Friday, November 20, 2020

Tradeoff vs corruption

How do you know when you've crossed the line from making trade-offs to fomenting corruption?
That's not a question asked very often in the is space, and not usually asked in polite company.

Nonetheless, it happens.
And, what is "it"?

"It" is making decisions about doing 'this' or 'that' that are a violation of accepted norms wherein the outcomes have an inappropriate personal benefit, rather than a decision among legitimate alternatives where the personal benefit is non-existent or indifferent to the outcome. 
Corrupting decisions take many forms: There may be a financial benefit, like a stock option that gets out of negative territory; there may be a job benefit insofar as the decision comports with the business narrative; or there could be a 'traitor in our midst' problem.

They say that in a republican democracy (small 'r', small 'd') that the people are sovereign and that political power is simply a delegation from the sovereign -- such a delegation intended to benefit the sovereign (the people at large). Political corruption is then using that gifted and delegated power to work against the interests of the sovereign to one's own benefit. 

How does that work in a project? Who is the sovereign? What is corruption in the project sense?

You could say the owners and shareholders are sovereign. You could say that customers are sovereign and that all business value is a delegation from customers. 
  • To work against the customer's interest (or owners and share holders) with false claims and hidden quality shortcomings is committing corruption. 
  • To work for a compromise that is beneficial to customers and business alike is making trade-offs.

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