"There is no cover for a CIO who works for a president [or CEO]," says Davis. "It's a no-excuse environment. The projects are too big and there's too much money associated with what you're doing to say it's not going to work."
13. Know when to fold. "If you've presented your case in business terms and the CEO says you still can't do it, suck it up," says Goss. "They're the CEO, and at the end of the day it's their call."
So what should a CIO do when the CEO is saying no to a project, budget or timeline that you know for a fact will endanger the company?
Kretzman left a job where the CEO was leaning on him to implement a CRM system on a timeline that Kretzman knew was way too aggressive. The CEO wanted the company to begin using the software as soon as it was installed. Forget training. Forget a phased approach. Kretzman knew this was a disaster waiting to happen, so he high-tailed it out of the company.
Kretzman says the CRM implementation was a disaster and that the company ended up abandoning the software at a high cost. If Kretzman had stayed, he would have been associated with a failed project.
A CIO should leave a doomed project the same way any other executive should leave a company engaging in fraudulent activity, notes Kretzman. "If a corporate counsel or a CFO is told to turn a blind eye to illegal activity, you have to be willing to exit the position," he says.
Meridith Levinson covers Careers, Project Management and Outsourcing for CIO.com. Follow Meridith on Twitter @meridith. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Meridith at email@example.com.