But we just got him broken in!

This 20-years-at-the-same-company pilot fish's specialty is writing interface screens for customers, and he regularly works with a co-worker at another site whose specialty is designing reports for the screens fish designs.

"Because we have worked together for so long, each of us is often signed up for the other's projects and our manager bills our time against the project's account," says fish.

"A while back we were assigned to a project run by a newly hired project manager who was in our European offices. This project manager was extremely over-zealous. First he scheduled daily one-hour conference calls in the afternoon to discuss his project. Then he added daily one-hour conference calls each morning.

"Then the long emails started coming out where he gave his opinion on each aspect of the design and made suggestions for the screens and reports."

Finally fish and his co-worker have had enough. During the next conference call, while talking to the project manager they're also instant messaging with each other.

Fish's co-worker tells fish that each time the project manager says one of three specific expressions that he uses constantly, the co-worker will yell "Bingo!" And if the project manager uses one of three other cliches, fish will yell "Salute!"

Within minutes the project manager says "OK now..." and the co-worker yells "Bingo!"

There's a pause. The project manager says, "What?"

"Oh, nothing," the co-worker says.

"All right then, moving on--," the project manager says, and fish immediately yells "Salute!"

Again a pause. Project manager: "Ooooooo-K now..."

Co-worker: "Bingo!"

Project manager: "Have you two gone crackers?"

Fish and co-worker: "Salute!" "Bingo!"

Project manager: "OK, I’m ending the meeting!"

A few minutes later, fish hears his manager's phone ring. "They did what?" "You must be driving them crazy and they're just letting off steam. How many meetings a week are you calling?" "Isn't that a bit excessive?" "Are they meeting their deadline?" "Well then, you need to back off or I can guarantee you they will drive you nuts. If they don't meet their deadline then that’s my problem and I’ll deal with it."

Reports fish, "He hung up and looked at me and laughed, but oddly enough he never came over to discuss anything.

"Moments later, my Outlook calendar updated and the daily meetings were removed, a new weekly meeting was added to discuss the project. and life returned back to normalcy.

"We did meet our deadline and our project succeeded. But the project manager left for another company after the members of another team he was working with all simultaneously turned in requests for vacations after working with him for two weeks."

Never mind the buzzwords and cliches, Sharky wants true tales of IT life. Send yours to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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