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Solution Scenarios and People Stories in Corporate IT

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I am having many interesting chats with Jing Chen and you have seen his comments / insights in the blogs.

Jing brings an incredibly rich background including developing some the leading solutions you are seeing with Corporations, Organizations; Microsoft's Windows Live, MSN, and the Windows Mobile Group. I invited Jing to provide a guest blog and you will see him in the future as a regular contributor. When it is posted, check his rich profile in the left panel.

Jing brings a special talent, energy, and fresh perspective so watch for his blogs.

Enjoy!
Stephen Ibaraki

From Jing:
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People Stories in Corporate IT

For business reasons, I often go to Microsoft Redmond campus. And while I am there, I often take the shuttle bus to get around, and I always chat with the drivers. The resulting conversations are mostly fun and interesting. At one point, a lady driver said I was a people person, even though she never looked at me because I was sitting several rows behind her. That was an interesting experience.

Perhaps being a people person, I have been particularly fascinated with the people issues in IT. So I thought I would offer some real-life scenarios in corporate IT and invite the collective wisdom of our bloggers/readers. The first two scenarios happened to me and I followed through with satisfactory solutions. The other two scenarios came from client stories and I am not sure what happened afterwards.

All right, here are the scenarios, and you are welcome to send us your solutions:

Scenario #1:
My business partner is a leftist and progressive gentleman, and naturally he likes Linux. I am a rightist and conservative folk, and naturally like Windows. We discussed our new website platform several times, and it became clear that we both had good reasons for our preferences and could not convince each other. And our business meeting is coming up in a week, and we must make a final decision. What should I do as a software developer to make sure my arguments are given the appropriate weight in this decision-making process?

Scenario #2:
I was working on a client project, and the project manager needed urgent help from the design team. Unfortunately, the design team was already maxed out with their work load. In fact, the design team lead specifically told her team members to NOT to work on my project this week. To make matters worse, we did not have any authority over the design team and had no official leverage whatsoever. What should I do?

Scenario #3:
My developer friend at his corporate IT group needed to design and implement a Sharepoint Portal solution, and wanted to involve users early on to understand their needs and incorporate their suggestions. However, the users were already busy, so they told him to go forward and get something up and running before they would take a look. Obviously, every developer knows when this thing is up and running, it is too late and too expensive to change. Again, my developer friend and his boss had no authority whatsoever over the users, but did have the obligation to deliver everything on time and on budget with user satisfaction. What should my friend do?

Scenario #4:
The same friend was working on a new application to generate more reports for senior management. Unfortunately, this meant another group would need to get involved by entering more data on daily basis. In contrast to the users (senior management), people in this group would receive no value, and yet must put in more work. Obviously, they were very resistant to this project, and eventually the senior management had to step in and order them to cooperate. This made them even angrier, and the project became almost impossible to complete, as this group of people made things as difficult as possible. What should my friend do?

I will share my personal solutions to the first two scenarios in a comment, AFTER everyone has a chance to brainstorm about possible solutions. I thought this kind of storytelling and collective brainstorming may be particularly suitable to blogs, so I hope you like it.

Thanks!
Jing
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