A metaphor / parable on how tax payers’ money is burned within some internationally (un)-coordinated organizations aka multinationals aka United Nations.
The underlying story is based on actual experiences in the field of Information Systems / Information Technology (IS/IT) within one of the largest UN organizations. While – as we hear – since then things got even worse, this short story not only tries to demonstrate the lack of professionalism in those organizations, but also what happens when people who “know what they are doing” come to those organizations without political protection by their own governments. The sad endings to these stories are often like in the underlying true case used for this metaphor.
With that case we know about the professional coming in (who was an IS/IT manager with real hands-on knowledge that had earned him some of the most prestigious awards of the industry that money can’t buy) got pushed out of the organization with criminal means and Mafia like methods, threatened, smeared and witch hunted and already till today had to endure besides this multi-million dollar personal damages. The people responsible for the mess and disasters got promotions and after running the whole organization into the wall with almost 10,000 people suffering for years because of that and far beyond USD 100 million direct damages caused (indirect a multiple) were at best just moved aside to some other posts or even further palmed off.
We have recently spoken with one of their senior directors who (and that person really didn’t like that) had to acknowledge / confirm the amounts and damages mentioned above, and that they have to do almost everything of that multi-year program again.
Not that they would now consider hiring some real professionals – they seemingly continue to use people coming in by nepotism, with “legends / success stories” on their CVs from other similar failures as their achievements. The key reasons for failure of that program in the past were lack of business, IS/IT knowledge and management skills. The writing was already on the wall when they started up the program a few years ago with an almost “skill free zone” as the program management team after having excluded the few skilled ones that tried to participate by dodgy maneuvers and shady deals with some of their buddies.
What a waste of time, talent, ideas and money. And in the case of that organization also of lives. Not that anyone of those pulling the strings would care. And of course this complete failure was declared a success.
But now the metaphor / parable:
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