Saturday, August 8, 2009

Project insanity

I've been rereading my journal (not blog) and realized that every year, for the last 3 years, I've been engaged in a crazy "meet the date at all costs" project that ultimately ended up being canceled around the March to July timeframe. This year was no exception and I raised red flags, drew charts, rang warning bells, blew whistles, rang gongs, frankly I think I did everything but set myself of fire and for some reason... we continued to mindlessly tool along using an outright crazy set of expensive tools to "deliver" a project that was totally behind schedule, didn't do what we wanted, and frankly was one of the most ridiculously avoidable failures I've had the misfortune to be involved with. Mind you I'm sure it ended up "working" and probably wouldn't be canceled this year because it had good buy-in from senior management, it's just we did it the hard and expensive way and relied on heroics of individual people instead of doing it the smart and economical way.

For a postmortom, somehow it seemed like I was speaking a different language when I tried to discuss the problems and how we might avoid or fix them. Worse yet, it seems like I developed a reputation among my management team as a difficult and inconsolable whiner who just didn't want to buckle down and do what he's told. Oddly enough, our CIO had urged me to make sure I communicate things, but I felt a personal sense of loyalty to my management team to not expose problems to their bosses. In retrospect, I think that loyalty was misguided and while it's unfortunate, I think it probably will cause the problem to persist for quite some time.

In any event, I personally think I utterly and abjectly failed in my role as a technical leader on that project. I stopped trying to resist letting the train run off the tracks and arrived at the conclusion that I did not posses the requisite communication skills to explain the problems and how they should have been solved... Frankly, my solution was to shut up and leave the company.

I've since moved to another company... More to follow

--Mike

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