Friday, September 05, 2008

More Office-Speak

I count any week where I learn a new office catch-phrase to be a total waste of 40+ hours, regardless of what was accomplished during the rest of the week.
Internet, this week has achieved fail.
We have an odd situation in the project.
Our new environment is coming online, but the old environment is still running.
No one on my team has ever been involved with the old stuff, but the team responsible for maintaining it has moved to distance themselves from it.
The old stuff is no longer being watched by anyone, and the patching has dropped off completely.
This responsibility has been batted around for about three months by people two levels of management above me.
By definition it still belongs to the old group.
But it also belongs to me, also by definition.
When this occurs, if a consensus cannot be reached, a MOU is generated.
"MOU" is my sparkling new word.
The Memorandum of Understanding is a kind of one-sided contract lining out responsibilities between two groups of people.
I think it may be pronounced "mauw" as in "mouse", but the "e" may change that. So it could be "moo" as in "mousse", but there is still that extra "e" thing and also "mousse" is french, which isn't even a real language, probably.
French is more of a code for making fun of Americans.
So while I'm not sure if it is "mauw" or "moo", I'm pretty sure it isn't "Mao" as in Chairman.
But anyway.
This resolution-generating document seems to require no strict guidelines for establishing cause or justification or truth, rather the first team to get the MOU through the approval process wins, having achieved Understanding first.
While this quest for understanding seems completely Zen on the surface, there is a lot of turmoil in getting the wording non-confrontational enough so that the document can be exchanged between members of upper management.
Normally, these elusive staff members only communicate by means of fruit basket, so the flinging of words marks something special indeed.
As it turns out, true Understanding is also totally optional, and masking the document with technical terms (or possibly french) can actually accelerate the process.
While I hate learning new buzzwords, I think I can truly embrace a document where speed beats accuracy and winners and losers are clearly established by email time stamp.

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