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“they didn’t really answer any of the questions” September 24, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Did I Hear That Right?.
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Dramatis Personae:

Boss: That Guy’s Boss

The Facts Are These:

A few months ago, the Corporate Office ordered all branches to standardize their websites. Good in theory, but not so much in practice. As has been noted in the past, there are two branches, PC and Mac. That Guy works for the Mac branch — 23 offices — but the Corporate Office sent down a corporate site redesign directive that did not incorporate any Mac applications whatsoever.

Anyway, the Mac branches pulled it off. Those 23 sites look nothing like the 100-plus PC sites, but that’s just the way it is.

Last week, the Corporate Office held a conference call to update all branches on the status of the Big Redesign Project (BiRP, for short). BiRP has had a lot of problems — massive dropoffs in page views and uniques; slow page loads; few options for true customization; no real sharing between PC and Mac, or even between branches; and epic fails of two major pieces of third-party software. But instead of truly addressing any of those problems, they simply gladhanded around how great things were with the new designs.

The BiRP team solicited questions that they promised to answer during the call. Due to scheduling conflicts, only the Boss could attend. He submitted questions from the entire team, and those questions were approved by our Big Boss to send in. Well, according to the boss, “they didn’t really answer any of the questions.” They tried to answer some from the in-call chat room, but even then, no true solutions were reached.

The Boss basically wasted about 70 minutes.

This really exemplifies the corporate conference call: don’t cover what you promise to cover, don’t answer what you promise to answer, say a lot of stuff that makes your group look good, and make sure to only address the needs of the largest groups, instead of the needs of everyone.

The department really felt for the Boss after this one. But right after the call, we had to sit through another 70-minute meeting — the weekly departmental gathering.

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