You wouldn’t believe how sophisticated hacking has become in the past few years. It has, in fact, gotten so mind-blowingly complex and erudite that this word, sophisticated, is now the only one human beings can really use to describe any single act of computer-security violation. Actually, no. The word, at best, has almost always been used to cover up egregious screwups of breached companies, and shoddy reporting. Sophisticated hack attack? Don’t believe the hype, Engadget, June 6, 2016.
I had screwed up. I had crunched the wrong numbers and had sent out my report that trumpeted how we were falling behind. For a moment I thought about just ignoring the mistake. No one would notice. People trusted my numbers even when many of these same people wished I would just go away so they could go back to how they use to manage projects. I couldn’t however. I preached brutal honesty as a method for finally and truly knowing where a project was in its life cycle. So I recrunched the numbers and to my utter relief found that the conclusion was the same and that the report was unchanged except for the details of a chart (I sent out a corrected chart).
It is often really simple to hide one’s mistakes, especially if one has built up a pretty good reputation. I call it the Bernie Madoff syndrome where if one had been doing well it is hard to admit that we’ve failed and that we are sure we’ll fix it, and get back on track soon, if we don’t tell anyone. I’ve never seen the case where someone fixed things and then got back on track after they convinced someone not to report the bad news about their project. I’ve seen many organizations go from lurching drunkenly from crisis to crisis to then settling down and getting good at what they did after they started to report their status in a brutally honest manner. I recall one manager, preparing to spend days on putting together a “good” status, saying “is that all you want me to do, just give you my current status right now?”
Are you avoiding the temptation of choosing words that hide the hard facts about your project?