Top signs you work in a dysfunctional IT environment – A pair-brain dump with Louis-Philippe Carignan

Posted By on Juil 18, 2013

Since this is our first attempt at a collaborative post, Louis-Philippe Carignan and I decided to keep it small and simple by writing a top 10 list. As you’ll notice, the list got away from us! It has become a brain dump of the dysfunctions we’ve observed in various IT environments along our coaching careers. We also added a few tongue-in-cheek items 😉

 Top signs you work in a dysfunctional IT environment:

  1. Individuals are identified the same way as a printer: as resources
  2. Face to face communication is considered redundant if a document is available
  3. A mistake is noted and regurgitated during the annual performance review.
  4. A certification is the first measure of competence, but actual competence is a close second.
  5. The manager keeps saying, “the team needs to change”.
  6. When the team moves into the Storming phase, disciplinary measures are taken.
  7. The Architect or Team Lead decides how long something will take.
  8. Doing more in less time is seen as a cool challenge and motivational tool by management.
  9. “Generate more revenue” or “destroy the competition” are part of the Mission Statement.
  10. Looks and business clothes are promoted over innovative ideas.
  11. The analytical introverts are crushed by the driving extroverts.
  12. Management laughs at developers who dream of working at Google someday.
  13. Status quo is the strategy.
  14. Overheard: He’s not complacent. He’s a good team player.
  15. Overheard: There is no place for emotions in business.
  16. The EQ test application crashed trying to generate a negative value.
  17. Your manager looks the other way when you pass him in the hallway.
  18. Technical debt is taken care of by maintenance because the project has to stay on budget.
  19. Cubicle farms here, there, everywhere.
  20. It’s called happy hour when really it’s denial, lay blame, justify, and shame hour.
  21.  Management loves to quote passages from “The Principles of Scientific Management”
  22. Soft skills training for management???
  23. The project manager reassures the client that everything will be delivered on budget and on time.
  24. Big visible charts are taken down because it doesn’t look “professional”.
  25. The less you code, the better you are paid.
  26. To get your idea across to another silo, you need to go up the food chain until the VPs of each silo talk to each other.
  27. Coders are seen as the bottom of the food chain.
  28. In the hallway you often hear, “only 2 more days before the weekend”.
  29. “Fun” is what you do at the country club. You work at the office.
  30. Meetings extend their time boxes. Decisions are never made. No accountability.
  31. Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) are seen as irresponsible.
  32. Transparency feels like rubbing alcohol on a open wound.
  33. The Director spreads Agile in every team like fairy dust.

What have you observed?


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