Status Complete

Describe a situation where you worked on a project that failed. Why did it fail? What did you learn from the experience?

One of my employers hired me to develop a new intranet and other applications for its new SharePoint platform. Over the next two years, the company tasked my team (5 developers) with building multiple applications, including performance dashboards and a customer-relations management application. The company fired me, claiming that I had failed to meet expectations. I learned later that the company shelved all of the projects.

I believe in all honesty that blame for the failure of the project lies with unrealistic expectations among executives above the IT department. My supervisor told me that the decision to fire me wasn't his but was made above him. The management assigned us to too many projects and was not willing to give us the time to produce and verify a quality product. Also, the member of the team who had taken the leadership role was belligerent and difficult to work with. I learned later that he left the company not too long after I was fired.

I learned several lessons from the experience. First, always be honest and open about the state of my work. If my work is not ready for full-time use, don't be afraid to say so. Second, executives often don't understand the value of internal software. I should make an effort to communicate the value of my work at all times. Third, document all expectations about the status and completion of work.