Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why the BIG project failed - Earthy Mistakes

(This is a work of fiction. Resemblance to any company, project or people is unintentional.)

Grey Matter was sold to the NEW company. The BIG project was supposed to be a major reason for this sale. The NEW company believed it had the ability to bring the project back on track and they had good reason to do so. They were expecting "many more similar sized projects" if this went well. Ah, the lure of more work! This has done so many people in.

The NEW company did what it could do best. Throw highly qualified and experienced people at the project. And expect it to be done. Unfortunately, that did not work.

Introducing Mr. Smart Alec. He thought he could solve all the world's software problems. This should be a piece of cake. Accompanied by Mr. Jack-of-all-trades who was the NEW company's handy boy. He looked after everything from database design to uncomfortable chairs. Ouch!

Together they brought on chaos. The developers were already fatigued with all the hullabaloo over the acquisition and the concomitant unkept promises. The dynamic duo had to instill enthusiasm into the team. They threatened them instead. Tch tch. Didn't work.

To add to the confusion, the NEW company added more heavyweights to the team thinking that they could solve all the problems. What was needed was more hands-on people. What they added was a bunch of managers. What are managers? Managers, as an old saying goes, is a bunch of people who cannot do anything, but they keep meeting and decide that nothing can be done! So it was with the BIG project.

Where do I fit in in all this?

Well, I was involved with the BIG project for a few months too. This was just before the company was sold. So, I am also equally responsible for the failure of the project. I should have done more. Used more common sense. There was this sense however to not go against the tide. This is a major problem with me as a person. I don't always go against the tide. I am more comfortable agreeing with everyone - supposedly more knowledgeable and experienced than me. I must learn not to do this. I must ask myself - what I think should really be done. And then listen to the answer.

4 comments:

s said...

How come no one commented on this... yet????

Akbar Pasha said...

Adding more people to project is never going to help. But somehow a lot of people/companies commit this error. I don't know why?

We always bite more than we can chew. In order to keep the client happy we over-promise and then stumble.

You are very right about questioning the status quo. A reality check. Many smart people over look this and trusting them is probably not a good idea.

Good post and thanks for sharing how you feel about this. I am pretty sure there are a lot of people who really wanted to know as to how you felt.

Thrinath J Chakravarthy said...

Kamal!A fantastic series of words all together to describe the context and scope of the issue.

The blog is quite generic and at the same time also very specific. I can guess the names you tried to putout in a fancy manner

The BIG project that is discussed here in the blog reminds me of a very gud scene 4m d movie "Aparichithudu". The scene is between Aprachithudu and a person(who does something wrong to society) goes as,

Aparichithudu: Ayidhu paisalu kajeyatam thappa.
Other person: kadhu

Aparichithudu: Ayiidhu saarlu ayidhu ayidhu paisalu kajeyatam thappa.
Other person: Peddha thappem kadhu

Aparichithudu: Ayidhu velamandhi ayidhu ayidhu sarlu ayidhu ayidhu paisalu kajeyatam thappa.
Other person: Chala peddha thappu.

Aparchithudu: Adhey ra ikkada jaruguthondhi.

The gist of the scene boils down to, serveral ppl committing petty mistake several times ends up as a MEGA mistake.

As i was in the project till the shutdown day, i think many simple mistakes at different level high level management, marketing, developement, project management piled up finally to cause this disaster.

And dats wat i guess happened with BIG project.

As said, much was expected immediately from new org. which took over the BIG P. They should have known dat, it could end up like a gold duck tale if we expect returns overnite.

B said...

Seems that some of the commenters here know what this project is all about. Well, I can say that the description and some of the comments seem to be universal.

What amazes me is that everybody knows that this is how projects happen. Yet, with all the experience...collectively everybody repeats the same mistake. Is this the eternal spirit of 'optimism' over 'realism' ? Or is it that despite everything, everybody is only looking at 'surviving today to die another day'...causing us to limp through and make decisions that ultimately result in the same outcome? Or is it that only less than competent people end up doing projects and project management because the talented folks are just too focussed on content to be able to make a difference?