Time for a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookiee win. - C-3PO

Classic line from Star Wars and one that I originally thought was an excellent solution to any impasse that one may end up in.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way back in April 1999.

During that time, I was an employee at Company X, as a Business Analyst for their IT infrastructure renewal project (a Y2K initiative). The organization chart had me reporting directly to the Project Manager (PM).

Now, this PM was one of those types who was fond of using business jargon gleaned from quarterly reports and countless trade shows. You know the type. One of his fondest phrases was time for a new strategy. It was always his catchphrase out of any situation. Budget cut? Time for a new strategy. Project scope redefined? Time for a new strategy.

I was participating in a weekly project team meeting when a debate started on whether we should have the network printers installed on each floor of our office buildings prior to the new desktops being rolled out. The logic behind this proposal from the PM was that it would ensure that printing, an essential staple of any business, would be readily available even if something were to go wrong with the applications.

For the next 2 hours, there was banter across the table from the various talking heads. For reasons that were not so apparent to me (mostly because I tuned out after the first 1/2 hour), the discussion gradually got heated between several of the IT managers from the Eastern offices and the PM, ostensibly around whether there should be one or two printers per floor, whether they should be colour, and who would be responsible for changing the toner cartridges. As it reached its peak, the PM raised his voice through the din and said...

Okay, everyone! Quiet! Time for a new strategy!

A hush drew over the crowd as they pondered on what the PM was asking for. Why would we need a new strategy?

After about 15 long seconds of unsettling silence, I piped up...

Let the Wookiee win?

Two days later, when the meeting minutes came out, I received a direct e-mail from the scribe telling me to pay special attention to item #3 on the document. It stated the following:

  • Printer pre-installation proposed by PM. Reviewed by team.
    Action Item: take to Project Steering Committee for further review and approval.

Nothing out of the ordinary at first glance until I was told to highlight the blank space underneath it...

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