Lint-Trap 2/28/01: Look Ma, no Knees


Look Ma, no Knees


A big, all-hands meeting for the software team where I work. We are moving into a new building, and I have been organizing the move, one of those all-time "you can't win" jobs. I've worked my butt off with facilities, making sure that I knew where the new offices were, had plans, knew who was moving, etc. I'd prepared packets for everyone who was moving.

So the boss starts off talking about the new building, and the next thing I know he is talking about a couple of things I'd never heard before. A change in policy, in fact. By the time I stood up to tell the people who were moving what was going on, half of the information in the packet was worthless.

Cut off at the knees.

The problem is, I didn't realize in real time how much these changes really reset all the work I'd done. This was more obvious to many in the audience than to me.

So when I got up and handed out the packets, thinking I could still save the day, it just created more confusion.

My boss got sick and went home, leaving a message for me to please send email to everyone and tell them that I had misstated the policy.

By this time, I realized what a mess it was. But dammit, I hadn't misstated the policy--the boss had agreed on it two days earlier, changed his mind, and then didn't tell me. And was very vague about what needed to be changed...

Another sweet opportunity for learning...

I sent out an email 'clarifying' my remarks. I acknowledged that the policy had changed, and tried to describe what I thought my boss had in mind. I did not say I had misstated the policy.

I haven't done this much lately, but I went home and stewed. I had flashes of wanting to go on vacation three days early and let somebody else handle the mess. I grumbled and stewed until 2:30 AM. I did manage to send off a pretty sane email to my boss describing what I thought happened, and how we could fix it in the future. Then I fell into bed...

(continued next entry)

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.