In the movie Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman plays a convict in constant trouble. At one point the warden says to Luke, “What we’ve got here is … failure to communicate!” Trouble continues until the climax when Luke runs and is cornered in a church. He leans out the window and mockingly yells to the warden, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!”, quickly followed by a guard putting a bullet through Luke’s throat. In the corporate world, a failure to communicate is a very common problem, and often results in drastic actions. In this world, however, a bullet through the throat is, thankfully, not a common outcome.
When most projects begin there is great hope and promise for all involved. A terrific product has been defined, complete product requirements have been written (he said optimistically), a thorough project plan has been put in place (also optimistically), and all parties have signed up to deliver what is necessary to successfully bring this wonderful product to market. There is a strong degree of trust among all the many parties from multiple organizations, including product development, product management, sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing, senior management, etc (see Does Everyone Really Understand?). All the world is in harmony! J It is virtually impossible for things to be much better from this starting point, so there is really only one direction that things can go – downhill. Along the way, problems will arise, eroding trust and straining relationships (see Trust Me - I'm Not Like The Others!).