Shark Tank: Scope creep

Developer pilot fish gets dinged by boss for 'failure to go above and beyond to satisfactorily meet users' needs.' So on his next assignment, fish suggests several logic and data fields the user didn't think of -- and the user is very happy. And fish? 'I was disciplined by my boss,' fish groans, 'for going 'out of scope' on the original request.'

Developer pilot fish gets dinged by boss on his annual review for "failure to go above and beyond to satisfactorily meet users' needs." So on his next assignment, fish suggests several logic and data fields the user didn't think of -- and the user is very happy with the end result. And fish? "I was disciplined by my boss," fish groans, "for going 'out of scope' on the original request."

What's really important

The new wireless access point for this small office is working fine when pilot fish installs it. But a week later the secretary calls to complain that it's almost unusable because of low signal strength. Over-the-phone troubleshooting isn't working until fish tells her to try adjusting the antenna. "That would be difficult," she says. "I moved my fountain in front of it. You know, the big metal one with all the plants on it? It's great -- you can't even see that box or its antennas at all."

Oops!

Design director at this textile distribution company asks IT manager pilot fish for a big favour: An out-of-state designer needs access to the archives, which are all in filing cabinets. Fish launches a crash project to spec out the database, pulls resources to get it implemented and gets people trained. But two weeks later, no data is in the database. Why? asks fish. "Oh, we won't be able to use it after all," says design director. "We just aren't data-entry types."

Because it's new?

County government pilot fish gets a note from a network tech saying that, after two weeks of testing, new network drivers that will support Gigabit Ethernet have been certified for use on the county's network. Fish responds, "Where is Gigabit Ethernet being used on campus? I'd like to see how it affects their subnet, to see if I would benefit by using it in my little corner of the network." Net tech's reply: Gigabit Ethernet isn't used anywhere on the network. "Then what's the benefit of installing them if we can't use them?" fish asks -- and is still waiting for an answer.

The Marine Corps way

It's the early 1970s, and this pilot fish at Marine Corps headquarters is programming away to make final connections for the new mainframe when his boss walks by fish's open door. Minutes later, he summons fish to his office. "You're an officer," boss says. "Your job is to supervise. You have enlisted Marines to do the typing." Fish nods in agreement, salutes smartly, returns to his office -- and moves his desk so it can no longer be seen from the door.

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