We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Patience, fleas, the night is young

"Scoring Points by Ticking Boxes," our corporate action plan, has generated a number of offspring, the latest being a card that came with our payslips. On the card is a summary of the corporate aspirations beginning with "We will work co-operatively in a friendly environment." One that's nice is: "We will work nimbly." In order to prove that we are working nimbly and co-operatively we have to fill in a new generation of forms so that the nimble and co-operative workflow can be monitored (I'm really not making this up). Here's an example...

We've got some money and need some printers to replace some we bought in 1998 (profligate I know, but we've got the money and thought we'd treat ourselves). I contacted support to find out what printers we were allowed to buy, where from and how much. They told me I needed to submit the question by email. (I've got my PC back by the way. Thanks for asking. It came back just after I took the "borrowed" PC over the road.) I emailed the question. A month later I got a reply telling me which model I could buy and how much for, the purchase to be done via support. I asked how I should effect the order. A week later I was emailed a Word Document which turned out to be the order form. I filled it in and then found that because I wasn't the holder of the cost code we were using to buy the printers I had to email the cost code owner so that they could email the order I'd filled in. Five weeks later they were emailed to tell them that the order hadn't been accepted because I hadn't specified to which PCs the printers were to be attached. And each printer required a separate order form. So I filled in multiple copies of the form and emailed them to my colleague to pass on when they got back from leave a week later. The order was emailed to support. A week later I got an order confirmation. The printers arrived the next day. Not bad service, 12 weeks to order the printers and a day to deliver.

On the subject of anally-retentive control freaks, the other day I was comparing notes with a colleague from elsewhere in the damp north-west. They tell me that they are forbidden to throw anything away. Literally. Their chief goes through the waste-paper bins to make sure no contraband is going to the dustbinmen. Apparently, for a couple of weeks there was a broken flipchart in the office lobby. One leg had been snapped off and was propped up against the wall. On it was a post-it note: "I am broken. Please can I be thrown away?" The post-it note was thrown away and the flipchart put into stores.