Tower of Truth vs Pyramid of Pain

The problem with dark management managed organizations is the want of truth when information propagates upward to the CEO.

“It’ll take 18 months, and at least 20 new recruits and there’s at least 3 major infrastructural projects that needs to move first to support this initiative” said the analyst

“My boys need 20 months and a further 10 recruits and we need some upgrades”, the team lead assessed, knowing that it’s going to be hard to get that many new hires anyway.

“The section will require 12 months to complete the job and more hires will be necessary”, line manager reports in the weekly update. It’s a ripe enough target to meet this year’s bonus, and 20 months is just way too long. Heck, the infrastructural issues is not his problem.

“We can do it in 9 months! And I’ll stake my reputation on it“, the departmental manager held his head high, believing that there’s nothing like a stretched target to inject some ‘creative tension’. And when challenged by the General Manager about the extra weight it’ll put on the existing corporate platform, he nonchalantly claims that the existing upgrades is only 8 months old, so it’ll hold.

“The project seems simple enough, I think the team can complete it in 6 months, and we may even be able to run the project concurrently with the other core projects”, finally as the General manager wraps up the quarterly report to the CEO.

“One more thing, we’ll split the department into two due to the concurrent running projects”, and before the GM could conclude, the CEO butts in.

“From today onwards, they’ll be a freeze in recruitment, we’re too bottom heavy, I’ve just got a report from the consultants that companies our size runs with 30% less people”.


From analysis inception to the final board report, probably 3-6 months would have passed; that’s if you’re lucky. But “management” needs to meet a magical dateline that’s pegged to yearly bonuses or some other arbitrary political interest like owing his buddy the vendor quarterly targets from the server acquisition that the project will incur.
So all this shit storm comes crashing down on the grunt; management yells go go go, and the whirlwind of excitement actually makes the CEO feel good.

“Yeah, I run an awesome performing company!”

So what’s this Tower of Truth? Well; that’s assuming that such organization actually exists and that there’s no lost in information as it flows. Gradually, the CEO gets smart after several failures and turns the flow into the “Trapezoid of Tyranny” through micromanagement.