The stink of success

Secret CIO embarks on a learning experience.

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By  Secret CIO Published  March 7, 2009

Secret CIO embarks on a learning experience.

After being chastised by our CEO for putting all of our current projects on hold last month and trying to sack three quarters of the HR department - it was an honest mistake, I checked the wrong box in the ‘quick dismissal' form - I've now been told to find a way to keep busy.

And by keep busy, what he's actually trying to say is: "Stay away from all actual decision-making, you useless one-trick pony."

Fair enough - I can see where the wind is blowing. Still, the faint stink of rejection which seems to follow me around the office is all the more galling when one considers that nobody in the IT department has any actual work to do now because of my heroic actions.

As strange as it sounds, people actually seem to want to do something all day in their cubicles, rather than update their Facebook status four times an hour.

Staff can get testy if they're told to ‘just get on it' when carrying out existing projects. They do also have this habit of submitting long reports filled with unfamiliar strings of words like ‘Questionable ROI' and ‘Potential Gaping Money Pit'.

Fortunately, no man has to bear this weight of criticism alone. I identified a top man within the organisation who can attend to these issues and hear out the concerns of project managers. He is of course, my long-suffering deputy CIO who's just left on his honeymoon - or at least, thinks he has.

So I've cancelled all leave - well not really, just his - and nominated him as the main patsy - sorry, point man - to deal with the panic - sorry, mounting concerns - over the state of our unviable - sorry, in-progress - projects.

While he's busy trying to make sense of the rapidly-collapsing house of cards I've built over the last six months, I have occupied myself with trying to devise a long-tem solution to our current predicament.

Naturally, I immediately turned to my peers to crib - sorry, emulate - what they were up to. In aid of this completely-honourable aim, I took a trip out to their offices to shadow a few of my more well-known colleagues.

Friends, Romans, local marketing executives - what I encountered was truly terrifying. Even now, almost five minutes later, I find that my lips quiver at the thought of trying to vocalise the horrors I witnessed in those halls.

Imagine, if you will, an office full of lively people who were not sitting on their collective gluteus maxi but were actually working full steam trying to finish their projects faster.

Why on earth would you do that? Some of them were even reviewing old ones looking for something called ‘inefficiency'. That's not too unusual - heck, even we do that sometimes.

But what's puzzling is that when they find old bits, they don't simply replace it but instead move it to somewhere which could make better use of it. Simply bizarre behaviour - isn't this what budgets are for?

But the worst tale of all is reserved for the CIO. When I scheduled the meeting, I half-expected him to be buried up to his neck in reports and positively relishing the opportunity to get out for a quick gossip. At least, that's the fellow I remember.

But he was nowhere to be found. His secretary informed me curtly that he was in meetings all day with the board and the CFO (what's that?) discussing measures to save his team from the chop.

The rest of the time, he's apparently meeting with his stakeholders to streamline existing services and build thingamajiggys - "wishlists" - for future ones. When he does surface, it's only to talk to the press about how his organisation is "building solid foundations for a market post-credit crisis".

I'm flabbergasted by the amount of work and effort he's putting in, considering the fact that he could get the sack at any moment. This has however, given me a splendid idea for when I get back and have to explain to the board where I've been all this time.

I'm going to hold a press conference saying everything's fine.

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