Yesterday I’ve spent several hours on a workshop at one of our local financial services clients, here in Poland. The audience consisted of several low-level managers and senior developers from client’s IT department and my co-speaker was a head of development team from the same client (but different division).

Our purpose was to present and provide hands-on experience with some technical & application architecture improvements (already used and proven in different division of the same client) - some changes were more process oriented (change management), some were rather tech-based (deployment model, configuration management, service publishing model). It is already absolutely clear for middle-level management, that what we were bringing is a pure benefit at barely noticeable cost (as we already proved that on several internal initiatives), so we just had to make sure we’ll find some support in levels below - we needed confirmation that people will be ready to adapt the changes.

We failed…

After five hours of convincing we finally reached the agreement that “those things indeed seem useful”, but there was not a single soul who had guts to raise a hand and say “ok, if you offer your support, I’ll take the challenge and make a first step”. We didn’t ask for much - we provide technology, tools, documented procedures, even our support (from their perspective - for free).

But no-one decided to stand up.

Just to give you a bit wider perspective - those people started with awesome modern system (and architecture) 10 years ago, but they didn’t do anything significant to improve it since then. 10 years in IT is an eternity. And now, we’re giving one of them the opportunity - be the first one to resurrect the mammoth, learn the new stuff to step one level above their peers, “earn some points” in your superiors’ rankings. I know so many people in Accenture, who’d almost literally kill for such an opportunity. But when we asked those client people, room remained silent.

Conclusion: some people won’t recognize an opportunity even if it hits them in their faces.