Hallucinatory commitments to the market-a case study


Corporate HQ is not happy about the expected 8 month delay of an upcoming critical product. There is fear that a window of opportunity will close in the next quarter, which may render the product irrelevant.

In a lesson learned exercise done by an outside consulting firm, the report said “ there is too little transparency between development teams, located in San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Beijing. More transparency and better team work between the teams will drastically accelerate development”.

The truth is that transparency between the development teams is not the issue; there is fierce competition between the teams on who will be blamed for the obviously hallucinatory  overly aggressive commitments which were made to the market. The fact is that the delay will be 2 years, not eight months! (The external consultant never got it).

San Francisco based team members have “placed the résumés” on the web, to bail ship. In the meantime, they claim they are “waiting and waiting” for the Israeli designers to translate business needs into product architecture. The Israelis claim that the “business needs as described by the SF team are empty platitudes”.  In Beijing, developers who are supposed to be designing building blocks for the product are fooling around  on Facebook all day, whilst providing progress reports on non existing building blocks.

The external consulting firm not see the  root cause of the dirty politics as a derivative of the  hallucinatory commitment to the marketplace. The external consultants were too ideological about the need for transparency and team work in global teams. The external consulting firm worked with a productized OD model on “how to succeed in global development”. The consultant had 3 years experience. His last project was improving supply chain issues in the frozen meat industry. The consultant has never travelled outside of the US, yet the firm for which he works is “well-branded”.

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4 thoughts on “Hallucinatory commitments to the market-a case study

  1. My favorite line of the day…
    ….the obviously hallucinatory overly aggressive commitments which were made to the market.

    oh good lord, this describes almost every project I have been on, both the deadlines and the use of some well branded consultant…. as we used to say – well, they may not do a good job but no body ever got fired for hiring ‘xxxx’ – whatever branded name you choose…..

  2. Sounds as if no one did any actual assessment interviews or even basic observation of the situation…

  3. Robin – I think that the idea of insane and inappropriate deadlines is so accepted today that consultants actually look anywhere else for a problem then to the fact that management has promised to cure cancer, make you lose weight while eating all the ice cream you want and provide lifelong happiness – there are things that just ain’t gonna happen and no one wants to hear it.

  4. Robin
    The boundary conditions of absurd commitments is rarely questioned by these consulting firms.
    There is a deal here-the consultning firms get paid and the module they are using allows the engineers to be blamed.

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