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All comments by Kevin O'Brien
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Greg, you speak “correct facts.” "I can't speak to . . . since I wasn't there.“ and ”Why there's . . . I can't exactly say.“ and ”I don't know what the motivation would be for the conspiracy you're imagining, . . . my role and expertise is technical.

Nic has been setting out the motivation . . . CYA by Management for the legal SNAFU.

Nic has posted on Bridge Winners, in several places, specific question he urges us to ask our District Directors/BoD members. Thursday, those present have the opportunity to ask those questions to the CEO; instead of ”What and when did Management tell you about (specific item),“ they can ask the CEO ”What and when did YOU tell the Board of Directors about (specific item)." That is, they will have that opportunity if the CEO shows up as part of the Management Technology Committee he appointed and chairs, and answers questions posed to him by the public.

At least some of the ACBL people who CAN speak to the use of the not-really-the-final-delivery-of-ACBLscore+ proxy for evaluation, rather than the delivered product, WILL, presumably, be there Thursday.

At least some of the ACBL people who CAN speak to the version gap in the software given to the CEO's Management Technology Committee for evaluation WILL, presumably, be there Thursday.

Maybe such people, when questioned about such matters, will try saying things like “That's all in the past. We're trying to move forward here.” If they get away with that, jobs may be saved, but openness will be abandoned. Their lesson learned will be “the less the public knows, the less trouble comes back upon me/us.”

I hope you will be able to both stream and record the event; I'm VERY interested in viewing it.
March 10, 2015
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment March 10, 2015
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Yes, Greg, I'm alarmed!

As Nic wrote, based on info from Jay Whipple as related by Bob Heller:
“It now appears that after the ACBLscore+ code was delivered in May 2014, that ACBL spent $100K creating a “proxy” (similar software) to ACBLscore+. I am speculating that this code, not the real ACBLscore+, was shown to the ACBL Board Members (Merlin Vilhauer, Russ Jones) in May/June 2014. Based on this they recommended dropping ACBLscore+.”

I've read what Mr. Jones and Mr. Vilhauer said in their District newsletters as well. The not-really-ACBLscore+ demo convinced them to join in the unanimous decision of the Committee to recommend dropping the entire ACBLscore+ product.

Then ACBL Management/IT gave you that not-really-the-last-delivery ACBLscore+ to review.

It appears that what at first looked to me like the “Nic Hammond Conspiracy Theory” may actually have real (as you say) “correct facts” as its basis.

Mr. Hartman does not appear to be in a comfortable position. Good luck in the Q & A in two days.
March 10, 2015
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On a far, far more serious note, is the process of ACBL Management/IT giving Greg what they (presumably) called “the ACBLscore+ we received from Hammond Software at the end of the contract” – which was NOT what they said it was – just incompetence, or was it done on purpose? Is it worth finding out?

The software the “Select Committee” reviewed between the REAL “the ACBLscore+ we received from Hammond Software at the end of the contract” and the announced decision to abandon the product . . . which presumably cost ACBL $150K to build . . . was the “Select Committee” told this was NOT the Hammond Software product? If not, was omitting this vital information just incompetence, or was it done on purpose? Is it worth finding out?

From my far-on-the-outside perspective, ACBL management exhibits too much incompetence in this fiasco, or there is cause for serious questioning of ethics. Neither sounds good, and ACBL Management's silence doesn't help at all.
March 10, 2015
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err . . . is there any other kind of fact? “incorrect fact” doesn't make sense! :)
March 10, 2015
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Nic and Ed,

I agree completely with Ed about EDMOV.

As for completion date, Nic, your own words disprove you.
- you can proceed from date of new contract and be finished in about 6 (no longer 6-7 but now only 6) months. “Let's say finish date is absolutely everything. ACBLscore gone away.”

Yes you can start on movements because you have some delivered-too-late-for-completion-in-the-original-contract movement specs, but:

1: you presume you can re-hire your part-time movements/EDMOV programmmer and “My estimate is based on re-hiring him, but I haven't talked to him lately.”

2: the “best/recommended movements for BAM/Individual/Swiss” are missing still, as are, presumably ACBL's EDMOV specs.

3: then there's the absolutely important thorough testing. You can't have a final, throw-the-old-ACBLscore-away date the day the 6 months of coding is complete, you need real-world testing of movements and EDMOV in club and tournament situations. “You can't have it be the primary until EDMOV works.” And you can't prove that EDMOV works without extensive testing. That's got to be a matter of at least another month, probably more, in the field – AFTER whatever test regimen you set up in-house to work through all the various possible scenarios.

Your critical challenges to your “6 months” words seem to be:
a: being able to re-hire the previous experienced programmer
b: getting the still-missing EDMOV and BAM/Individual/Swiss specs from ACBL in time for the programmer to have no wait time in the coding
c: getting adequate testing in – not just for partial completion milestones during coding but most importantly for the complete package, all specs coded, and in enough real-world Club/Sectional/Regional situations to inspire user (and ACBL management) confidence that everything works and is ready for prime time.

IMHO, that's too many unknowns (programmer availability and testing-in-the-field work) and too many well-knowns (ACBL's ability to deliver specs in a timely manner) to put any confidence at all in your “6-7 months” of a few days ago, much less your “ACBLscore gone away . . . about 6 months” of the last hour or two.

What am I missing here, Nic?

On the other hand, ACBL is now burning through money at $50K per month just to re-invent what it already has in ACBLscore+, and not planning on completing anything missing now until sometime after 2015 ends – so even a full year for completing ACBLscore+ would be a huge improvement over Management's present plans.
March 10, 2015
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment March 10, 2015
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Huge round of applause to Nic and Greg for taking their conversation back to one-on-one in private, and making great strides in clearing up misunderstandings!
March 9, 2015
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Huge round of applause to Greg and Nic for taking their conversation back to one-on-one in private, and making great strides in clearing up misunderstandings!
March 9, 2015
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Your own words, Nic:

“During the original contract, ACBL stopped payments, didn't provide specs. I had to put some developers working on critical path items on furlough. Critical path means exactly that. Every day of delay is a delay in final delivery. The EDMOV/movements was critical path from day one. This functionality had a 6-7 month delay. No matter how many resources are thrown at the project, there is still a 6-7 month delay - caused by ACBL. I am not going to back down from this number. So a final delivery, matching the contract requirements, is a minimum of 6-7 months away.”

So no matter what is thrown into project completion, the finish date is a minimum of 6-7 months after you receive the EDMOV/movements missing specs, no matter how long that is after Day 0 or Day 1 of the roll-out. Correct?
March 9, 2015
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Humor break: can ACBL's CEO hire Dilbert to work on replacing ACBLscore? He would be the perfect employee!

http://dilbert.com/strip/2015-03-08
March 9, 2015
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Nic,

IMHO, you need a refill on your prescription for tact pills. If you thought there might be a shred of hope for your “complete ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ and use it ACBL-wide” plan, you needed to avoid an adversarial relationship with Greg, Uday, and Ralph.

Since when does public point-by-point refutation/denial of Greg's words win friends and (positively) influence people?

Greg had trouble with installation, and you replied, in effect, “RTFM” – when you could have offered to talk him through the process while on the phone instead.

It looks like you have gone downhill – far downhill, and very fast – from that point.

Greg says “I've seen the software.” Instead of stating in a public forum “No you haven't,” you could have made a private offer to demo. The public challenge is far too adversarial for your cause.

The least you could have done is kept such communication private; instead you (it seems to me) are trying to show him up here in public – again, no way to win friends and (positively) influence people.

ACBL has mostly been silent; Greg, Uday, and Ralph talk – and from what I read, very few to none of their words are to your cause's benefit.

I believe we all want to see better software used, implemented as soon as reasonably possible – but insofar as that requires better people skills, the whole Hammond Software and ACBL relationship appears to be an epic fail, now including, alas, the Hammond Software and ACBL CEO's Management Technology Committee relationship.
March 8, 2015
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from above:
“The challenge for the (CEO's) Management Technology Committee and others with responsibility for ACBL, is to find the path to all that ACBLScore+/Bridgescore+ promises in a shorter time than 18 months, and less cost than $500,000. Is that actually possible without Nic Hammond? I doubt it, but we'll have to wait 18 months to see what's been accomplished.”

and quoting Kevin Lane:
“A key question is the alternative. Any proposal to ignore all of ACBLscore+ implies a realistic alternative that's better.”

Good luck, Uday, we all want you and the rest of the Committee to succeed – “help the ACBL to move forward,” “learn from the past and plan better for the future.”
March 7, 2015
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Nic,

Your current roll-out plan sounds good; it also shows where the Feb 27 CEO's (Management) Technology Committee minutes got their “up to 18 months” – your own words from your e-mail to Uday and Greg.

You know the two reasons your roll-out plan won't work –

first and foremost, as Kevin Lane stated so well, “the relationship between ACBL and NH's organization is beyond repair;”

second, you will see snowball fights in Hades before day 1 of the roll-out, the day when ACBL provides all the “missing specs.”
March 6, 2015
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Has engine problems, too!
March 6, 2015
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ACBL has $600,000 in this year's budget to re-invent software it already owns or is already in use in ACBL-Land (e.g. Partnership Desk, Fast Results, proven features in Bridgescore+) Presumably it's putting in the effort and money at a steady rate, that is $50,000 per month.

Nic Hammond offers more “I can't give a solid time/money estimate as they are co-dependent. If you want some numbers, I'd say 9-18 months, $200K-$500K, excluding travel” for a completed ACBLscore+ – but day 0 starts when ACBL provides the infamous “missing specs.”

As Kevin Lane so clearly puts it, “it's clear either way that the relationship between ACBL and NH's organization is beyond repair.”

The challenge for the CEO's Technology Committee and others with responsibility for ACBL, is to find the path to all that ACBLScore+/Bridgescore+ promises in a shorter time than 18 months, and less cost than $500,000. Is that actually possible without Nic Hammond? I doubt it, but we'll have to wait 18 months to see what's been accomplished.
March 6, 2015
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Greg,

If not possible to stream the meeting, how about just recording audio/video and asking ACBL to post this, unedited, on March 12?

Kevin Lane,

You know ACBL has no such specs. If the specs existed in fall of 2013, Hammond Software would have finished its work and we would all be reaping the benefits. Since then ACBL IT and Management appear to have been too busy to write specs, they've been re-inventing the wheel and doing CYA things.

Greg,

Nic talks about the installer in great detail in his e-mail to you, partially posted at http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/technology-meeting-next-thursday/.

“I had planned on Windows installer and Mac installer being about 2-8 man weeks of work depending on who did the work.”

“The intent was always a one click type installation. The current way of installing the software is NOT how we would plan to ship to the end users.”

March 6, 2015
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment March 6, 2015
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Nic saya a lot, in many different places, about “ Developer is estimated to be up to 18 months from completion of the project” in http://bridgewinners.com/article/view/technology-meeting-next-thursday/. Let's look at some of what he says:

First, “My estimate to complete was 6-7 months, not 18. This is because there was a 6+ month delay in some critical path items. I actually want to do a roll-out NOW, not in 18 months. Code is ready. Hey…. it was used in Gatlinburg last year, doesn't get a better test than that. Worked flawlessly.

This type of incorrect reporting (ACBL are reporting 18 months!) is indicative of the marketing effort against ACBLscore+.”

then, much later, “Critical path, even if you gave me all the resources in the world, for all features is 6-9 months.”

and, further on,

“With full resources, and immediate delivery of all missing specs from ACBL (e.g. Masterpoints assignments/eligibility, movements), everything could be done in probably 6-9 months (assuming I can rehire the people I had).”

but near the end, he adds:: “A better implementation would be the slow roll-out I've mentioned. This would be less risk for all involved. It would be cheaper. Much safer.”

Next glimpse: “You wanted a full break-down of what was needed to complete ACBLscore+. Along with time/price. That's going to take a lot of time/effort. The time/price is variable. Difficulty with some of this is knowing when ACBL will deliver the specs. So, let's assume that they deliver all the specs on day 1, and I'm not waiting on them for anything during the work, that TDs are always available, and that I get a 24 hours response to questions.”

and the next-to-last word: "if time is an issue, probably 6-7 months, assuming I can hire the same people and they are available, and we get all specs on day 1. This is about the delay in the critical path items so seems about right. We can absolutely do interim releases starting on day 1 so another way of looking at it is release on Day 1, version 2.0 in 6 months.

if money is an issue, probably 12-18 months. Fewer developers, fewer have to learn code and more productive. The Mythical Man Month scenario. Again, release on Day 1. Part of the issue is the critical path movements issue. This assumes that the movements programmer is not going to be full time.

if I had to decide…., probably 9-18 months. My vote would be to minimize cost, minimize risk. Release on day 1. Increment releases as we go. Small number of developers, lots of time in the field.“

finally, ” I can't give a solid time/money estimate as they are co-dependent. If you want some numbers, I'd say 9-18 months, $200K-$500K, excluding travel.“

So Nic's guesstimate appears to include ”18 months“ – but requires ACBL's coming up with the ”missing specs" and who reading this believes ACBL is capable of doing that?
March 6, 2015
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment March 6, 2015
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Nic,

Is it worth updating http://bsp.bridgescoreplus.com/?page_id=145 with information from the Callaway Gardens experiences?
March 6, 2015
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Nic,

Please look at http://www.acbl.org/acbl-content/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Technology-Minutes-02-27-2015.pdf.

See especially the highlighted item below:

M a n a g e m e n t Technology Committee Meeting
02/27/2015
A C B L s c o r e +
• The committee has reached consensus on ACBLscore+ based on review of code, documentation and conversations with the developer.
• Developer is estimated to be up to 18 months from completion of the project.
Management Technology Committee believes the best path forward is not to continue work with Hammond Software. Committee will embark on a process to design a plan forward that best meets our Stakeholders needs.

They drew the picture. It does not include you or your company. What part of this is difficult for you to understand?

(I know, whatever reasoning there is behind this decision may indeed be difficult to impossible to understand – but the decision has been made, yet again, and yet again it's a decision consistent with all the ACBL Management decisions since May 2014.)

From my way-on-the-outside viewpoint, you are urinating in the face of a gale. What do you expect to accomplish?
March 6, 2015
Kevin O'Brien edited this comment March 6, 2015
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One structure of teaching bridge does not fit all age groups.
Feb. 19, 2015
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Interesting, Tom; in my small club, the players expect to pay cash – and in just over two years, I think I've had two checks. There has been no request for payment by smartphone or other electronic device, or credit card. Of course, I've also had only one player under age 40 in that time – and he came with his mother!
Feb. 17, 2015
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