See, IT project governance works!

This manufacturer mass-produces electronic devices that go into cars -- along with lots of quality-control and production data, says an IT pilot fish who works there.

"Our automated equipment sends data to a Microsoft SQL Server database, and the data is held for a rolling year," fish says. "The data is queried by engineers at headquarters, which is in another state.

"But recently some of the local line supervisors decided they want to query the data to help predict trends, which would assist them in making production more efficient."

The line supervisors tell fish what they want, and he writes a view on the data, complete with descriptive field names, and then connects the view to an Excel spreadsheet. Since the line supervisors already know Excel, that makes it easy for them to search for the data they need -- it's essentially a poor man's reporting tool.

Once it's ready to go, fish explains to his own supervisor what he has done and asks for a green light to hand his work over to the line supervisors. Fish's supervisor is OK with it, so he informs his own manager at HQ to make sure he's happy with it too.

Word comes back down the line: Fish's boss's boss is pretty sure there's a much bigger problem here than anyone else has realized.

"The manager decided that what we really needed was a full-blown Microsoft Reporting Server," says fish. "He immediately began an investigation as to what that project would cost."

Fast forward a few months. Project status: The manager at HQ has written up a proposal for a reporting server, training classes for the line supervisors and training for fish to support the system.

Manager flies down from HQ to meet with the line supervisors, along with local plant managers who will have to come up with budget for the project.

But once he's done presenting his proposal, one of the line supervisors speaks up. "Well, we really don't need at that," he says.

Reports fish: "He told the manager, 'One of the engineers at headquarters sent us a spreadsheet he created using something called a view that he found on our server. It does everything we need!'

"The project was canceled."

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