Mediocrity is acceptable -- at least according to one company where I spent some time. I've been in IT for 25 years and have tackled many a consulting project. On occasion, I told myself I'd seen it all, but of course, something else always lurked around the corner.
In this instance, I was assigned to a project at a company that provided electronic educational material to schools. My job was as a technical lead/architect of a team developing a new program. I found out later that I was the third person to fill that role on the team within a year.
[ Pick up a $50 American Express gift cheque if we publish your story: Send it to email@example.com. | Get a dose of workplace shenanigans -- follow Off the Record on Twitter. | For a quick, smart take on the news you'll be talking about, subscribe to the InfoWorld TechBrief newsletter. ]
I'd say it was a team in name only, as most of the time the group appeared to think they were socializing rather than doing a job. I secretly nicknamed the members "The Three Stooges." One stooge was egomaniacal without any justification for that attitude. Another was elusive, refusing to make eye contact, but was the best worker out of the group. And the third thought he was king of the world, having been at that client for a few years -- yet comically knowing very little.
Who was the fearless leader of the stooges? Again, someone with the title in name only. The project lead was disorganized, couldn't keep a meeting on track, never had clear goals or directions, and didn't seem to care what happened day to day. Under these conditions, chaos begat chaos.
The products reflected the company's confusion. Even the most recent releases seemed outdated, and they always had problems. I started wondering to myself how the company was staying afloat -- and the question popped up more and more frequently as time went on.