Businesses are complicated systems, where facts are often not enough to judge an event, a person or a project. Perception, the idea of company politics, personal interests and just human nature are strong forces that influence how an organization works.
Let's talk about Shaun. Shaun is a developer who is good at his craft, has been in the industry for a few years and a is solid performer. Shaun's main customer customer is a multinational and involves large business applications that share date on multiple technology stacks. Shaun's last project involved integration with a brand new software package that the organization had no experience with, and as the project had finished his manager wanted to gather some informal feedback about the project and the team involved.
The project had two sponsors, two senior managers in the organization: Peter, because of his expertise with multinationals and Paul who has a relationship with the customer's business owner.
When the manager approached Peter, two management layers above him, he was glowing and had nothing but words of praise about Shaun, his technical expertise and about the role he played in the project. Paul on the other hand, couldn't understand how someone with a few years of work experience under his belt, basically performed like a someone out of university and had jeopardized the whole project.
The "circles of distortion" is a theory I've had for years and this is my attempt to document it.