Promises, promises

August 23rd, 2008

The plant manager resigned. Very likely he was given some incentive to resign. Here’s a tip for detecting a sudden departure before it’s been announced: everyone who knows about it is having a good day. If they told you they were having a bad day you might ask why and they would have to think of an evasion or fabrication, so instead they are all having a good day.

And yes, they will lie about what they know. You can ask, but if you have to ask your chance of being told are slim. But don’t believe the rumor mill every time, either; there are about a half dozen people rumored to have been fired last week who are still showing up for their jobs (none of them is important enough to have a transition like the plant manager is getting).

The official deadline for our last ultimatum comes at the end of this month. At this moment it appears we will meet the requirement by a hair’s breadth. It also appears possible that the plant manager’s transition was planned for prior to when the ultimatum was delivered. Note that doing what you were told you had to do to keep your job does not mean that you will keep your job.

For the last three months the intense and exclusive effort has been on delivering product on time according to our promise to the customer. This is the explicit mandate we were given. We have made steady progress and have developed some long-term strategies to help us sustain this progress. This past week we found we were a whisker’s length from having the most important part of that foundation, that kept all the different disciplines in the plant synchronized, jerked out from under us–certain configurations of the plant software. Evidently the customers who told Big Scary Guy that we could deliver the product however late we had to deliver it, as long as it arrives when we promise it will, are now saying that we have to deliver the product a whole lot sooner or they will leave us. Again, we as a plant followed explicit instructions and made measurable progress on those instructions; but the entire apple cart may yet be overturned on us.

I think that will do for a brief summary of the adventures at Acme.