You’d think that $32 million would get you a functioning website in 2019.

And you’d be wrong.

I ran this by a few of the members of the 5marbles’ team and they were incredulous at a fuckup of this magnitude.

Call me jaded, but I was not.

No Shortage of Questions

Full disclosure: I don’t have any inside information on the Hertz-Accenture debacle. Still, I know a few things about IT project failures and website design. As such, the following queries come to mind:

  • Did Hertz executives or decision makers even know the difference between a static and responsive website? What about its importance in Google search results?
  • Ditto for the difference between Agile and Waterfall methods. How is it that this project broke bad to this extent?
  • Did Hertz do any real due diligence on Accenture? Or was this simply a matter of ensuring that Accenture was on Hertz’s preferred vendor list?
  • Did Accenture partners or project managers just throw the next available person at the project after staff turnover? I have seen this play out many times before in my consulting career—particularly with large consultancies.
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars to change the documentation from PDFs to an editable file format? Sure, many times clients make unreasonable change requests. Still, are you freaking kidding me?
  • I’d bet my house that much of the issue is rooted in poor inter- and intra-organizational communication. I’d be astonished if either party regularly used a tool other than e-mail.
  • Speaking of tools, I’d also wager than both parties relied upon massive Gantt charts and not far-less-confusing Kanban boards.
  • If a Hertz bigwig listed an unreasonable business requirement during the vendor-evaluation phase, did anyone from Accenture’s sales side have the minerals to say so? Or did that salesperson figure that that was a problem for Accenture’s delivery folks?
  • Was anyone from either party entirely accountable for the project? Or did this devolve into a bunch of steering committees with other responsibilities?
  • Did anyone making the decisions at either firm possess even a modicum of web-design experience?

Shame on both parties.

Make no mistake: The adage “Nobody Gets Fired for Buying IBM” is still alive and well. Shame on the Hertz folks for thinking that they needed to spend even half this much for a website today. I can think of dozens of firms—including this one—that could have successfully performed the work at a fraction of the cost.

Shame on both parties for letting it get to this point. As is often the case, a little outside expertise would have paid massive dividends. At a minimum for Hertz, an independent and experienced voice in the room would have avoided what has become a public brouhaha and egg on the face for Hertz CTO Rob Moore and new CIO Opal Perry.