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You might be interested in the book Anti-Patterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis. It's an excellent guide to the sort of debacles you describe.

(In what follows, I'm describing mostly what I've sworn to do after a bunch of experiences like yours. Customer results may vary.)

The only advice I have to offer on that kind of thing sounds cynical, but it's the best I can do: COVER YOURSELF. If someone fails to deliver something for you, send them an e-mail-- and CC your boss. Keep copious notes of every meeting, and if anything is agreed on in the meeting, send e-mails to all persons affected stating what was agreed upon, even if they were sitting right next to you when the agreement was made. Documentation can be your friend in performance reviews.

Also, it's best to figure out-- and keep notes on, in a safe place-- what each participant has to gain and lose by the project getting done on time. For example, the Server Administrator's career is not going to be helped if your project is a raging success, nor will it be hindered if it fails. People who aren't directly affected by the outcome of the project generally can't be depended upon to help it. The only thing to do is to MAKE their lives affected by the outcome.

Anyway, it was a very valuable rant. Wish I could ++ it twice.


In reply to Re: A Cautionary Rant by stephen
in thread A Cautionary Rant by footpad

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