Management buying software without requirements?
Anyone else had to deal with this? We have management here that dropped $150k on Crystal Reports Enterprise Server & hired a Crystal developer before anyone had identified any reporting requirements (and while the entire dev team was dead-set against Crystal, but nobody asked us). Now they've bought MS Content Management Server before anyone has identified a need for *that*.
The bigger the sum of money involved the more likely they are to spend it, and the liess they understand it the better value it seems.
I guess this is one advantage of working for small companies that just get by: Not having money for anything, at least they don't look hypocritical.
sounds like maybe the development staff ought to look at themselves in the mirror and ask why management doesn't value their opinion.
Bob, I'm not sure if that was meant as a slam, but let me suggest that when management doesn't bother asking development for advice, it's not always because *development* is the group lacking in expertise or maturity...
Yes, management ignoring dev teams is sometimes because management has a problem, but the dev team should still take a look in the mirror, just to double check that they aren't the problem. It's not ALWAYS management's fault - if you assume that your manager isn't listening to you because he's (stupid|arrogant|lazy), you miss the oportunity to find out that he might be not listening because he can't understand a word you say. Do you answer his questions? In a language he can understand? Does your dev team have prima-donnas? The kind that yell at anyone who question them? Have you had them in the past? Even a past bad experience could have trained your management team to not solicit advice - that kind of thing can take a while to get over.
I've dealt with many software salespeople and consultants who know that if the tech staff says "no", you can often jump up a level and get someone on the executive staff to say "yes". This is more of a long-term problem that a company needs to better evaluate these types of purchases; sometimes adding extra red tape at the IT level will take care of this (ie IT won't deploy or maintain the Crystal Reports Server that Marketing bought).
Is management getting kickbacks and perks from the vendors they are buying products from?
Many development teams are filled with people who couldn't give a damn about strategic corporate focus or the bottom line (or are blissfull unaware of this entire reality.) They simply think their job exists as a playgrond for them to flex their coding muscles.
"Many development teams are filled with people who couldn't give a damn about strategic corporate focus or the bottom line (or are blissfull unaware of this entire reality.) They simply think their job exists as a playgrond for them to flex their coding muscles."
To paraphrase Bella,
You are lucky it was just a reporting suite or a CMS engine. I have been in situations where the whole of the development environment was foisted upon the dev. team by clueless management under the influence of glibb sales person. Imagine having Java/Orbix(CORBA)/Objectstore (OODB) dropped on your team for a significant project in 1996. The real kicker is this was for a product targetting NT 4.0 exclusively.
Just me (Sir to you)
Have you asked them? What is the response, besides 'you won't understand'? What do you think is the best way to ask them? (Bella, you should to be full of ideas for this sort of question, since the direct 'techie' method of asking clearly isn't right.)
Okay, looking at it from Bella's perspective (playground)... Yeah, if the management guys can't get a sensible answer from us, that they can understand, they're victims of outsiders. By understandable, I mean without geek-speak and without geek prejudices (pro interesting work, mindlessly pro or anti Microsoft, etc). By sensible, I mean knowing the company; anyone who works there should have a feel for whether they're thinking high-road $50k package range or low-road write it ourselves in Perl range, but we often let our prejudices or optimism get in the way and suggest something completely not what they were expecting. And then are surprised when they don't ask us again.
The best analogy I can think of would be the owner of an auto garage buying his mechanics a huge expensive set of chrome box wrenches in metric when all the cars they service only use english measurement bolts...
> I don't see how your statement logically flows from "the developers would have advised AGAINST spending six figures on a reporting server we hate and don't need"
The last company I worked for made SNMP software. Site license was around ~€/$ 10,000. Head sales guy was trying to make a sale, do the demo, that sort of thing. The customer said that they would buy it if our sales guy gave him a BJ.
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