The 90 Percent Trap

Surviving the Best Day of our Careers

by Kevin Morris

The VP was obviously impressed. In fact, “blown away” wouldn’t have been overstating it. The demo had gone perfectly, and even when he’d asked questions that took us off script, we were able to show what he wanted to see. His excitement was palpable. I knew before he walked out the door that we’d get what we wanted.


Our little team, made up of some of the most talented software engineers I’d ever met, had been working 12-14 hours per day for the past two weeks to get this demo ready. In reality, a lot of it was smoke and mirrors. We’d cobbled together TCL scripts to fill in holes in our system where development hadn’t even been started yet. There were some places where the “values” that showed in the GUI were hard-coded. But, behind the scenes, the engine was actually running and doing its job. Databases were being written and read. Actual output files were being generated. It was REAL.

Or, probably, at least 90% real.  Read More

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