Evan's Eyes

Web Log Entry #0022, Tuesday, December 3, 2002: Day 15

Anchorage Sunrise: 9:48am Sunset: 3:49pm High Temp: 39° Low Temp: 33°

Had sort of a Dilbert meeting (I know, more "Dilbert" references!). Last week, Jim asked me to schedule a brief work session with our contact person, just to clear up a few questions about the format for sending data files to our group. I schedule the meeting; three people and a small conference room for half an hour. Then the [Governmental Agency] representative gets added. Someone else on their side hears about the meeting, and wants to go. They mention it to a manager higher up their food chain, who decides HE has to attend. We find out, and we can't have him there without a matching authority on OUR side, and we can't have just ONE of the ranking managers on the project, or the other one will be miffed. More people get invited. Now most of the attendees won't be familiar with the path of information flow, so Jim spends a morning diagramming it all. Someone decides that the meeting needs to be teleconferenced, so we scramble to change rooms and reserve the teleconference circuit for ninety minutes. Finally, the meeting. Fourteen people are present. We begin with a step-by-step description of information flow. We get about two steps in, and lock up in a long, rambling digression about why a particular set of items are reported in a particular way. Finally, one of the [Governmental Agency] people says "I guess we just didn't understand because this is the first we've heard of this." The project managers in the room I'm in get the confused look of someone whose accountant has just offered to give him a bath. "Legally we have to report it this way," one says. "That's what all those meetings were about LAST MARCH." This allows us to continue on our process flow.

We make it through the chart, and move on to the other agenda items. Not surprisingly, the group decides that most items can be dealt with by just the people directly involved (me, Jim, and our contact person). Despite this, we're still not done when we hit the ninety-minute time limit for the teleconference, and the video image abruptly clicks off. We finish the last few minutes over the phone, and the meeting wraps with none of our original issues resolved. Immediately following the meeting, I spend twenty minutes with our contact person and cover them all.

Dilbert is a documentary.

You may notice I'm being vague on details of what I'm doing. That's because of WISDOM's non-disclosure agreement, and because we're working with the [Governmental Agency]. I mean, there shouldn't be any problem with you knowing that I'm on a [Governmental Agency] project as long as I don't give any details. What are they going to do? Hack into my web site and change the name every time it appears?

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© 2002 Evan M. Nichols