My Worst Implementation

April 6, 2009

Vinnie Mirchandani has been asking his friends to write about the way technology has changed their hobby. He’s gotten responses on everything from chess (from his daughter) to repairing old cars. Now he’s got a column on bridge, a hobby of mine that has been transformed by the multi-player gaming technologies that got their start, among other places, in the old Project Athena.

You can read the post on his Innovation Blog.

But I always think, one good idea should beget another. Here’s what I suggest. I will ask friends of mine to send me a short article called, “My Worst Implementation,” in which they briefly describe a failed or completely inadequate implementation that they’ve been associated with personally in some way.

My single worst? Well, there are so many. But it was probably the implementation of SAP that the project manager later described as, “Like going through the gates of hell.” I kid you not. The factory, which made telecommunications equipment and was located in Westminster, Colorado, first bought QAD, which is why I got involved, then dumped QAD and bought SAP. $600 million later, the implementation worked–better than some I’ve been involved with–and the project manager was justly proud of what he’d done. But by that time, the business had completely changed, and I believe that almost all of what they made is now made overseas.

Ooorgh.

Got an oorgh of your own? You don’t need to be my friend. You can just send me an article. Write me and inquire; you can get my e-mail from the web site, but I don’t want to post it in a blog.

A few ground rules, required. Tell the truth. Don’t name names, except the names of application companies. Explain why things went wrong, but recognize that these things are never one person’s or one company’s fault. I haven’t done all that yet, but this is already too long.