Comparing expectations to actual events: the post mortem of a Y2K analysis



This article reviews an analysis performed for a “high-tech” company in mid-1998 to evaluate the potential impacts of Y2K on the company's performance. The authors are no longer directly associated with the company and the results have been restated to protect the company's identity. The model performed better than existing in-house tools, but inconsistency tests uncovered “insider” information that needed to be included in the model. The final scenarios and associated recommendations indicated response requirements incompatible with the time constants of information flows within the company. Like the Titanic moving toward the iceberg, it was already too late for the company to do much more than hope that fate would be kind. The causal dynamics left little to fate. A “validated” model often becomes part of the problem and the feedback (decision-making) system it is attempting to influence. To have a successful impact, consultants may need to give up their supposed objective position and personally engage themselves in the risk-ridden, internal, political processes of the client organization. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.