David Stein sent me a preview copy of his new book, Why Your Next IT Project Will Fail (and what you can do to avoid it). Because it is a mere 41 pages, I read through the whole thing this morning.
He writes from experience, and so his pages are filled with practical advice, such as
If you automate a broken process, you end up with an automated broken process.
Indeed, I shuddered when I read many of his example situations, for they reminded me of the old days when I worked with co-workers in a company for someone else. For me, change could never happen fast enough at that consulting engineering firm and that magazine publishing company.
(Imagine, if you will, a boss who in 1984 resisted my attempts to introduce my own desktop PC to our department, because "guys don't type," he said.)
Mr Stein writes about the problems created by Magic Bullet Theories, Rice Bowl Fortresses, and Bong-Loaded Business Cases. (Caution: sometimes the language is salty.) Of the solutions he provides to each the many problems that plague interpersonal interactions, I was glad to see him present this one: when all other attempted solutions fail, leave! (I did, and it worked out great.)
Here's an example of one of his lists of warning signs; this list has to do with vendors becoming too friendly with office staff:
1. Employees frequently wearing vendor-branded apparel, and ball caps, to work.
2 .Vendors who are on unusually personal terms with key employees (knows each other’s wife and kids’ names, maybe even the names of their pets, etc.).
3. Vendors taking employees out for frequent lunches, dinners, drinks, vacations, brothels. [Brothels were offered by contractors to some of the engineering staff of the city of Montreal, Canada.]
4. Employees seem resistant to considering alternative products.
5. Employees rushing to implement trial versions of a particular vendor’s products into production, without following some procedure for evaluating products objectively.
Reminds me of the pretty saleswoman General Electric sent to my cubicle every couple of months, to remind me of the benefits of specifying their line of traffic signal controllers.
So, if you are feeling frustrated by what's happening in your department, then you may want to read this ebook, which is available from here: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Next-Project-avoid-ebook/dp/B00AS2I8AO. The $5 will be worth it.