Apologies in advance for what might appear to be a bit of a rant. This is the sort of thing that explains why I need a change.

I’ve been a very busy boy of late, trying to get complicated and not so complicated things done at the office. My work isn’t that difficult to explain but that is where any pretence of simplicity concerning it’s function ends. It’s tough because of the way we do it. I’ll give you an example from a couple of weeks ago on a job that was supposed to be urgent and actually finished last week.

Here’s how it goes. I ask a question of a group of people that most definitely know the answer. It’s in relation to a special thing that this group of people (Let’s call them 1, 2 and 3) have been (I can’t say designing), perhaps bolting together on pieces of paper is more accurate. Something along the lines of….

1: Finished!. We now know exactly what bits we’ll need.
Me: That’s great news. Please let me know which part number and how many?

The question couldn’t be more direct and to the point if it was a bolt of lightening striking the copper tip of the north pole. And the response?

1: XXX or YYY will work fine.
2: Yes I agree with 1
3: That’s right unless you want to do something else we just thought of.
2: Hmmm. Good point. Maybe we should do that too.
3: Ok. So you’ll also need ZZZ to make either XXX or YYY work in that way.
2: Oh yes. That’s correct. Well done.
1: I don’t really know, but 2 or 3 will.

Me: I don’t want to sound like an old woman here, but can someone answer the damn question please!?

1, 2 & 3: ….. Silence …..

This special thing was already late. When someone knows what it’s supposed to be I might be able to work out how much it could cost. I’m left to wonder if that day is ever likely to arrive?

They’re good men (and thorough), but what we have here is something much like the duck billed platypus. A beast that’s been put together by a non committal committee. Don’t get me wrong, the finished special thing will be very very special indeed. It will be exactly what the customer wanted and more that they didn’t want. It might be a bit pricer, but you get what you pay for.

I mean why settle for an Otter, when you can have an Otter with a duck’s nose… unless we can think of something else to add….

3: ooo, wait. Eggs!!! Everyone loves eggs…. 
2: Oh yes, or what about webbed feet!?? They’re always useful…. 
Me: Grrrr…..


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
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