Friday, March 10, 2006

Easy Targets and Bureaucracy

I know it's too easy to mock bureaucracy and management and we should really know better but this is a good try.
One day William was at home in his workshop when there was a knock at the door. Imagine his surprise when there, large as life on his front doorstep, stood the Queen! "Hello good citizen William," she said. "I am undertaking a new project at the castle and I am in need of fine furniture. I have heard great things of your woodworking skills, and have come to ask if you would carve me a chair for the royal bedchamber. It must be a great chair, the very finest you can create, and free from all imperfection. We must ensure quality. I'm sure you will not let me down. I bestow upon you three days in which to complete your task." William bowed low as the Queen departed.

On the first day, William set about finding the very finest wood with which to make the chair. He was just about to venture out into the forest when there was a knock at the door. It was the Queen again, holding a sheaf of parchment in her hand. "Oh William, you cannot begin your task until you have completed this Project Initiation Document. I know that you are a great carpenter, but imagine what might happen if your goal objective parameters were left undefined. I cannot allow such a threat to quality". And so William spent most of the first day preparing the Project Initiation Document, consulting with the village elders whenever he got to a particularly difficult part of the 18-page form. Just before sunset he finally found time to go out and collect some wood, but it was a bit scrappy and not up to his usual standards.
Go read the whole piece. Try and think of an industry that is not so plagued by needless forms and collection of information and I'll buy you a pint*

*Subject to us serendipitiously meeting. Usual terms1 and conditions apply.

1Whatever they are.

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