My boss sent this around to all of the technical staff the other day. Since many of the people on the internet work in software shops, this may strike a familiar chord.... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To: Technical Staff From: [Name withheld to protect the managers] Subject: Working Smarter Date: Early February, 1994 In our ongoing effort to work smart, not hard, it will be easier to work smart if we can identify those entities that make us work hard, not smart. The following are to be avoided: 1. Working on projects with unrealistic time deadlines where the only result is delivering something that doesn't work. If the delivery date can't be changed, modify the scope of the project so that the deliverable is quality work that can be extended to the full specification later. 2. Taking directions from the wrong people. Not everyone here has as their goal to work smart. Everyone who is not a member of the technical staff is a potential enemy as well as an ally. Since this is war we must keep our guard up at all times. Some guidelines may help. Any information coming from the sales consultants is to be treated carefully. If there is any question regarding the validity of the information confirm the information with the technical account manager. Although the consultants are our allies, they are easily confused. Their loyalties can be easily bought and sold. They worship at the altar of money and power, although they don't often go to church, watch out when they do. A particularly nefarious group is the marketing department. Their mission is to provide guidance and tools to the sales department. They often must predict the future and provide demonstrations of what the future will provide. To do this, they have to consult with oracles, soothsayers, and magicians. The sounds coming from their work areas are often mistaken for learned discussions but are in actuality incantations and mantras to demons and devils.The results of these efforts often have a smoky appearance with frequent flashes of light often mistaken for brilliance. An individual to be avoided is the high priest of marketing, Sir James of Schaumburg. He has personal warmth, charm, and an exceedingly high level of energy and enthusiasm. Since this level is unnaturally high he must possess a secret amulet or potion to give him this strength. He has a high level of knowledge about certain technologies that we use. This makes him particularly dangerous because he can make himself appear to be one of us. The approach he uses to subvert our efforts starts with a simple leading question. This usually leads to another question and another question. The pattern usually ends with a request for some assistance on a project that he starts but doesn't finish. You will be lulled into believing that this is a simple request and can be quickly handled. He is able to penetrate our usual defenses of disdain and cynicism of anything that does not come from the technical temple of truth and beauty. Some god of marketing has given him some magical power to do this. Before you know what has happened he has spun a web around you and you are hopelessly trapped in a project where the specifications change constantly, due dates keep moving toward you, and the urgency level increases with each new specification. Since this is war, anyone caught fraternizing with the enemy will be disciplined. The first offense will result in a reprimand at a Friday lunch. The second offense will result in a public flogging. The third offense will result in being sacrificed to the gods of marketing. Remember, lets work smart, not hard.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)