Monday, September 6, 2004

Satan's Process Excellence

While OOF, I got to visit one of those smart people who not only are
scary-smart development-wise but also scary-smart bail-out now with all
these options while they are worth something... ah, the life of the retired
and smart. Anyway, I got a load of reading hand-me-downs including an issue
of The Baffler (#16).

One of
the articles, Same as the Old Boss, is focused around personal
reflections of the halcyon days of the Internet Boom, relating it to a
passing summary of a book, href="
577757?v=glance">No-Collar, which includes some focus on href=""> Anyway, the author,
Steve Featherstone, talks about the staffing entropy of one of his jobs,
including the appearance of a ruthless, savvy boss he names Satan
(italics mine):

The last thing Satan wanted was to
reveal her absolute ignorance. Drawing from her bag of consultant's tricks,
she hid behind a new set of "performance metrics" designed to put
her smack in the middle of the department's self-managed workflow. 
These "reforms" were supposed to make the freewheeling marketing
staff "accountable" to corporate goals, but they were really
Satan's way to meddle in various projects whenever she needed to deflect
upper management's attention from her blood feasting. She took no
responsibility for the "deliverables" to which she made us pledge
our souls. Work ground to a halt. We spent so much time filling out
forms, creating reports, and attending meetings to explain what we were
doing and to learn how we should be filling out forms and formatting our
reports, that it took twice as much effort to accomplish

Interesting stuff for me, reflecting on
increasing process over the years at Microsoft where I don't see the benefit
for all the extra work I have to put in focusing on stuff on the edge. What
lack of understanding comes from management above that they aren't smart
enough and knowledgeable enough to get by without all this increasing,
burdensome, rolled-up process? Cut the process, cut those demanding (or
process, and increase performance and results.

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