Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Cube Farm: You’ll Laugh, But Wish It Hadn’t Been Written
December 1, 2004Posted by on
If you are a fan of Dilbert or movies like Office Space, Cube Farm will be right up your alley. The twist? This one’s all about Lawson. Yes, Lawson, the software company you’ve come to know and love.
Told in first-person by Bill Blunden, a former Lawson R&D employee, this tome spins its way through several years of bungled projects and political battles at Lawson. Blunden, fresh from college with a gung-ho can-do attitude, gets his first taste of corporate America, in the pre-Y2K dot-com era. After waiting tables, and interviewing at 3 companies, Blunden treks to Minnesota to work for Lawson. (By the way, Blunden’s characterizations of the Minnesotans are spot-on hilarious!)
Anointing his colleagues with pseudonyms, such as Long John Silver, the Mad Prophet, and Gigolo, Blunden describes his tenure at Lawson, unearthing the mismanagement and lack of direction we have all come to know and love as Lawson. Along the way, you’ll hear tales of several long-ago abandoned projects (anyone remember Select Enterprise? Open Enterprise Desktop?) Blunden also "owned" the maintenance of the dbdef utility for a while, and shares some insight on how unforthcoming many of the original developers were in sharing their institutional knowledge.
Blunden (who refers to himself as Reverend Bill, from the "Church of the SubGenius") does a great job explaining-in plain English-various topics such as client-server, and Lawson’s architecture, etc. I’m proud to say that he also echoes many of the themes that I often use, such as "It’s not a 4GL, it’s a 1GL!" Along they way, you’ll also learn a few of Lawson’s "dirty secrets", which I won’t spoil for you by sharing them here.
If you’ve spent as much time around Lawson as I have, you love this book. But, you may also find it a bit depressing, since you’ll discover more about Lawson’s dysfunction than you really wish you had. You can pick up a copy of Cube Farm (ISBN 1-59059-403-7) at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1590594037.