Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Should Never Make Suggestions In Meetings

So our Tuesday/Friday applicability/mitigation/status conference call happened, as scheduled, at 3pm yesterday.
Every week, we get a "matrix" in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which lines out our current and ancient patch and configuration requirements, lined out by the government, which must be put in place in order for us to maintain our contracts.
This spreadsheet contains about a dozen pages of details on the vulnerabilities themselves, as well as a complicated chart showing the status of each department with regard to documented compliance efforts.
Stick with me.
The other thing this spreadsheet has is colors.
Green means everything is good, yellow means everything will probably be fixed before the deadline and red - glaring, firetruck red - means some deadline has been missed.
There was an argument last week on this call where one of the participants voiced concern that this red-splotched form was being sent every week to upper management. And part of the red part contains items which are being handled through the post-scan false positive process which is entirely out of our hands.
It was suggested that a non-red color be used to designate these issues, since people in upper management hate the color red like opium enraged bulls.
That discussion came up again yesterday in reference to these same issues.
Pink was fielded as a possibility due to the soothing nature of that color, as well as blue and a call from one of the Unix guys for something in a nice earth tone.
I suggested plaid, and said it was ideal because it was kind of red and kind of green and needlessly complicated.
This suggestion was met with the kind of stunned silence which happens on a conference call when someone joining the call from a car has been in an accident or near miss with excessive horn use.
"I mean, I'm just trying to go along with the established policy."
The second round of silence was broken with the meeting organizer asking me directly if I had some problem with the way things were done.
Of course I do.
It is inefficient and causes everything to take twice as long.
We all spend more time filling out forms which no one reads than actually solving problems.
"Oh, no," I said, "I was just kidding. You know that little voice in your head that tells you that you shouldn't say something because it would be inappropriate?"
"I've never heard from that little voice."
My badge still got me into the building this morning, so either everything is okay or the forms associated with having my access revoked take a couple of days to fill out and file with the correct departments.

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