* : Portal czars, not so much
Last week, I was remembering that in Vienna, there was a woman at the IAEA who had started an internal listserv geared towards expats' needs; apartments for rent, activities, used furniture, etc.
It was the best source of information in the city if you weren't Viennese, period. She built up a following over the years and spent anywhere from a couple of hours per week to a couple of hours per day administering it. Everybody loved the listserv because it was so helpful.
One day, the Director of IT decided that maybe using the organization's infrastructure for that kind of thing wasn't the best use of resources so he decided to shut her down. A bit of an uproar was caused by those on the list so the Director of IT sanctioned the creation of a web portal out of the listserv (which is where I came in as an analyst/developer.) He was willing to throw enough resources at the portal to get it built, but the Achilles' heel of that plan was that as soon as we gleaned all the requirements from the list owner, she was not to spend any more of her working time on it; we were going to automate everything.
During one meeting with the list owner late in the requirements gathering, it came to light that she was trying to parlay the situation into a full time job for herself (as portal administrator.) I'm sure she would have done a great job (but I wasn't in charge of budget decisions.) She gave her listserv the sort of personal touch (the added value if you will) that made everyones' lives better. I'm sure she would have done the same as the portal czar.
In the end, she didn't get the full-time job doing what she really wanted to be doing (and was really good at doing,) the listserv was officially terminated, and the portal project was shelved.