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Chris Hadley headed the quality assurance function at Dura Corporation, a medium-sized software services company. When Chris’s boss left to become vice president of operations at Phoenix Systems, a struggling software developer, he asked Chris to join him as head of the product quality and testing unit. Although it was a lateral move, Chris jumped at the opportunity to lead a turnaround.

Dura was a world-class software development operation. Chris had joined the company right out of engineering school and had risen rapidly in the quality function. He was highly skilled; however, he had grown up in an environment with state-of-the-art technology and a motivated workforce. Having visited the Phoenix product ...

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