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A Not-So-Simple Requirement

Samuel sent Jonathan an email the next day instructing him talk to Joab about a technical work breakdown structure. He wanted to get a head start on developing the design, and he wanted Joab to be the architect for the Kaplan Motors (KM) project.

“Joab has been in the test lead role for a long time,” Samuel said in the email. “He’s ready to move into the lead architect role, and this project is small enough to allow him to safely cut his teeth. I’ve spoken to Joab, and he’s waiting for you to contact him.”

Jonathan arranged a meeting with Joab to discuss the design for the customer’s solution. As he sat at the table in the conference room waiting for Joab to arrive, he heard his father’s loud voice.

“Your stupidity cost me my bonus!” Saul yelled at Joab, following him down the corridor. “You’re not going to get away with this! I can’t believe you’re still working here!”

Joab did not say a word. He simply entered the conference room, sat down with his back to Saul, and stared blankly towards Jonathan.

“What are you doing here?” Saul said, hands on his hips, looking at Jonathan with squinted eyes.

“Samuel assigned Joab the architect role on my project,” Jonathan said. “We’re meeting about the design.”

“Then Samuel is dumber than this guy,” said Saul as he stormed off.

“Did you read the Statement of Work I sent you?” asked Jonathan, eager to move things along.

“I ... ah ... did,” said Joab slowly, voice quivering. Joab had a slim build and wore an untucked gray polo shirt and blue jeans. “It’s a ... ah ... simple requirement. We deployed dozens of these systems, and we did a ... ah ... site visit a few weeks ago before we submitted the proposal, so we know the work. But there have been issues with the ... ah ... IPM network module. The vendor is supposed to replace it, but there’s a production issue.”

“Now how would you know that?” Jonathan asked, tilting his head to the right.

Feeling insulted, Joab delayed his response. He made a fist with both hands as they rested on the table, looked at Jonathan and said, “It’s my job to know. I guess you don’t trust me, either.”

Joab held Jonathan’s stare for a few seconds. “I have a good design template for this system,” Joab said as he got up to leave. “I’ll send the design document in a week.”

“This is going to be harder than I thought,” Jonathan said out loud to himself. “So much tension!”

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