Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Dilbert Principle

It's really true. Big companies are very much as you read in Dilbert. Huge processes that are more costly that the projects themselves, clog the development effort, and stagnate the progress.

Multiple people all reviewing how the project is going, people that are making $100k-$500k, lots of people. At one meeting I went to there were no less than 30 people all reviewing a project that had a budget that was no more than $150,000. When you add up all the people siting around the table you are in excess of the project itself, just adding up what they are worth in those two hours.

We, of course, have a great time seeing the lunacy in it all. We'll receive a budget for say $150,000. We'll start the project, get into it for about a month and suddenly we are missing $50k. Where is it in the budget? We ask around but no one can tell us. Except the controllers. We learn that some pet project got the money and no one bothered to tell us.

Just this morning one of the Team Leads came over to tell us he'd sent several messages to one of the key people on the project but never gets any response. I jokingly said: "You've probably got the wrong guy but he's not saying anything because he wants to stay in the loop." "Yeah" one of the other guys chimed in "he wants to know how the project is doing but doesn't want to do anything."

I've been working on moving a file from one location of the country to another. I've got about 150 emails on the subject from about 30 different people in about 10 different departments. I even ran a test myself to see if it was possible. Finally after about four months of effort I ran into yet another road block. I simple piece of software needs to be installed on one of the machines. We have the software but no one will load it until we purchase another license. That's fine except the paperwork usually takes four weeks. The software costs $20. No joke! Here's the kicker, each and every department has known about this for over four months.

It's crazy I tell you. If it were not so funny and entertaining I'd go mad.

We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees. -AT&T Long Lines Division