And now we have something to negotiate

Flashback about 30 years to when this pilot fish is working for a major retailer -- and his boss has an amazingly good record of bringing projects in on time and on budget.

"Those were the days before we had all the fancy metrics and project planning tools that are available today, so one day I asked him to enlighten me on his technique for accurate project estimating," says fish.

"He said he would go into the meeting with user management and lay out the objectives and scope of the project and engage in some discussion. He'd then say, 'This will take six months and cost one million dollars.'

"He would then sneak a peek around the room and, if no one had fallen off their chair, he'd quickly add, 'For Phase One.'"

Phase One of every Shark Tank story is your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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