hello everyone,

i need some help with a situation i'm facing at work.  first, some background.  i'm an it director of a team of 50, with a number of sub managers under me which focus on everything from projects to operations.  recently our vp set a strategy to virtualize our data center, and created a new team with a new manager (my peer) to focus on accomplishing this goal.  everything has been fine (or so we thought), until recently. 

over the past few weeks, the project has taken a turn for the worse.  the new team hired has produced very little results (over 6 months), and the technology direction set by my vp isn't going according to plan. honestly, it's a complete disaster.

my boss is very passionate about this project...sometimes it feels like he is too passionate. he feels that we have selected a technology for the project, and we will use that project...end of discussion. he is ok with some chaos along the way, in fact he expects the transition to be a difficult one.  every few weeks, i lightly bring up the issues  that i see being faced, and i usually get met with strong opposition to saying anything bad about this project.  i was actually reprimanded for trying to influence the direction of the project to get things back on course.  my teams role is to support the technology platform selected, and don't rock the boat. 

this week,  a number of people in other departments have raised concerns about the project and its lack of progress, focus, and inability to deliver results.  it honestly feels like a mounting army of people are at the gate with daggers and pitch forks. however, no one (including me at this point) feels comfortable bringing up this issue with the vp. we've all been told the same message that we need to support the technology selected. people are now going around the vp to his peers, and higher, to raise their concerns.

this really sucks.  the morale on my team is going down, people are upset.  project managers know the project is doomed, our peers in other departments have all but written off the project and refuse to support any deployments on it, and my vp keeps us going full steam ahead.  the cherry on top is that if i say anything, it's not met with any acceptance...rather makes me look like an ass. 

if i were in my vp's shoes, being a manager-tools listener, i would want to hear this feedback from my team. i'd want to know what's going on, and help fix things.  but i can't impose my values on just doesn't work.

i'm in no position to quit.  nor do i want to, outside of this project, i really love my job.  i just don't know how to address this problem, as everything i've attempted has backfired.

what would you do

ps. don't make fun of my non-capitalization.  my shift key is broken, just like this project. 

jdpm311's picture

 Hi Mark,

I have similar things going on in my organization and very much felt as you do now.  I was completely flabbergasted that in a situation similar to yours, the execs would fail to address the issues and hand and continue down the chosen path, oblivious to the mounting likelihood of failure.  I stuck my neck out quite a few times and about had it chopped off by a heavily invested execs who did not want to hear it.  Then, luckily, I had a pearl of wisdom delivered to me by my CIO, who also knew about the project's shortcomings but failed to intervene due to political fallout.  The advice?

"You don't need to jump in front of the bus when the wheels will fall off by themselves"

Now, I don't know your exact situation, and if you or your team would somehow take the blame or fallout for the failed project, then you cannot proceed down that kind of path.  However, if you have raised your concerns and objections and been shot down, then you have likely done your duty and any further decisions, whether they result in wild success or drastic failure, will need to rest on the shoulders of those making them.