Things are starting to get busier on my new project. It is, alas, still listed as Restricted Secret, which means I cannot really talk about its details. Nor could I even reveal its codename, even though codenames reveal nothing about what a project really is. For the sake of making referring to it slightly less annoying for me, I’ll refer to it using a made-up codename in the best traditions of the company’s history of naming things for lakes, peaks, creeks, and towns. So the secret project shall henceforth be known as Suquia Creek (being the creek across from my house.)
Since I cannot give any details on Suquia Creek, what could I possibly talk about? A lot, it turns out. I can talk about things I’m learning while working on the project.
Ah boy, am I learning!
It turns out Suquia Creek is going to be the longest, most complex project I’ve worked on. Until SC came along, the longest project of my life had been Lava Peak, which ran for about two years. But that included post-launch activities. We managed to go from ideation to shipping in just under a quarter (I even won an award because of that back in 2007.) Suquia Creek, on the other hand, is scheduled to ship in 2014! That’s nearly half a decade of work.
As well, for earlier projects I only had to worry about software. Suquia Creek, however, is also hardware. And on the software side, off the top of my head, it involves —
- Processor µcode
And a few other things I can’t say without revealing more than I should.
Bottom line: it’s huge as far as I’m concerned! And we should support multiple versions of Windows and one distro release of Linux. It also involves several cross-functional, geographically-dispersed teams based mainly in Argentina and the US, but also with some smaller efforts coming out of China, India, and Israel. That amounts to six different timezones, for a current maximum time difference of 17 hours.
And then we come back to schedule. I have no idea what I’ll be doing at home during this weekend, but I have to have a rough idea of what we’ll be delivering on, say, week 41 of 2013! That assumes the world will not end in 2012, of course.
This week we had our first engineering meeting to plan on a tentative schedule. Late next month I’ll be flying around between Silicon Valley and Silicon Forest to work out the (semi-)hard schedule. By then, we’ll actually have one internal alpha release in place already. After that, we’ll have another alpha before our first “release”, an internal proof of concept, which will then be used by customer as part of a (quasi-confidential) pilot. The customer? One of the world’s largest… well, can’t say what is their industry yet. It’s huge though.
After that pilot I expect to be able to open up a bit on what the project actually does. In the meantime, I’m going to be sharing my learning experience.
It’s going to be an exciting half-decade for me :–)