Consultant pilot fish is assigned to an insurance company where the senior managers are all on rotation from Japan. "This was the reward posting for exceptional work done in Japan, so English was not their most fluent language," fish says.
"The environment was a data center where maintenance had been deferred for many years. Their mail system, GroupWise, was hopelessly behind on versions supported and updates, and emails were slow due to bandwidth limitations imposed by the third-party vendor acting as Internet host for the site."
Fish's team proposes upgrading the software, moving to speedier hardware and bringing the mail server Internet interface in-house -- as well as paying for a GroupWise consultant, so it'll all be done quickly and right.
It takes weeks of working with fish's own management and the insurance company to get approval for both the budget and the project schedule. Finally, most of the requisitions are OKed so work can begin.
But there's one hitch: The client needs both the English and Japanese versions of GroupWise, and the Japanese-language software will require a four-month lead time to get through all the U.S. Customs approvals. It's also expensive, and only a limited number of people will be using it.
So management defers approval for ordering that software -- but everything else moves forward. The hardware is acquired and installed. The GroupWise consultant is hired, starts working and is meeting the project milestones.
It's all going fine -- or so fish thinks.
"At a regular status meeting between our management and the client's management, the client was upset that there would be no Japanese software installation until a later date," fish sighs.
"Their managers demanded that we go out to a big-box computer store and buy it immediately."
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