Many thanks to Hanzík for the Czech translations!

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moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 202

Anchors Aweigh

After he had been with the Temple for several weeks, the new abbot Ruh Cheen called up young master Zjing on his monitor.

“I’ve been studying all the finicky little details of how software gets built here,” said Ruh Cheen. “Now, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but I’ve come up with a simple way to make things go much faster and smoother for everyone.”

“That is... surprising,” said Zjing.

“Now the thing is,” said Ruh Cheen, “our developers produce an awful lot of diagrams and documents and whatnot, which we review at meeting after meeting, just to plan what we’re going to build. But this Agile Manifesto says that those things are nowhere near as important as having a product you can poke at. So from now on I want us to do a lot less planning, and plan on a lot more doing. Wireframes? Wastebasket! Designs? Don’t bother! Sign-offs? Sayonara!”

“Interesting,” began Zjing. “But—”

“Now now...” said Ruh Cheen, “I know that change is scary, but I’ve already pitched the idea to the developers and they were downright optimistic.”

Feeling the panic rise in her chest, Zjing made a quick excuse and ended the call. When her breathing returned to normal, she called master Banzen.

- - -

As she spoke, Zjing fidgeted with a cut bundle of knotted rope that she kept on her desk. “If I cling to my pessimism, it is only because it has been so dearly bought.”

“As a perfectionist, I sympathize,” said the old master. “For perfectionism and pessimism are twin blossoms, both rooted in the fear of failure. But even I must concede that when an optimist and a pessimist set out to sea, it is the optimist who sails toward the unknown with dreams of discovery, while the pessimist seeks only a safe harbor.”

“Yet what is the pessimist to do when the shoreline is receding from view?” asked Zjing.

“A true pessimist calls upon one of like mind before setting foot in the craft,” said Banzen. “Whereupon her friend would advise her to bring extra rations, life preservers, and a flare gun.”