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Lessons From A Failed Project Proposal

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Toxic employee
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10 April, 2018

Raju Menon discusses lessons he learned from a failed project proposal, early in his career.

Problem

Earlier in my career, when I was working as an Senior Engineering Manager at Adobe, I led the Adobe Connect Pro Engineering team. I wanted to make some fundamental changes to the architecture in terms of how the product was set up. I did a lot of analysis with my team, and built an entire proposal for a new and improved architecture that I believed would really help the product to scale and grow. This proposal had the buy-in from our architect as well. However, the project didn't go forward, despite us believing at the time that we had done everything right.

Actions taken

Looking back, I realize that we didn't get buy-in from everyone on this project. I now realize that this was because I was looking at the problem from a very narrow lens of just the engineering part of the project, and how we could help the engineering part of the puzzle. However, I didn't consider the project from a business perspective and how it would impact the current business and customer base. I also hadn't provided solutions for how we could undertake the project with minimal impact on our customer base.

Lessons learned

When introducing an idea for a new project, it's important to not only have the technical underpinnings correct, but to also consider your project from a business perspective, evaluate opportunity costs, and have buy-in from the business. I now always tell my team to consider how their proposed projects will impact the company, both from a business and a technical perspective.


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