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Jun 03, 2009



Castronova et al, have you really learned how to do it right? Have you learned to take the blame yourself and to say, "My own management approach, and my own personality had major impacts on the project's failure"? Can you honestly get up there and talk frankly about your own personality's impact on the project?

What I deduced from Arden's failures as an outsider were...

  • There was more interest in getting press and interviews than creating something good.

  • There was a failure to motivate and manage the team and the project. Good teams don't need heavy handed management, but they need to share a common vision and occasionally need a bit of nudging to get back on track.

  • A failure of the project's leadership and management to take the blame.

  • Blame was too quickly put on the student workers, with project failure tied to a perceived inherit flaw in having students make up a development team.

  • Management which seemed to ask themselves, "What can I do to make our project and myself look good?" rather than, "What can I do to make the project a success?"

My own advice to an academic project? Don't give money to someone who seems to care more about seeing their name in the press than creating a successful project. Don't give it to someone who lists a PR firm as a point of contact on their academic web page.

Instead, get a quiet person who is interested first and foremost in making something good. Get someone who can mix being practical with idealistic concepts. That combination of passion, practicality and an open mind will spread to the project and to the team, and can lead to success.

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