Recently the CIO of a major corporation canceled a project that had been in the works for over 2 years. Hundreds if not thousands of man hours had been poured into this project, in the forms of testing, development and documentation. This CIO was approximately 5 levels AWAY from the folks doing the actual work. SO when it came time to make a decision did he call a meeting of the folks who were in the trenches doing the work, day in and day out, to give him the data that he would need to make his decision? Of course not, in true corporate fashion he chose a Project Manager that was so DIS associated with the project as to be laughable, and the opinions of a manager who had SO many things on HIS plate everyday, he couldn’t even NAME the folks performing the work, to gather some statistics and present them in a succinct and concise form that would allow him to make a snap judgment, which in this case led to the cancellation of this project.
Is this the BEST way to make a decision? Well this CIO thought so, and this is how he makes decisions most of the time. This is also how MANY upper level management types make decisions, there is an entire thought change moving through the country advocating just exactly this type of decision making. The challenge of course is that it doesn’t really apply to individuals very well, and unfortunately may NOT result in the best decisions being made.
So is this a failure of the team that spent hundreds of hours and weeks and months of their time supporting it? Certainly not, the stated reason for the cancellation is the vendor’s resistance to signing a federally mandated security form required by anyone working in that industry. So essentially, if that vendor EVER wants to sell this particular product, they will have to change their ways. But what ABOUT those individuals involved? How do you make sure that THEY don’t feel like they failed? How could THEY guarantee that this is not something that follows them around and becomes a boat anchor around THEIR careers?