Sometimes it feels like big companies try to enforce the Productivity Zero rule.
Here is a guide:
- involve as many team as possible. It will help ensuring endless discussions about who is doing what, and then how do I interface with them. This is most (in)efficient when team managers interact and are not very technically competent. One consequence is that nobody is fully responsible/accountable, which helps reinforce the productivity zero.
- meetings, meetings and meetings. FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) is king here. By spreading FUD, there will be more and more meetings. Even if the "project" is actually not a real project, but amounts to 10 lines of code, it is possible to have many meetings around it, over the span of several months (because everybody is always busy with other tasks). Another strategy is to use vocabulary, talk about technical or functional parts the others don't understand. Some people are masters are talking technical to functional people and vice versa.
- multiply by 20, not 2. It is surprisingly easy to tell upper management something is going to take 3 months, when, in fact, it can be done in 3 days. This is a bit like bargaining in South East Asia: it's always amazing to find out how much you can push the price down (or how much they push it up).
- hire as many well paid managers and product specialists as you can, and make sure they know nothing about the product or the functional parts but are very good at playing the political game without any content. Those people often manage to stay a long time, a real talent.