Shoot The Messenger

An AntiPattern.

Problem: Nobody likes to hear bad news.

Context: Someone has discovered a problem, and has come to you to share the discovery.

Forces: Solution: Yell at the person who brought the bad news

Resulting Context: The messenger learns to bury problems, and keeps future discoveries hidden. Problems are "discovered" later and later in the development process, as people develop strategic blindness to avoid being the bearer of bad news.

Rationale: You have to do something with the anger, after all, and somebody needs to be punished whenever something goes wrong.

Better solution: Blow up at the problem, and invite the messenger to help you scream. Make it clear that you see the messenger as a partner in solving the problem, not as its cause.


Category ManagementAntiPattern

Also known as: KillTheMessenger?, BlameTheMessenger?, VisibilityGetsYouShot

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