Ibm Management Game

A 50s-80s game allegedly attributed to IbmCorporation. Story may or may not be true.

IBM had more levels of management than any other company. They'd send a salesman to cold-call a secretary in your office. The secretary would say, "no thank you, we use <some other vendor>".

The IBM salesman returned to speak to his manager, who called up the secretary's boss. "You know that secretary of yours just isn't on the ball", they'd say. "No," said the boss, "we just decided not to use your stuff. Too expensive and our engineers hate you."

The IBM manager spoke to his boss who repeated the cycle at his level. Eventually the VP of your company is asked out to the golf club by an old school chum who pushes a similar net worth at IBM. "You know," says the school chum, "the word around the industry is that your DP department stinks. They're using some very non-standard stuff. Do they meet all their deadlines for you like they should? Why don't you use a couple of our consultants; I can send them around for free. Great guys, they'll straighten the whole thing out for you ..."

Management restructuring and staff cuts follow swiftly.

What ticks me off is they never give us underlings a chance to tell OUR side of the story, but rather just make unilateral decisions. It's true we may be biased toward job projection, but at least we have an experienced perspective on the details of approaches. Further, the sales people are biased also. Let each side battle it out in the open. They'll say, "your Foo doesn't do X". And then we'll come back and say, "with the difference in money you charge we could add X, plus your Bar doesn't do Y because Y is unique to our company."

Buttering them up at the golf course works, and the bigwigs don't want to have to think about the details of tradeoffs because it hurts their tiny head such that they are susceptible to smooth BS.

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