Bill Palmer

The protagonist of the story. Starts out as a well-respected manager of the mid-range technology department. Is coerced, or rather forced, by Steve Masters into accepting the role as the companies new VP of IT Operations.

Steve Masters

The CEO, and acting CIO, of Parts Unlimited.

Maggie Lee

Senior Director of Retail Program Management. Runs the project office. Only peripherally involved, but cheers on the changes of Bill Palmer and his team.

Patty McKee

Director of IT Service Support. Change Manager. Reports to Bill Palmer.

Sarah Moulton

SVP of Retail Operations and a real careerist trying to climb the corporate ladder by undermining everyone else. Quits in the end after a bad play of hands. Reports to Steve Masters

Wes Davis

Director of Distributed Technology Operations. Rough around the edges and don’t really play by the corporate norms. Hot-headed and lacks a verbal filter. Mostly funny but would probably be quite frustrating to work with in real life. Reports to Bill Palmer

Chris Allers

VP of Application Development. Starts out as somewhat of a nemesis, due to his very empirical approach to work, which, by judging from past performance, paints IT as a real underachiever.

Once Bill Palmer and team gets the ball rolling however, he comes around and proves to be a really valuable ally.


Bill Palmer’s mentor, who introduces him to the work of Eliyahu M Goldratt, and how IT and software development really isn’t that far from plant management, or any other kind of work.

Clearly an adaptation of Alex’s mentor Jonah from The Goal.


Chief Information Security Officer. For the first half of the book he’s totally oblivious as to what the business needs are, and acts from a totally disconnected, unrealistic point of view, only building obstacles for the rest of the company to get past.

Comes around after a thorough scolding by Eric and becomes one of Bill Palmer’s most important allies.