A stand-up deployment, or just another bug hunt?

Dan Hon on 2017-08-29

A multidisciplinary service delivery team.

After surviving a horrific encounter with a new development methodology that left her entire development team dead, RIPLEY is on her way to MASLOW’S HOPE.

Here’s some selected scenes of what Ripley experiences:


As the Pivotal transport vehicle SULACO approaches MASLOW’S HOPE, APONE, a SENIOR ENGINEER rallies his co-workers.

APONE: “Alright sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in dev/ops.”


RIPLEY and the PIVOTAL crew are gathered around the mess hall of the transport vehicle SULACO, speeding down 101. Outside, a STARBOW streaks by due to their DISRUPTIVE speed.

BISHOP offers BURKE, the Director of Product, a slice of avocado toast and sits down. BISHOP has just cut his finger on an INDEX CARD and is detachedly observing a small trickle of blood.

BURKE sees BISHOP’s blood: “I thought you never missed, Bishop.”

RIPLEY sees the blood on BISHOP’s finger caused by the INDEX CARD and shock crosses her face.

RIPLEY: “You never said anything about a project manager onboard, why not?!”

BURKE: “It never… never occured to me. It’s just common practice. We always have a project manager onboard.”

BISHOP glances at the INDEX CARD and cleanly LICKS the BLOOD from his finger.

BISHOP, slightly PUT OUT: “I prefer the term scrum master, myself.”

BURKE: “Right.”

Turning to RIPLEY, BISHOP asks: “Is there a problem?”

BURKE is contrite and apologetic: “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I didn’t even- on Ripley’s last product the project manager… made a mistake.”


BURKE continues: “There were problems, a few CERT advisories were involved. There was a bad TechCrunch writeup.”

The look of surprise on BISHOP’s face is genuine: “I’m shocked. Was it using an older methodology?”

BURKE confidently answers BISHOP’s question: “Waterfall, with ITIL v3 Foundation Framework.”

BISHOP’s face is now the picture of understanding: “That explains it, then. Waterfall with ITIL was always a bit twitchy. That could never happen now with an agile, iterative approach. It is impossible for me to ignore, or by omission of action allow to be ignored, a validated user need.”

Attempting to make peace, BISHOP offers RIPLEY his last slice of avocado toast. We see that it is SMASHED and drizzled with EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.

RIPLEY angrily SLAPS the toast away: “You just stay away from me Bishop, you got that?

We pan across an OPEN PLAN office inside the SULACO. There are STANDING DESKS, sleek APPLE LAPTOPS and DOG BEDS. The PIVOTAL team are milling around, busying themselves reading HACKER NEWS and having opinions about which JAVASCRIPT FRAMEWORK is better.

APONE, a seasoned SENIOR ENGINEER with NEARLY A WHOLE PERCENT OF EQUITY, gets the team’s attention before their DAILY STANDUP, which GORMAN, the new Product Manager, is going to lead.


GORMAN turns around, takes a deep breath and addresses the team: “Morning, team. I’m sorry we didn’t have time to brief everyone before we left the city — ”

GORMAN is interrupted by one of the PIVOTAL team members raising a hand: “Sir?”

GORMAN: “What is it, Hicks?”

The team member replies: “Hudson, sir.”

HUDSON looks to his side: “He’s Hicks.”

GORMAN is UNFAZED: “What’s the question?”

HUDSON: “Is this gonna be a stand-up deployment, sir, or another bug hunt?”

GORMAN decides to ignore HUDSON’s attitude: “All we know is there’s been no contact with the cluster, and that a xeno — sorry, a zero-day may be involved.”

One of the TEAM MEMBERS (who we later learn is WIERZBOWSKI) pipes up: “A what?”

GORMAN repeats himself, TIREDLY: “A zero-day.”

HICKS clarifies, quietly, to WIERZBOWSKI: “It’s a bug hunt.” He looks at RIPLEY, then, more respectfully: “What exactly are we dealing with here?”

RIPLEY tries to compose herself. She’s clearly unsettled.

RIPLEY: “I’ll tell you what I know. Our product only had a codename — LV 426. One my engineers had read a post on Hacker News about a new development methodology that came with a Python module and cloned the module’s source into our Git repository. It didn’t work out. We tried to remove it… but it was embedded. Later, when we checked the commit history, it seemed to disappear by itself. We couldn’t find it after that. Kane, the engineer, seemed fine…”

RIPLEY is unable to finish. The memory of what happened to her engineer is too raw, and the PIVOTAL team make fun of her.

RIPLEY gathers herself, and interrupts them: “Are you finished?”

“Because that methodology and Python module wiped out my entire team in under 24 hours. If the development team on Maslow’s Hope have found it, there’s no telling how many of them have been exposed. Do you understand?”

GORMON tries to reassert himself: “Anyway, we have it on the Github wiki, I suggest you read it. Any questions?”

HUDSON raises his hand, again.

GORMON: “What is it, Hudson?”

HUDSON is playing with fire: “How do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?”

GORMON has HAD ENOUGH. Quietly: “All right. Listen up. I want this product to go smooth, and by the numbers. I want PT and storypoint estimates by 0830. CI, Chaos Monkey, AWS Docker assimilation and Kubernetes will have seven hours.”

There are MURMERS of discontent amongst the PIVOTAL team.

GORMAN, as he leaves: “Now move it, people!”

It is DARK inside the SULACO's continuous deployment dropship. The team is crammed inside, enjoying the ride as the dropship screams towards MASLOW’S HOPE, buffeted by rough wifi conditions. As we pan across the team, we see HICKS is sleeping like a baby.


GORMAN, however, looks nauseous and is GRIPPING his chair, his knuckles WHITE.

RIPLEY attempts to put him at ease: “How many products is this for you, Gorman?”

GORMON replies, SWEAT beading on his face: “Thirty-eight…”

A beat.

GORMON continues: “… on Coursera.”

VASQUEZ rolls her eyes: “How many in production?”

GORMON answers: “Well… two. Three including this one.”

DRAKE exchanges a can-you-believe-this-shit look with VASQUEZ. The mood on the dropship worsens.


WE CATCH UP with the team after the dropship has landed:


It’s DARK and RAINING outside the entrance to building 16 at the MASLOW’S HOPE campus. The team gathers outside as APONE, the SENIOR ENGINEER, calls the shots: “All right, I want a nice clean sprint zero this time.”

The team jumps out of their personnel carrier, some carrying light MACBOOKS, others carrying heavier MACBOOK PROs with TOUCHBARS and DRAKE and VASQUEZ hefting heavy-duty BACKPACK PCs with DUAL NVIDIA 1080TIs. DRAKE and VASQUEZ make carrying their equipment look easy.

GORMAN, back in the personnel carrier issues orders: “First dev/ops team on-line. Hicks, get yours in accord and watch the rear.”

VASQUEZ takes point with her BACKPACK PC and the team quickly runs into their first obstacle: the MASLOW’S HOPE SLACK isn’t letting them in.

APONE: “Hudson? Run a bypass.”

HUDSON flips open a maintenance panel and fumbles with a USB-C to ethernet DONGLE, plugging in his MACBOOK to the MASLOW’S HOPE wired network.

As HUDSON bypasses the SLACK authentication, APONE orders Hicks’ second squad to move up.

As HUDSON opens up the MASLOW’S HOPE Slack, the first team moves in and GORMON suggests that HICKS’ team take the upper channels.

The team explores the SLACK. APONE notes signs of fighting. Either the logs have been scrubbed clean, or the company was saving money and keeping them on a free account: there’s nothing.

GORMON looks worried: “All right. Hicks, Hudson? Use your user researchers.”

“Nothing. Not a goddamn thing.”


LATER, after the team have recovered a NEWT, a YOUNG USER RESEARCH INTERN who has been hiding on the MASLOW’S HOPE campus, APONE and co. continue exploring, looking for the missing engineers.


APONE’s team has encountered signs of an unnerving and unfamiliar development methodology. The corridors they are exploring are lined with WHITEBOARDS covered in some sort of ORGANIC SECRETION.

As the team explores, RIPLEY glances at the source tree in GITHUB. She looks WORRIED.

RIPLEY: “Gorman, what prototyping tools does your team use?”

GORMAN reels off a reply: “Photoshop, Illustrator and XD Beta. Standard Adobe Creative Cloud for wireframing and mockups. No Sketch”

RIPLEY: “Well, look where your team is. They’re right under the continuous integration servers.”

GORMAN isn’t getting it: “So?”

RIPLEY: “So, if they deploy their prototypes in there, won’t they disrupt the build servers?”

BURKE gets it, and explains to GORMAN: “Ho, ho, ho. Yeah, she’s absolutely right. Look. Maslow’s Hope is basically the development center for a product with over two billion monthly active users. So she’s talking about a massively disruptive service interruption. Adios, muchachos.”

GORMAN is starting to lose it: “Oh great. Wonderful.”

A beat, and GORMAN rubs his forehead.


GORMAN gathers himself.

GORMAN: “Look. Uh… Apone. Look. We can’t have any live deployment in there. I, uh, I want you to collect wireframes from everybody. We can’t have any mockups in there.”

WIERZBOWSKI instantly reacts: “Is he fucking crazy?!”

HUDSON is equally incredulous: “What’re we supposed to use?! Descriptive language?!”

GORMAN: “User stories on index cards ONLY. I want Macbooks slung.”

APONE attempts to interrupt, but he’s overruled.

GORMAN: “Just do it, Apone.”

APONE starts collecting MACBOOKS and stuffing them into an SDR D3 TRAVELLER duffel.

The team look SHOCKED. Things are about to get WORSE.

Things have gotten WORSE. After a disasterous encounter with an unfamiliar development methodology, the team is reeling. For starters: their transport carrier has been destroyed, many of their team have died in a live deployment, and they’ve just watched their dropship crash and explode.

BISHOP has been examining the artifacts from the MASLOW’S HOPE sprints and relays his findings to RIPLEY. RIPLEY tells him to securely destroy the artifacts, but BISHOP points out that BURKE left very specific instructions to preserve them and bring them back to company servers.

“It was a bad call, Ripley.”


We’re in a SMALL ROOM on the MASLOW’S HOPE campus and RIPLEY has confronted BURKE.

BURKE: “Look, those two artifacts are worth millions to the government and corporate development division. Now, if you’re smart, we can both come out of this as heroes and we’ll be set up for life.”

RIPLEY is having NONE OF IT: “You’re crazy Burkey, you know that? You really think you can get a definition of done incorporating those artifacts through the next sprint planning meeting?”

BURKE deflects: “How can they disagree if they don’t know about it?”

RIPLEY: “Oh, they will know about it, Burke. From me. Just like they’ll know that you were responsible for the deaths of 158 developers and users here.”

BURKE wasn’t expecting this: “Wait a second…”

RIPLEY: “You wrote that user story.”

BURKE: “You’re wrong.”

RIPLEY: “I just checked the backlog. Dated 0–6–1–2–7–9, user story overriden and accepted by Burke, Carter J. You accepted it and you didn’t warn them.”

BURKE argues with RIPLEY more, but she isn’t giving any ground.

BURKE, disappointed: “Ripley. You know, I… I expected more from you. I thought you’d be smarter than this. I thought you could be a product owner.


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