The rumors are circulating about what happened at Apple that produced its catastrophic iPhone 4. Some reports say engineers knew about the antenna/dropped-call problem but were made to understand that CEO Steve Jobs's wish was to keep moving forward and ship the product.
Let's say for a moment that Jobs didn't know there was a problem. It seems incredible that he would know about the problem and ship anyway. Jobs is known to be arrogant and mercurial, and it would not be surprising if there are people in Apple who don't want to tell him the truth. I can just imagine the conference room conversation: "You tell him....I'm not telling him. You tell him!"
I wonder how many companies have engineering (or marketing, or research, or sales, or customer service, or human resources) departments that are afraid of executive management. Lots of companies give lip service to being able to fail without fatal repercussions. (In corporate speak this is called "failing forward.") But I suspect, and have witnessed, that scapegoating and CYA is a much more common reaction to serious mistakes that "attaboys/girls."
What's your opinion, of Apple or other companies and their cultures when it comes to the friction between speed-to-market and quality? Join the discussion.