Calendar woes

This Story is Shared by Niyas P,
Sr. Data Science Engineer at Gramener

I was always fascinated by calendars and how they originated, the months, the days of a week, their relevance – it was truly incredible. Back in school, I eagerly waited for the calendar to switch to May/June as the months gave me all-play-and-no-work time. I loved calendars ever since I discovered them, and they have been one of the best resources at my work.

Or so I thought when I started working on a project for a leading media and entertainment company in 2017. I was a novice with just a couple of years of experience at Gramener. And in those two years, I had never seen a project last longer than two years. Not to my knowledge then, this was about to change.

Our media client subscribed to a third-party provider for viewership data. Interestingly, their calendar week was from Saturday to Friday, quite unlike the Gregorian standards used internationally.

The project entailed a calendar component, and not surprisingly, our week numbers conflicted with theirs. It was peculiar, however, that the conflict only occurred for the year 2015. We did our calculations and found that the next time such a conflict would appear would be the first week of the year 2020. A time that was at a safe distance in the future.

We decided to overlook the conflict till the time everything was working well creating a technical debt so huge for the future that we never could have imagined. Three years on, and we were still very much a part of the same project. And I was still in charge!

The backlog remained pending until 2020 and we had almost forgotten about it. But the deadly skeleton in the closet resurfaced again!

It was the New Year’s week of 2020. My family had come over to give me a pleasant surprise and spend New Year’s Eve with me. But alas, I had to slog it out the whole week in the office!

On-time deliveries are what calendars help us in. Ironically enough, we deployed a faulty calendar code to keep the delivery on time, creating our very own technical debt. But Karma is a trickster. It catches on, grabs you by the neck, and makes you pay.

A Sheryl Sandberg quote says, “Done is better than perfect,” but you must beware of the technical debt you may create!

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