A Quack Process: How to Keep Those Ducks in a Row

An actual photo of "The Alphabet Committee"
An actual photo of “The Alphabet Committee”

There’s a new process being implemented at my company (or rolled out or deployed) – whichever term you fancy. It’s new, novel, innovative…dare I say ground-breaking. Careers will flourish. Ceilings will be raised. Most importantly, crystal trophies will proudly ascend to the desktops of many an executive associated with this brain child.

Management expectation is that this process will facilitate awareness across the company, independent of functional area.

Here’s how it works:

It’s all about Letter Stewards: the letter “A” is owned and sponsored by Letter Workstream 1 with a full governance, delivery and change management procedure; letter “B” is owned by Workstream 2, “C” by Workstream 3 and so on throughout the alphabet.

Prior to any use of a given letter – be it in an email, a text or on the bathroom wall – the steward must approve its use, thus ensuring transparency, knowledge transfer and overall grooviness.

Management does’t believe it will hurt overall work performance. In fact, they hope to expand this service throughout the enterprise by EOY, then beyond the company, beyond the industry, as a worldwide process, eventually expanding to non-English characters such as Arabic, Japanese and more – maybe even braille.

Management also hopes that a carriage return owner will step up but there is a battle between whether this will be a hierarchical or independent relationship with the Enter button steward. The Page Break steward is caught in the middle as well.

There are challenges being worked through: the Backspace/Delete group is arguing over redundancy claims and the Hebrew consortium is trying to garner the right-to-left literacy rights. Japanese attorneys are assessing their top to bottom approach based on the precedent the Hebrew methodology is taking and considering a cross-reference for right-to-left concerns.

The dyslexic don’t know which camp to align themselves with – which is a backwards approach if you ask me – and the illiterate are asking for some white papers to peruse.

It seems like a mess, but I have confidence that management will get it straightened out and back on track with a few whiteboard sessions that lay out the meeting cadence for future alignment committees that can try to knock out the communication challenges. *

*Meeting minutes to come…as soon as pending approvals come from the letter workstreams.

I’ll let you know how it goes in a few months. For now, I’m busy clearing space on my desk for this:

My crystal trophy for excellence

My crystal trophy for process excellence

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About Yorick von Fortinbras

YvF is a writer, musician that stays sane by being creative while navigating the demands of life, looking for those holes where a spark can get through.
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