Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Does association with a project failure besmerch one's career?

Brad Egeland has an entry on Tech Republic blogs today, “Three Tips for Rebounding from IT Project Failure”, with link here.  Of course, his piece is more associated with the situation of a consultant assigned to a client (or even a self-employed consultant), but it can also apply to a conventional salaried employee.

I was with a project, the Combined Medicare Project Consortium (of up to seven Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans) in Dallas from 1979-1981 that eventually failed because of turf fighting among the plans. I was working on the back end, surveillance and utilization review. I wanted to sell the concept of end-user-driven computing even in 1981, so that the plans would not have to agree on procedural details that very likely should vary from state to state.

I resigned shortly before the project failed in early 1982. But the whole episode did affect my career because I was not involved in programming and implementation and staying sharp, even according to the mainframe values of that era. I got a job with Chilton, whose mix was ADR Datacom DB/DC (in an Ahmdahl shop that emulated IBM MVS), something that would not stay in the mainstream (IBM led the job market with IMS and CICS in those days, with IMS gradually getting overtaken by DB2 by the 1990s). In fact, I went from January 1979 to September 1, 1985 without ever implementing anything. My career, however, would go on 16+ years after that “implementation Sunday”, back in the days of mainframe Assembler and DUO with UPSI.

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