How to Share Bad Project News

In the spirit of the holiday season, I just wanted to bring some levity to the blog. I’ll leave it to you as the reader to discern if there is any applicable value to you in how you communicate.

Email to the Divisional Vice President

Subject: Weekly Status Report on Project Thames


This was not a good week for the project.

23 of our nodes failed and we learned that there are limitations to how much the 3-node failover processes work. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re missing. Once we do, we’ll be in a better position to know when we can recover our data. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again. We also learned that the patch we were expecting from the vendor has been backburnered to 2013.

The server also crashed.

We ended up on the Security department’s radar this week and they’re testing their new processes with us. They ran a penetration test on our software and it turns out anyone can inject SQL and retrieve our customer list – but only on odd days. Our plan is to shut down the system on odd days and display an “Under Construction” page on even days. I’m sure the users will accommodate.
We’ve had a data breach as well. Personal identification information associated with 250,000 customers has been removed. And I’ll be if we didn’t delete the backup we now need. All is not lost as we’ve had some great learning over the matter.

So much for low turnover. It all hit this week with 3 of our best people resigning. They’re going to start a competing company. I’m sorry now that I forgot to have them sign that non-compete. As you recall, we were busy that day what with the CEO’s video state of the union and the festive lunch menu that day. And I’ve heard have a discrimination lawsuit coming.

All that free code we committed to has turned out to be challenging. Nobody can figure it out. We’ll need a million dollars to fix the hole with real enterprise software. And we’ll try to keep the selection and procurement cycle down to 6 months.

We also had a well-meaning programmer turn on the SMTP relay option while fooling around. This caused 100,000 spam messages to be sent using our server as a relay.

We also failed to uncomment the predicate on the DELETE statements in our code. I can’t believe this wasn’t caught in unit test. Anyway, the code was executed. In production. Sorry.

I’m also sorry about this, but we have been working off the wrong specifications. I lost track! We’ve been doing Release 9 instead of 8. No wonder it’s been so difficult with all of those prerequisite tasks from Release 8 not done. Well, now we know and we’ll just start over. It’s not the first time a company has wasted a lot of money. I saw your boss and mentioned this to him. His face turned red, but it was an understanding shade of red.

Our public cloud provider went down for a few days, but I calculated that if it stays up nonstop through March 13, 2156, it will still meet its service level of 99.95% up time.

Just kidding. But we are 2 days behind with the data model.

Category: Information Development