Shark Tank: Keep On Truckin'

FRAMINGHAM (07/03/2000) - Shark Tank: Keep on truckin'WHAT? NO PEN? An edict comes from on high to a trucking company's IT department: All pilot fish must now wear little notebooks on chains around their necks. "So much communication happens in the halls, elevators and bathroom," insider fish says. "Management wants to be sure we have something to take notes on."

CONSULTANT PILOT FISH on the golf course with a customer inquires about a 3-year-old ERP project that has yet to show any results. Did senior management know about the delays and missed target dates? "With a straight face, I was told the project was not late because the project management team ‘descoped' the original plan rather than miss a target date," the fish reports. "So what was actually completed at a milestone date became what should have been the original scope - and therefore the project was not late."

NETWORK OPERATIONS pilot fish gets the word from the VP of IS that, with lots of new projects rolling out in the coming months, everyone must really be on top of the new technology involved in order to support it. "However, there's no money for training unless it's free," grumbles the fish. Staffers can buy books - but they won't be reimbursed. Or they can take free classes offered by vendors, but they won't be reimbursed for flights or hotel stays. Result:

"People are driving four to five hours round-trip per day to get training," the fish says - because the company will reimburse mileage.

A THIEF WALKS OFF with the CPUs, hard drives and memory from a couple of PCs at a big electronics company. That gnaws at an engineering manager until he "comes up with a brilliantly pre-Eli Whitney idea," says a pilot fish. "He gave me a month to redesign those components so that, if someone steals them, they will not work in another computer."

THAT EXPLAINS IT This pilot fish lands a job as CIO for a state government agency and spends much of his first 18 months learning to navigate the political environment. Finally, his boss explains the way of the world: "One of your challenges is you are too logical," he tells the fish with all seriousness. "Logic does not work here!"

Feed the Shark: sharky@computerworld.com. If your story sees print, you get a Shark shirt. And yeah, Sharky knows the redesign of Computerworld's Web site broke your links to the Sharkives - you won't get a T-shirt for telling me that. Get the daily feed and the Sharkives now at computerworld.com/sharky.

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