It all started one fine Tuesday afternoon when newer projects are kicked off. The usual meeting to start off the project started with the project manager looking for people to attend the meeting. Well, it is one of the KRA items for the project manager to assemble his people for the meeting. The key is to ask the person to join the meeting just before it begins so that he is the least prepared for the meeting.
Then the question could be what if the other persons are better prepared ? That question does not arise as not a soul would have been aware of the existence of such a meeting prior to the meeting itself. Even the project manager would have no inkling of the meeting that he is supposed to coordinate and get done. It would have occurred to him while dozing off the in the forenoon that he needs to keep himself occupied in the afternoon and having had no option to appear to be working, he would have hit upon the jackpot idea of convening a meeting.
But a meeting cannot be conducted unless there are at least a couple of people in the room. Otherwise, the project manager would have to do what he does best at home – talk to himself.
So, the PM ( not the Prime Minister ), Project Manager, sends out an invite to some un-disclosed recipients and looks back triumphantly at the wall clock just to be sure. His work is done for the day and he can relax.
Having arranged the meeting, he waits for the participants to arrive at their own time. Some turn up at their earliest ( not necessarily at the indicated time ) while the rest don’t even bother to respond ( they are busy you see ).
The PM waits endlessly. He is the epitome of patience, having convened many meetings such as the one that he has convened , many times in the past.
After waiting for 30 minutes, some one suggests that the PM publish the call-in number over mail so that people from remote locations could join the call, if only they wished to.
Time and tide wait for none, they say. That is probably not applicable to Project Management Status meetings. In these, everything waits, including time.
As the number is published, there is a lazy caller who dials in and it turns out to be the one who has been marked as “Optional” in the invite. Probably he was bored to death at office that he chose to dial in just to kill the boredom.
Then, with clock like precision, the PM asks no one in particular but every one in general,” Has anyone joined the call?” into the phone fully knowing well that there is just one caller in the line.
All of a sudden many beeps are heard and more number of people than have been invited, join the call. The PM rejoices. But it turns out apparently that they had joined erroneously for another call and therefore disconnect.
And the wait continues with the first and the only caller in the line and the couple of bored out people in the room.
By a stroke of luck, it occurs to the PM that the agenda of the call was to discuss the status of the project. Then a new confusion arises as to which is the project whose status needs to be discussed as there are many projects that run in parallel.
So the PM decides that a Project A needs to be discussed and starts with the couple of people seated in the room and the only caller on the phone.
The very mention of Project A results in a chaos with the three participants in the call, all vying for attention at the same time , declaring that the personnel responsible for Project A are not in the call.
Project B gains attention and the same story is repeated. Same proceedings until Project E and all the projects meet the same fate.
So, the PM asks a very fundamental question,”If none of you are in Project A till E, then why are you there in this meeting?”, to which the attendees reply ,”because you called us for this meeting”.
“Didn’t you know the agenda before hand ?”, asks the PM before being self-reminded that he never published the agenda in the first place.
Two full hours are gone by.
4 persons X 2 hours = 8 hours = one man day consumed.
The client is billed for this as “Project Status Review Meeting”.
And the PM sends invite to another meeting for another day.
Garuda Puraanam says that people who consciously waste other people’s money shall be bound to a tree that has hundreds of scorpions crawling all over.