Saturday, June 27, 2009

A management tree, as per Hannah

Hannah and her intended were in town for a whirlwind tour of caterers, venues, and cake-testings. For a while we were careening around town, because I was delirious with amusement, but the crew mutinied and demanded the car keys. After that I was a passenger as we sped from destination to destination.

We toured seven bakeries in search of the perfect cake (the jury is still out). While we were en route, Hannah told me this is how her former employer set up a project, using the acronym VARCI

The "V" has Veto power over the job. The V is not necessarily involved, but can at any point squelch the project, or any of its aspects, for any reason whatever.

As I've seen in web designers' complaints: the CEO looks at the product of 100 hours of work and says, "No, it doesn't have enough sizzle."

The "A" is Accountable for the project. The "A" didn't necessarily do any of the work, and may not even know what's going on, but this is where the buck stops, so it behooves "A" to be sure nothing untoward is happening.

We can all think of many examples of heads rolling in politics because the "A" was not paying attention (or was pretending not to).

The "R" is doing the Research, or maybe it was some other word beginning with R, but at any rate, the Rs (there may be several) are the actual carpenters on the job, banging it together.

The "C" people get to Comment WHEN ASKED (Hannah stressed this point). They may be experts in some aspect of what's going on.

At the end of their hierarchy we find "I," the person or persons who should be kept informed about what's going on.

I thought this list was sadly lacking a member of the team, present in all organizations but particularly in projects like the one we are involved in:

"K" is for kibitzer: the person who has an opinion on everything even when not asked.

For some reason this really amused Hannah, maybe because on most Jewish projects kibitzers may outnumber all the other members of the team put together.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite Jewish jokes, in short:

The Yeshiva has put together a sculling team and they are losing against all the other boats on the river. Consistently, they come in last.

They send one of their oarsmen to go spy on one of the other teams practicing. He comes back and blurts out in great excitement:

"We've been doing it exactly backwards! In their boat, 12 people row and one person shouts!"



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