Zak wrote:For me, the more interesting part is the awkward decision-making processes that the whole situation unveiled.
I am fascinated by the cascade of poor approvals and change management that led to this state of affairs. In an organization like Boeing, facing the regulations they do on their products, even with
the definite chance of some corrupt people up and down the chain, there will have been layers upon layers of peer review, change management, and move-forward approvals in both their application of Lean Six Sigma methodology that got the faulty aircraft out the door and in the sky (whether that be an actual fault or a design flaw), and in the ROI cost vs safety vs liability discussions that change management committees and ultimate management sign-off that said "ship in this state".
This isn't a "somebody f**ked up" scenario. This is a "many people f**ked up" scenario. As a program manager myself, I would love
to run post-mortem on this.
Ah, “peer review.”
Today is my first anniversary at my new job, and while we don’t make airplanes, it’s a large organization that has lots of peer review, most of it useless, thanks to the cultural groupthink we struggle under.
I kept my mouth shut for the first 5 months, but at that point I finally had to say WTF are we doing here in a seniors only forum. You’d thought I had taken a dump on the floor of the Sistine Chapel based on the body language response I received, But the boss listened, and a few of my peers spoke up in my defense, and I didn’t get ostracized. Fast forward another five months later, in front of a wider audience, I once again desecrated the room with a “are we going to open our eyes now” comment. Because I now have credibility, I got more than a couple of “amens” from the room.
What we don’t have is sufficient top-down accountability, so as long as everybody thinks things are grand, no one notices the emperor is partially clothed. And I say all of this not to be critical of my colleagues- they are a joy to work with, because they all want to do the right thing, but they are paralyzed with career fear. I am very happy to be here, away from the swamp at place with a mission I believe in, but FFS sometimes I just want to scream like Howard Beale.
My workgroup is finally learning that I don’t accept shoddy work, and that I expect their best effort. Next my managers are going to learn that they’re going to hold their staffs accountable, because I’ve started to hold them accountable. I’m doing it slowly and methodically - I’ve adopted the frog in a pot of water approach.
I’m willing to bet Boeing is going to fix the Max, but the question is, will the Board hold the CEO and his managers accountable?