We all know what Im talking about. It would be acceptable if this were just about mediocrity versus excellence, but its about much more than that. Its about evil, self-serving mediocrity (or outright evil, self-serving incompetence).
Its about what the military tries to avoid at all cost: stupid, arrogant officers.
Implicitly this means that its okay to be stupid and okay to be arrogant, but that the combination of the two is deadly and, in the military, can actually get people killed.
In the technology trenches, people dont get killed though sometimes they lose their jobs but they do get marginalized, discarded and disrespected for all the wrong reasons.
When this happens what should you do?
Some suggest it is best to just keep your mouth shut, bide your time, and hope that the idiot gets promoted, fired or hit by a truck. But others suggest that you attack the bastards.
How might that work? Your first weapon is evidence. If the boss says that you should outsource technology to Mumbai or the Philippines without a business case, then you should build that business case against it and present it to the boss as often as you can. Of course he or she may dismiss it, but the effort will establish you as an evidence-based annoyance and, because of the dismissal, release you to undermine your boss.
This can be accomplished in several ways. You can anonymously release the business case to your bosss boss. You can build support for the case with your colleagues. You can use the vendors that stand to lose if the outsourcing occurs to bang on your boss and your boss bosses. You can turn the issue into a tough political campaign.
Am I kidding? Not at all. You have only two choices when stupid technology decisions are made. You can (1) ignore the decisions or (2) you can push back.
Candidly, most of us ignore the stupid decisions in favor of covering our own asses, protecting our jobs, and avoiding confrontation. But the push back doesnt have to be confrontational; it can be clandestine and manipulative. Look at the roles that surrogates play in the current presidential election campaign: we can learn from these cretins.
I have seen some unbelievable things in my career, things I wish I had attacked in every way possible at the time.
Some years ago I watched a CIO/CFO relationship turn on fishing lures and trips: decisions that made no sense were wrapped in new fishing rods and reels. The approach worked because the CFO had a limited knowledge of technology and loved fishing in exotic places. (Like you, I have seen similar strategies work with wine, golf and football.)
I listened incredulously when a global CIO of an enormous company told me that if all I could save him was $250,000,000 a year (yes, the number is correct) he wasnt interested because of the political fights that the path to savings would trigger.
Ive watched start-up CEOs buy enterprise database and ERP licenses from Oracle, IBM and SAP (for their ten employees) and Ive seen venture capitalist after venture capitalist ruin solid technology companies with their wisdom about what the technology offerings of the companies should look like.