Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Meeting Mania - work place

Disclaimer - The following does not talk about any one work place. I have worked in many places and have had a mixed bag of experiences and colleagues.

4pm to 5pm meeting.

Phone meeting where all of us call into a bridge number. Meetings over the bridge are common since some of us work in different locations and the rest like to sit in their 6 x 4 cubicles and only talk to the chap who sits in the opposite cube on the phone. This is not done because we cube dwellers gradually begin to hate all human contact (though there might be some truth in that) and also not done so that we can have an official meeting while checking mail, sending twitter messages, updating our facebook status and reading our favourite blogs. This time is also not considered quality "me" time that can be used to pick the pearly whites with a toothpick, clean the ears out, file nails etc. This is done to promote communication and interaction between teams and in turn improve our productivity.

This particular meeting was attended by Team A and Team B that work in two different time zones.

Main players

X - Team A. Loves meetings. Attends as many of them as he can. Spends a large portion of every meeting trying to schedule another meeting. He likes to spread joy so he also tries to schedule meetings for other folks attending current meeting.

Y- Team B. Attends meetings grudgingly. Made the mistake of being the person in charge of deliveries and also accidentally has been cursed with X as the guy he has to work with.

Me- Also Team A. Work with X. Don't care either way. Like my job but am in the blissful position where I can contribute without having too many responsibilities. I am going to spend this meeting browsing. I would feel guilty about this but then my pay check arrives my conscience is assuaged.

Y (after an half hour presentation that is rich in technical detail, lists the strengths of the suggestion and painstakingly explains the actual implementation) - So that is how I think we should handle this one and I think we can have this out the door by...

X (panicking - is not a total slacker but is deathly afraid of any sort of deadline/commitments. Likes to work when there are no other possible meetings he could attend and doesn't want any of the working to affect his social life aka meetings for the week.) Wait lets not rush things. I want to make sure that all concerned parties are present. Do we have Z on the bridge? (Fully aware that Z is from Team C and in yet another time zone and probably in his bed since it is past midnight there). How can we commit to anything without Z's consent?

Y (Triumphant voice) - I talked to Z about it earlier and he approves of this plan.

X (Hurt) - Z signed off without our feedback? He might not have the benefit of our perspective. He might have missed the changes that our team suggested.

(I might have gotten a little too engrossed in the word game that I was playing but apart from some font changes in the presentation I could not recollect any relevant "feedback")

Y (desperate) - I will take your feedback to Z and run it past him.

X - But I would like for our team to be able to give the required feedback on the feedback that Z gives on our feedback. And since our respective time zones make all of us meeting very inconvenient, I would suggest that you have a meeting with Z to present our feedback, after which You and I can have a meeting to discuss Z's feedback, and I and Z can have a meeting to discuss our feedback on Z's feedback.

Y (Silent. Probably counting down from 100 in hexadecimal to keep his cool) - I am sure that will help but that would add a week to this schedule.

X - Well I think process and interaction is a necessary evil (he got that half right). And if these meetings buy.... I mean set us back by two weeks that is the cost of quality.

Y (recognizing that he is defeated) - Sure X why don't you set up the meetings?

Me - Enjoying meeting very much. Adding masala here and there so that I can make it a funny dinner conversation. Now it has become a blog....

Recipe - Made plantain sabzi. The recipe can be found here. To make the sabji more South Indian so I can have it with my sambhar I add sambhar podi in place of garam masala.


Ersa said...

the bliss of being a part of corporate world ! ;-)

stringOfPearls said...

yes.. the bliss comes I think from being a witness instead of a participant.. :)