Monday, December 5, 2011

Flogging the dead horse

Often, when confronted with something (people, products, methodologies...) which is clearly underperforming, management is in denial and comes up with all sort of workarounds (rather than burying the horse and buying a new one) as the famous "flog the dead horse" story teaches:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Say things like, “This is the way we have always ridden this horse.”
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
  6. Increasing the standards to ride dead horses.
  7. Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
  8. Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.
  9. Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment.
  10. Change the requirements declaring that “This horse is not dead.”
  11. Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
  12. Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
  13. Declaring that “No horse is too dead to beat.”
  14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
  15. Do a Cost Analysis study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.
  16. Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
  17. Declare the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead.
  18. Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
  19. Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
  20. Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
  21. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

I will add more as they come to my mind:

22. ask a consultant to provide the dead horse detailed instructions on how to trot
23. ask a consultant to define SLAs to prove that the horse is actually dead and not simply agonizing

(this things come to my mind because I have desperately tried to push a developer to actually deliver something.... had I done it myself it would have cost me a lot less energies)

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