Can't think of a title
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Several times.
The last contract I worked on, we were meant to consolidate systems between different businesses, moving some legacy stuff to some strategic stuff. We halted the project and changed tack twice in a month because the business couldn't decide which was more important and it all came down to which of the business owners could shout the loudest. It eventually all got scrapped when they ran out of budget (having spent a good portion of it arguing between themselves and leaving the IT staff to read El Reg all day for lack of anything to do).
The contract before that was more a case of the business being unable to define their requirements. E.g. we were in a meeting with them, 10 business owners around the table saying "we absolutely need functionality X" so we asked: "please define X" and got 11 different answers.
I also had the case of the business owner going "it's not difficult, you just have plug a server in a rack somewhere and put that software on it!" So we asked what he wanted us to do when the system went down, how quickly he wanted his data back, what would happen if the software he had only seen a demo of didn't actually do what it said on the tin, etc.
Generally speaking, I find that differences between requirements from different departments are not necessarily the issue, they can usually get reconciled with a bit of patience. The main issues I face are:
- prioritisation: what department in the business get their problems solved first?
- decision making: business unable to make a decision on a critical issue and trying to defer that decision to IT (and then of course blaming IT if it doesn't prove optimal)
- severely under-estimating the time and effort it takes to deliver a stable, maintainable, usable and secure solution and then discarding IT's advice in that respect based on the fact that everybody* knows that it can't take that long to deliver what they need
The last issue can generally be mitigated by IT asking the right questions and showing that they are definitely not trying to put spanners in the work but are genuinely trying to deliver something that won't be a nightmare to maintain. The first two tend to be completely outside of IT's control and are a direct consequence of poor management in business. If anybody can suggest what can be done from an IT point of view to mitigate those, I'd be grateful.
*everybody: the person saying it and every other person who has exactly the same view of the world
AC to protect the innocent (and the guilty)