Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Sit up front!"

Got a call from my boss to sit up front during the Monthly Planning Reviews (MPRs).


Each project is assigned an architect. I'm assigned on about 15 projects. We give technical direction, especially in the early stages of the project, and general guidance during the implementation of the software solution. We "shepherd" the projects through various "tollgates" or review boards with all kinds of technical people poking at the project for flaws.

Each month a few projects are selected for a "deeper dive" and review by the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and his executive staff. Basically these are folks that "crunch the numbers" and figure out why the project is costing more, or taking more time, or needs more resources.

During this 30 minute review (but some last all day) the presenters sit in the front of the room while the executives throw stones at them and the project. It can be brutal. Since I don't do the presenting but only attend if there are technical questions, last time I sat off to the side.

Last month, while the review was in progress, and I was minding my own business, sitting on the side, I got a high sign from my boss to go and sit in the front at the presenter's table. She wants me to be visible. I'm fine in the shadows, 'I'll just sit here.' I motioned to her. She scrunched her brow and shook her head.

Later she told me in clear terms that next time I must sit in the front.

I just got a call from her about our MPRs tomorrow. Guess what her concern was? Not resources, not being over budget, but . . . you guessed it. Sitting in the front of the class.

"Our director wants us to sit in the front with the presenters. You MUST sit in the front."

"Yes, mom."

Several of the team overheard this silly request and think I ought to feign amnesia, sit on the other side, or give her hand signals that I'd never thought of, let alone give!

It really doesn't matter to me where I sit in the room, as long as I can be heard in the event that I need to be. But it's all about image I suppose.

That's the corporate world.

"I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you." -from the Boss