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Failure Lessons


Failure Lessons

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Failure Lessons

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chrisn-585491
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I wonder if Orca was outsourced to China? :-P
Gary Varga
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[Dates, names and location have been omitted to protect the guilty.]

I recently provided a client a set of analysis with estimates twice. The estimates were, of course, longer than they hoped but realistic and achievable. The third time they asked for someone else to provide them by the end of that very day. I think my estimates were unpopular and impossible to discredit due to the accompanying analysis. So instead of accepting that their anticipated estimate was incorrect they tried to use a different method to generate a more "favourable" number.

Each of these three pieces of work were sizable and mission critical.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
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Gary Varga (11/15/2012)
[Dates, names and location have been omitted to protect the guilty.]

I recently provided a client a set of analysis with estimates twice. The estimates were, of course, longer than they hoped but realistic and achievable. The third time they asked for someone else to provide them by the end of that very day. I think my estimates were unpopular and impossible to discredit due to the accompanying analysis. So instead of accepting that their anticipated estimate was incorrect they tried to use a different method to generate a more "favourable" number.

Each of these three pieces of work were sizable and mission critical.


Gary, one of my favorite lines with managers is this one:

"Do you want me to tell you the truth? Or do you want me to tell you what you want to hear?"

Almost always, they are not the same. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
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I have been so unfortunate as to have worked on several failed software projects. Enormous amounts of money and effort were expended building software that was eventually scrapped.

My advice on this subject is this: constantly test the project. If it is not meeting requirements and especially if the software is getting worse, then STOP WORKING ON IT.

George
Gary Varga
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I always recommend that people tell the(ir) truth and have it documented. What other people choose to use, how to use it or what they decide is up to them.

When told to JFDI (Just Do It) then they have chosen to ignore my professional advice. The consequences therefore remain with them.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
cdonlan 18448
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This subject is worth a book. For starters, I think it goes as deep as our DNA and shared culture. With a nod to blinding ambition and occasional incompetence, I often see middle management not given enough authority to make the decisions necessary to reasonably achieve their software goals; so corners get cut and bad things happen. Occasionally there's a miracle. It's certainly kept me from ever seriously considering the management path.
Steve Jones
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cdonlan 18448 (11/15/2012)
This subject is worth a book. For starters, I think it goes as deep as our DNA and shared culture. With a nod to blinding ambition and occasional incompetence, I often see middle management not given enough authority to make the decisions necessary to reasonably achieve their software goals; so corners get cut and bad things happen. Occasionally there's a miracle. It's certainly kept me from ever seriously considering the management path.


That's interesting. I think you make some good points here.

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Gary Varga (11/15/2012)
I always recommend that people tell the(ir) truth and have it documented. What other people choose to use, how to use it or what they decide is up to them.

When told to JFDI (Just Do It) then they have chosen to ignore my professional advice. The consequences therefore remain with them.


The key word here is "documented". Otherwise, they can just deny they told you to do it in front of the executive folks, or claim "I don't remember telling you to do that.". I have often said in this cutthroat business, you live or die by email. They can't deny recorded email. For example, look at what General Petraeus is going through right now. The email trail. :-D

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"
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I think failures are not discussed and documented is that there is a collective fear of failure.
No one wants to admit their failures because there may be consequences such as getting fired.

I think the only time I heard someone actually admit a failure was in the early 1990's when a manager said the software chosen was a mistake. The manager was fired.
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