This term will likely be familiar to anyone that’s been on an IT project, it describes the point of sudden realisation that there is a problem on the project and a scapegoat is required.
Really it shouldn’t work that way, people should undoubtedly be focussing on solving the problem and delivering the project, but these days it seems that there always has to be a post-mortem and a, consequently, a culprit found.
The meeting may take a number of different forms, or have a number of different titles, like “Process Improvement Workshop”, or “Post Implementation Review”, but in essence it will turn out to be a drains up blame-fest. You can usually gauge how much of a kicking is going to be dealt out by the seniority of the attendees. There may be even a series of blamestorming meetings to get the story straight before the upper management get told the story.
As you attend more of these meetings, you will witness people who have never moved quickly in their lives suddenly acquire the speed and adaptiveness of gazelles being pursued by a cheetah and reknowned trouble-makers will become strangely slippery, as if lubricated with some kind of advanced silicone compound.
Best go prepared to these kind of meetings, because the black spot will need to be finding a home, and you’d be advised to make sure it doesn’t unfairly land on your lapel. Of course, if you are a Good Guy and have followed the advice in this guide, you will already be well equipped and have nothing to fear.
At the meetings, watch out for the phrases, “This isn’t intended to be a witch-hunt”, and, “We’re not looking for a scape-goat here”.
It is, and they are.