You know what sucks? Office meetings. And I'm not talking about "office meetings" in the sense of meetings that take place in a room full of cubicles populated by people who die a little inside every day. Although those suck too. No, I'm talking about meetings about Office. Microsoft Office. Specifically, my employer migrating from our current, hideously out-of-date Office 97 plus Outlook 2000 setup (don't ask me why the two versions) to Office 2007.
We've been having these meeting every Friday since the beginning of April. The first one was an entire hour on Microsoft Outlook. The second was 45 minutes on Word and Excel. The third was half an hour on Access. Since then, the meetings have been on the order of 10 minutes a piece and have consisted mostly of someone from the help desk saying that the new version had been installed on so-and-so's PC.
Believe it or not, there is a matematical reason why we continue to waste our time on these pointless meetings even though we've run out of things to talk about. You see, in any bureaucratic organization, the number of total meeting associated with a project is given by the equation:
Here, m is the number of meetings, d is expected project duration, i is perceived importance by management, and s is the sanity quotient of the organization. Note that there is no factor relating to the need for discussion.
In our case, the Office 2007 installations will take a while because we have to do it all by hand - having an automated deployment system would make far too much sense. And since the new version of Office affects every department and is highly visible to users, my boss thinks it's extremely important. And as for the final factor, as a government agency we necessarily have an extremely low sanity quotient. Thus we have a standing meeting, even though it's completely pointless. Ain't bureaucracy grand?
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