order to, say, cast a successful spell is as much good as shoe inspection at airport security. Ain’t nobody’s life been saved from this bullshit.

gypsysigilsSo one of the best practices we want to follow are doing things in the right order and following an accepted pattern that helps build strength. For example, one FINISHES testing before telling people to release a project to live (or to any group of users likely to complain about a lack of perfection); any attempt to have an overlap increases not just the likelihood of duplicate defects being found but of something actually catastrophic making it out there into the real world. Similarly, one first draws the pentagram AND SEALS it before conjuring demons, and does not stop midway through and start chanting and burning offerings thinking it will save five minutes and you can always close the figure later. BAD PLAN.

So today we were engaging in sprint planning, which, apparently, consists of looking at a variety of tickets in varying states of completion and from varying springs. Best practice says DON’T START THE NEW SPRINT UNLESS YOU’VE CLOSED OUT THE OLD, but no, there we were, with the dead of a millennia clogging Jira with their rotting corpses while we attempted to cook up a fresh new meal. Yes, we’re engaging in systemic necromancy. Our plan had been to work through sample sections of the dead in order to prove the value of servants from varying aeons, but what has happened is that our early tasks, to create the potions that will animate the dead, is now suffering from having feet, elbows, eyes, and fingers littering our workroom. In some cases the partially animated bodies are attempting to “help” us with our tasks; in other cases, they’re simply quietly decomposing while nobody bothers to clean up the mess because we’re too busy making a new one. Yes, we’re suffering not just from thaumaturgical debt, but also from creature creep. My interview suit will never be the same, and yes I wore it or the reasons you might suspect.