Several months back, my friend Salman was telling me that there is a simple, but universal, principle that applies to the selection and acquisition of computer hardware. He usually explains it to his clients as follows:
“Good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two”
In my field, the choice is even simpler: “I can do the work, or attend a meeting. Choose”. Sadly, the distinction doesn’t seem to be quite as clear-cut as you might expect. As a consequence, I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in meetings to discuss why the work isn’t being done. Meetings are great breeding-grounds for irony.
At the latest one I attended, the Project Leader+ gave a presentation which began with, “We need to unpack the participative framework to synergise the processes and thereby optimally align the project outputs with the inputs”. My eyes rapidly glazed over as she continued to batter us with waves of incomprehensibility for well over an hour. I was virtually comatose and struggling not to drool on my notepad when she finally concluded her lecture by looking at each of us in turn and sternly intoning, “It is fundamentally important that we all participate in these meetings and not just sit there waiting for them to end”.
Holy fuck! By that stage I’d practically lost the will to live. My sole reason for existence was the seemingly impossible hope that the damned meeting would end.
+ or “Grand High Paramount Windbag” to use her full title