At an afternoon meeting in August of 1994, Jack Sweeney, Bank of Boston's head of information management resources, gave vice chairmen Edward A. O'Neill and William Shea some troubling news.

Mr. Sweeney told the vice chairmen unless all the managers in the bank got together and agreed on some basic ground rules, the million-dollar systems project that had been underway for a year and a half would not work.

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