Why Big Projects Often Have Problems

Posted by Robert Merrill on April 6, 2011 under Software teams | Be the First to Comment

This popped into my head the other day, and stuck. I need to examine this carefully. Does it really hold up, at least in my experience and that of others? If so, can something useful come out of this idea? So, expect this post to change. I’m thinking out loud a bit.

Big projects cost lots of money.

The presence of lots of money attracts people who love money.

The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil.

Evil causes problems.

I can’t recall reading a software development or management book that didn’t assume that people are trying to Do The Right Thing, and that the problems project teams get into were the result of increased complexity or ineffective ways of working together.

But if I’m trying to help clients’ projects and businesses succeed, and I’m overlooking a critical factor, I need to consider it, even if it is impolitic to do so. As a consultant, that’s sometimes my job—to say what every insider knows but is afraid to say. If I get fired, I’m only losing 1/4 or 1/2 of my job, not the whole thing, so I’m expected to take chances.

It’s generally agreed that big projects are more likely to have problems. But what about this notion of big money, and evil? Let’s look at it, one line at a time, and see if there’s anything useful.

Return often. This is a work in progress. I’m thinking out loud, and I welcome your (useful) participation. Read more of this article »

Thoughts on “Corporate Social Responsibility”

Posted by Robert Merrill on April 5, 2011 under uFunctional Values | Be the First to Comment

In the McKinsey Quarterly Executive Panel on LinkedIn, Yuri Chianese asked,

“Is there a true value in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Companies?” Read more of this article »