Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh, the irony (one of many)

As a software developer for many years I often wondered what the management people were thinking. My patron saint (St. Dilbert) mocked them mercilessly and I found solace in the humor. I picked up Scott Adams' first book "The Dilbert Principle" and read it from cover to cover and thought it was pure, distilled genius. One thing that stuck out to me then, even more than the other items, was his supposition that the person doing the work of the company - the hands-on person (like me, the software developer) - is central to the company, and the process of creating policies is one step removed from hands-on work.

Damn straight, thought I. If I'm not here to write this code what are they going to do? Write it themselves? Ha!

Fast forward some years. I have been done one-on-ones (O3s) with my direct reports for a while now, once a month for an hour each time. I moved from a once a week O3 format because of how cluttered it made my schedule and because some of my folks did not think it was very useful. After switching to the once a month format, however, I found that a month was a long time to get O3 time with some of my people, in particular my remote people, so I wanted to move back to once a week 30 minute sessions. But, I wanted to get some feedback first.

I called a meeting.

Once everybody who was on-site came into the meeting it hit me suddenly that I was not only having a meeting (which most people do not like) about a policy (one step removed from REAL work), but I was having a meeting about TWEAKING a policy I'd already changed, back to the way it was previously. How far removed from real work was I?

The sheer irony of it was overwhelming.

Apparently, fate has a sense of humor.

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