Ed Burnette, ZDNet blogger, and (former) Dell customer, wrote about Dell's incredibly poor customer service during a recent attempt to buy computers. Not to be outdone by the post itself, one of Ed's blog commenters offered his own explanation for the bad service:
I worked for Dell through much of the '90s as a member of their senior management team. It was a good company, with great people, up until about 2000. Then the influx of human flotsam and jetsam arrived from cities far and wide, having heard the reports of how Dell stock was the #1 performing stock through the 1990's.
Now it's predominantly managed by fatass type "A" personalities who have no idea what customer service and quality is about. All they want is to surpass their bonus metrics and maximize their personal bank accounts. Mostly short-term thinking and rewards, for quick bucks. Then it's off to the next company for these vultures after the Dell carcass has been stripped to the bone.
Serious allegations, but they go a long way toward illustrating how short-term thinking creates long-term problems. This principle holds equally true for both organizations and IT projects.
IT failures frequently occur when an organization's fundamental goals are short-circuited by agenda-driven managers. Such dysfunctional behavior can manifest in many ways, including:
- Organizational denial that problems even exist
- Wasted dollars poured into stupid projects that shouldn't be funded
- Blaming weak project participants for failures clearly not of their own making
Blatant, self-serving behavior can appear in many guises. Regardless of how these behaviors show up, they are wrong, and should be rooted out of the organizational DNA from which they are spawned, tolerated, and eventually accepted. Although Dell may need a DNA housecleaning, many failure-ridden IT departments and government agencies would do well to take the same medicine.