In the land of Projs there was a giant named Magnarp. He lived in a house at the foothills of Dark Razzle mountain with his giant horned dog-bear Isala. Magnarp lived a simple life. He was strong, and was able to live by foraging roots and mushrooms in the forest. He also ate giant Pingla fish that he fished from a stream that flowed down from Dark Razzle Mountain.
Once while fishing, a large group of cycloptic unicorn centaurs approached Magnarp and asked for the best route from the foothills of Dark Razzle Mountain into the valley below. Being quite good at navigation, Magnarp told them the best way, and in a gesture of thanks, one of the cycloptic unicorn centaurs gave Magnarp a big red berry. This centaur, the most proudest of all the cycloptic unicorn centaurs introduced himself.
"I am Kvarnvik of the cycloptic unicorn centaur race. For your gesture of kindness, I shall reward you with a special gift, a Dark Mountain Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry. I will also tell you that if you ever wish to eat a Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry, please go up to our Razzlerizzle berry farm. It's too damn cold up there and we have decided to leave the mountain. "
Magnarp was beside himself. He had always heard of Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries, and knew that for many years only these special horse-man-unicorn creatures knew how to harvest the special berry at altitude. He gave his thanks and the cycloptic unicorn centaurs went down the foothills and into the valley. The next day, Magnarp used the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry he got from Kvarnvik and made a Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry pie from scratch. It was the sweetest most delightful, satisfying pie that he ever made. He knew that one day he would go up to the mountain to get the tasty berry again.
One morning, just before his coffee, Magnarp noticed that a small group of normal sized people had put up camp in the valley below. Being a giant, and being one to enjoy his solitude, he was nervous, but ultimately needed coffee to start his day. While preparing the water, Magnarp recalled that small people are wary of giants, and when in mobs, have often killed giants because they are scared of their size. Magnarp decided to keep his eyes peeled for normal sized people and while drinking his piping hot cup of sumatran blue batak peaberry, he told Isala to ferociously bark at any normal people she saw.
A few days later, around lunch, while Magnarp was eating a perfectly seasoned filet of fried Pingla, he heard a scurrying and then Isala started wildly barking. Magnarp looked out his window and saw that there were five normal sized people in his front yard. One was wearing a crown and the others were holding pens, pencils, notepads, compasses and slide rulers. Being not too worried about the small group instead of a large mob, he finished his fish and went outside.
The group was scared of Magnarp, but Magnarp wasn't intimidated by the small group at all and asked why they came to his house. The one normal sized person wearing a crown spoke up, "I am King Liatorp and I am the king of the Rekarne," he proclaimed, "In our town, far from here, we were met by a strange group of cycloptic unicorn centaurs. They bestowed unto us the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry. We have heard tell that a giant in the foothills has knowledge to harvest the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry. Are you this giant?"
Magnarp didn't like that the cycloptic unicorn centars told normal sized people about his house in the foothills, and for a moment he hesitated, but ultimately felt that it was best to be truthful and reply honestly to King Liatorp, because he was in fact a king, "Yes. I am Magnarp who has knowledge of the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry. Why do you ask?"
"Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries are a most delicious treat," replied the king. We have spoken with the unicorn cycloptic centaurs and they have told us the ways to harvest Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries, but it requires the strength and fortitude of a giant, and that no man can climb to the top of Dark Razzle Mountain where the berries grow."
"Yes, this is true," said Magnarp tersely, "I know the greed and desire of those your size. I'm sure you desire that I climb the dark mountain to the Red Razzlerizzle berry patch and retrieve Red Razzlerizzle berries for your people."
The king realizing that he had perhaps overstepped his bounds with the giant spoke quickly, "Well, good giant," the king shuffled nervously,"We have found that Red Razzlerizzle berries will help to cure those ailing from culinary boredom in our kingdom."
Magnarp wasn't sure what culinary boredom was, but it sounded serious, and thought that maybe the king's normal sized people went to bed with empty bellies. He couldn't bear this thought. In his soft giant heart he formulated a plan, "Please listen good king, let's make a plan. Climbing the dark mountain is an arduous task and will require much planning. It can only be accomplished if I think of ways to safely climb the mountain and return with the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry in tact. I do believe that for our plan to work, I can only retrieve what my giant hands can hold, two Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries.
The king agreed that the giant could only carry what he could, and that two Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries would be all he would need from the giant. What Magnarp didn't know was that the king selfishly would keep both Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries to himself and would not give them to his people.
Magnarp and the king then sat down in Magnarp's front yard and began to plan ways that Magnarp could navigate the mountain pass to the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry bushes. The king agreed to the giant's planning and implementation. It would take three days for Magnarp to climb to the top of Dark Razzle Mountain and get two Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries.
Just before their planning ended, Magnarp realized that he would gain nothing from his endeavor to the top of the mountain. He also realized that the king would return whenever he wanted to Magnarp's house to get more Giant Red Razzlerizzle berries for he people. He told the king that as a part of their agreement, that the king can only come to him for berries every five years, that Magnarp would keep his solitude and that small people would never come to his house. The king agreed.
So, the king pitched a tent in the giant's front yard, and the next day Magnarp and Isala climbed up into the mountain. The first day Magnarp and Isala were in good spirits, but the king grew impatient and greedy. The king called for his falconer and told the falconer that he needed a team of falcons to fly a rucksack up to Magnarp so that he could carry more berries. The morning of the second day the falcons delivered the sack to Magnarp asking Magnarp to deliver a rucksack of berries instead of two individual berries. Magnarp was angry because the rucksack deviated from the plan that the king and Magnarp agreed to, but Magnarp was up for a challenge.
By the end of the second day the king grew more greedy and desired his rucksack of Red Razzlerizzle berries that he decided to cut down some of the trees in Magnarp's yard and called for his engineers to design a machine to cook all of the Red Razzlerizzle berries into pies. Magnarp saw the trees falling and could see the engineers scurrying to build the machine. He became angry, but was near the Razzlerizzle bushes, so he decided to stay the night and return with the berries the next day.
On the morning of the third day Magnarp was hungry. By lunch he made it to the Red Razzlerizzle berry bush and filled his rucksack with berries. Another falcon from the king flew over his head and Magnarp caught the falcon with his hands. The falcon had a letter in it's talons. The letter was from the king and it read, "Hello Giant, we decided that it would be better for you to bring down the Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry bushes from the mountain so that we can make a Red Razzlerizzle berry pie factory, and we decided to put it next to your house. If you would bring down the bushes instead of berries, that would be great."
Magnarp was hungry and furious (a deadly combination). He ate two Red Razzlerizzle berries to regain his strength and fed the falcon to Isala. He then ran down the mountain and in his disbelief of what he saw, Magnarp dropped the rucksack and ran towards the king and the pie making machine.
The king and Magnarp saw each other, and the king looked at Magnarp and wondered where his rucksack of berries were.
"Where are the berries?" said the king.
Filled with rage, Magnarp raised his giant arms into the sky and began yelling at the top of his giant lungs, "We made a plan! I followed the plan, and every step of the way you changed the plan to suit your greedy desire! I'm so angry with you and now you will pay!
Just then Magnarp called upon Isala who with one quick chomp ate the king. The king's engineers were terrified at the sight of their king being eaten by a giant dog bear. They cowered in fear.
Magnarp, realizing that he had succumbed to his rage and hunger, sat down in his yard and began to cry. For a moment, the engineers realized that perhaps they would not be killed or eaten. After a moment of crying, Magnarp got up and walked to the engineers. They began to run in fear, but Magnarp appealed to them, "Wait, please don't run. Please don't tell your people I live here. I live in quiet solitude. I only wish to keep it."
They stopped, seeing the giant weak with emotion, one lone engineer stepped forward. She had curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She spoke with an assertive strength that appealed to Magnarp, "So, do you wish to have your dog bear eat us Magnarp?"
Wiping tears from his eyes, "No, I do not wish you to be eaten, I only wish that your people leave me be."
The engineer looked around at the others. She beckoned them to speak. They huddled together. After a brief moment they broke their huddle and the engineer spoke, "I am the leader of my team and we have made a plan. We mean to follow it. We wish not to change it. As you can see, changing plans or requirements late in implementation of a plan has serious consequences. We see this in what has happened to our king. Our king has lost his life because he was not true to his word. He paid greatly.
My team wishes to leave you be forever and never speak of your existence to any of our people."
"But what of your people's knowledge of the Giant Red Razzlerizzle Berry? Wont they seek me to retrieve them from the mountain?"
"No," quickly replied the engineer, "Our king kept the knowledge of the berry to himself. No other person in our tribe knows of it or knows of you."
"How do I know you will be true to your plan," asked the giant?
The leader walked over to the giant. Magnarp was caught off guard that she would approach not only a giant, but a giant whose dog bear just ate her king.
She hugged his giant knee, as if she were wrapping her arms around a tree trunk, "We forgive you. As engineers we understand the importance of the systems development life cycle. Our king is a poor leader and changed the requirements late in the project. His decision to do so was his undoing."
Magnarp understood the value of a plan and started crying. He cried tears of lightness. He was thankful for her forgiveness. He didn't feel so bad that his bear dog just ate a poor project manager. As a token of his thanks for the engineers forgiveness, he gave each one of them a Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry.
One of the engineers looked nervously his leader, and Magnarp knew that it was time to let the engineers go, so they could return to their families with a Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry. As they turned to walk away Magnarp had a small panic. He thought of the others in their tribe, that perhaps they would be curious about what happened to their king. He called to the leader, "What will you tell your people about their king?"
The leader of the engineers called back, "We will tell them he died courageously at the fierce claws of a dog-bear, and that no one should go near Dark Razzle mountain because of the ferocious beasts." As she called, she and her team disappeared into the woods.
Magnarp felt relieved and turned back towards his house. He realized that he had fewer trees, but now had inherited a state of the art pie machine and had intimate knowledge of the Razzle Rizzle Berry patch on the mountain. While thinking about all the pies he would make in the future, he was overcome with a powerful sleepiness, and desired his bed. He called Isala, who was licking her chops, to come into the house, so they could nap in the comfort of their quiet home.
To this very day Magnarp lives his simple life, in his simple house with Isala and his delicious Giant Red Razzlerizzle berry pies at the foot of Dark Razzle mountain.
Moral: And so, the moral of the story is when utilizing the systems development life cycle, don't change requirements late in the process. It is one of the most common causes of failure in software projects and can lead to significant losses in time capital or other valuable resources.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.