Too many people were talking about too many things at the same time for any one to possibly understand what any one else was saying. But that was just an illusion, because many were either nodding their heads up and down in agreement or shaking their heads sideways to refute whatever they heard. A few others kept their heads remarkably still not betraying their allegiance for the time being, but their burrowed brows indicating high interest in whatever subject matter they were listening to. For an event named ‘Map Day’ there was little evidence of direction or co-ordination but there seemed to be a general movement everywhere.
The bright day light from outside the large conference room windows only played a supporting role for the arrays of compact fluorescent roof-fixtures that emanated just enough white light to illuminate all the legal notepads, multi-colored sticky notes and the ubiquitous Sprint Task Slip. It is necessary to note that the word ubiquitous applies to the Sprint Task Slip only inside this pale walled conference room because it very rarely surfaced in other places like highways, gas stations or the post office. It is also important to note that the word ubiquitous can be applied most aptly to the said Sprint Task Slip in other conference rooms elsewhere in the world as well where people who are generally regarded as professionals gather to do rather seemingly complex and utterly professional looking functions like ‘story points’, ‘breakouts’, ‘walk the wall’ and ‘park’. That last one may seem trivial and unoriginal but many in this particular conference room and similar rooms elsewhere were assured that it was a serious and/or a very professional thing to do, whatever that thing was.
When the day started no outsider could have predicted that the current chaos will be the product of all the orderliness that wafted throughout the room at that time. People (for brevity, assume people and professionals mean the same in this context) sat in their ergonomic-looking but ultimately uncomfortable chairs, effortlessly multi-tasking between drinking a cup of coffee, munching a muffin and typing on their computer. Everything that was orally ingested came from Jason’s Deli, a premier food services establishment well-known for its semi-secret war against human taste buds. People generally shun food from such vendors with an agenda as radical as war-on-human-taste-buds, mostly due to the all too pertinent fact that the war was waged inside their mouths. Current venue was an exception because the war was funded by the employer whose total staff included all the people in this particular conference room and it is an almost scientific fact that people abandon all moral convictions when countered with free food.
Oh, yes the orderliness. It was because of the following. A lady of no particular importance outside the current context, was presenting a Powerpoint side-show on the big projector screen occasionally remarking how the motion triggered flourescent light on the roof placed just in front of the projector screen was causing much glare and thereby obscuring whatever it was being slide-shown, resulting in too many seated people to break their multi-tasking and vocally state their objection to it. The lady expressed her own frustration about not being able to turn that damn light off and challenged someone to find a way to stop the glare. Soon people forgot about the glare. Then the man stood up and said that the light was ‘causing much glare‘ and it would be nice if someone could take care of it. Soon everyone forgot the glare and the man left the conference room.
As the minutes progressed, the lady turned into a man – not literally – who gave a demo of things that only a meager 7 people in the room were interested in. Only 3 of those people had the mental capacity to ask questions, and for some unfortunate reason, the same 3 people settled for answering each other’s questions. There were a lot more people in that room, far more than the 7 and they spent their time expressing visible signs of disappointment about the ongoing proceedings of this Map Day. Some chose to read emails and others opted for reading online news. A large number of people preferred yawning and tiny few refined their resumes. All of them were slouched in their soon-to-be-uncomfortable chair. The 10 AM sun had grown three hours older and now assumed the supporting role to the room’s own fluorescent lights to illuminate the room. Then the lady said, ‘Let’s start the breakouts’.
And that is when the chaos began.
[…to be continued]
[Post: 224 of 365] [Days Missed: 65]
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