Re: Few CIOs or VP ITs can code
'"why didn't you deliver?"
'If they are asking you this, it's likely that you agreed earlier you could deliver it so the fault is not with them.'
I surmise that you have never worked for the type of management that brings about such situations; but I assure you they exist and are flourishing. The sales people and their managers "win" business from the competition by promising features and deadlines that are quite impossible. Then they present their technical staff with a fait accompli, and tell them they have to deliver or the company's good name will be ruined, the company's finances will be wrecked, and mainly they will be unemployed. (By the way, this syndrome helps to account for the quality of much commercial software). So the programmers work days, nights and weekends in the hope of delivering something that will pass for barely adequate by the deadline. It's a no-lose proposition for the sales people; if the company goes under, they simply go off to another company complaining how the technical staff at their last place simply weren't up to it. And if the technical manager tells management the promises can't be kept, guess who is believed - him or the sales manager? ***
On a massively larger scale, similar methods are used to make vast amounts of money out of government contracts (in "defence" and other areas). Company A wins the business by putting in a proposal that simply defies reason; the government eagerly signs them up; and work begins. Two or three years later, the management of Company A suddenly discovers that the agreed work will take twice as long and cost five times as much. They tell the government people that, and implicitly ask, "Which would you prefer: to submit to our blackmail, bearing in mind that the voters won't notice, or to cancel our contract, thereby revealing yourselves to be incompetent?" Guess which the politicians choose.
*** It's hardly a new scenario. See, for example, Exodus 5:
6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”