Today’s prediction next year is last year’s snow

Leaving is always a good idea when you hit a brick wall. It’s hard to tell if you’re facing a wall or not yet because things happen as a vector of many driving forces that drive the whole team.

In fact you can’t tell if you’re facing a brick wall or not. It might be that leaving your team and your project happens to be wrong decision if your later on assumptions about your own decisions turn out incorrect. You have to learn to trust the instincts, especially if you already know that your logic works and historically your intuition served you well.

As the time progresses people usually see things more clearly and so do I. I feel like leaving is right. If my successor is right team aims at overtaking our main competitor in terms of inventory counts and by the virtue of being much bigger store. They will be able to dictate the technical solutions and also take over most of the development work in the whole group. These are the very clear targets, finally there are some targets to chase and to materialise…

My prediction is that the targets never will materialise at all… unless much, much deeper changes are done and I don’t mean “just” people changes. Explaining what is wrong and what needs to be corrected is now beyond me and beyond the remit of this article, but I want to leave this prediction on: the single measure of taking over: visitor, inventory or workload counts will be the test of my theory being either correct or wrong and for some time now I strongly bet on fail.

The much deeper changes are neccessary to deliver a great product and most of those targets. I’ve been talking to the top managers at the top IT companies and historically we all seem to agree that leaving things to themselves as we had lead to very single-minded, clustered, self-protecting and ultimatevely very unproductive team… Impacting product, resulting in stagnation that is apparent from the feedback I got.

The medicine might be bitter but I’m clear in my mind. Everyone I spoken with over the years agrees that the right style of management is the one that prevents culture of settling for the “good enough” and replaces it with a sense of putting the product first, great and focused, and the team second and fluctuating. It might be something specific to the region, mentality or just a sheer coincidence… Since I don’t believe in coincidences I take their wisdom.

It’s sad but has to be said clearly: what the management has right now is exactly upside down at the moment. What would it mean to the company when the fail will become obvious? What would it mean when they get their investment figures? What would it mean when they realise they spent a year investing and got no real change to a product… Actually… It will mean nothing. There will either have to be a scapegoat to blame or targets to be shifted to announce success otherwise. There might be even both to justify this obvious fail. This years prediction next year will be worth the same as last year’s snow.

The point will remain valid then as it is now: it will still be a failure and the figures will never materialise because the structure of the whole team is wrong. Shaking up the team right now seems like a crazy idea, all to be avoided, but the sooner the management will realise that they pour money into a deep hole and also got stuck, hitting a brick wall same as I did, the better. Money is running but since competitors don’t go that slow the ticking clock is what matters so much in the tech industry.

Another problem with this prediction is that by the time the management decides that they can’t have any more months of stagnation and themselves work out the reasons and the right conclusions… you’re talking long years. There are psychological barriers because no one wants to change their mind, admit assuming wrong. It’s hard to believe that you got a wrong path in what seems like a jungle but it takes even longer to realise you’re in a wrong jungle in the first place.