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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You want us to have a what?

Remember the analyst who mailbombed herself? I thought of another odd story involving her.

We were working on something which would display a bunch of statistics about a customer's account. We decided to call it a dashboard. I didn't mind being asked to make this, or the name for that matter. Both seemed reasonable. I even appreciated the sample UI she provided because it gave me somewhere to start, and it would be less likely to be rejected than if I had come up with one on my own.

The one thing which sticks in my mind is the wording of something she said one afternoon. We were talking about figuring out how to finish the job and polish things and make sure everything was okay before rolling it out. She said we "... should have a groupthink to figure it out".

Yes, that's right, she said "groupthink" instead of, oh, say, "meeting".

When I think of groupthink, I tend to apply a negative slant to the whole thing. To me, it reminds me of decisions which are made by committee and frequently wind up being suboptimal, impractical, or worse. It's not the sort of thing you would want to have. I am also reminded of the Abilene paradox.

At first I hoped it was just a mixup and she intended to say something else, like "brainstorming session" or something else that was less negative (while still being MBA-ariffic), but that never panned out. Ultimately, I wound up reviving Buzzword Bingo due to her interesting word choices. As a group, we could do pretty well during a meeting, err, I mean, groupthink. There was no shortage of ridiculous words flying around.

I didn't go into this situation intending to be mean or even snarky. I was just doing my usual thing and assuming the best, but then upon being disappointed countless times, I merely adjusted to deal with reality.