Buzz kill

This network administrator pilot fish at a medical equipment company gets a new boss -- one who's all about buzzwords.

"Virtualization. VoIP. SANs. Switches," says fish. "But the boss really does not have a strong grasp on the concepts behind these things."

One buzzword the boss mentions is SharePoint services, so fish does a little research and finds out it can be had for free. Fish tells the boss he's going to put it on a spare PC to start learning it and to figure out how the company might use it.

But the boss dismisses that idea -- after all, buzzword-deficient fish doesn't even have his MCSE.

Several days later, fish gets an invitation from the boss for a meeting with a consultant about SharePoint.

Several days after that -- and 20 minutes before the SharePoint consultant meeting -- boss sticks his head into fish's office. "I have to leave early for an emergency, so you will have to man the SharePoint meeting alone," he tells fish. "I filled in the consultant on what we want, so take notes and let me know how it goes."

Fish collects the consultant at the front door and explains that the boss has told him to take notes on what the consultant is suggesting for the project.

"What?" consultant replies. "He told me you had a plan on what you were going to use it for!"

But the meeting isn't a total bust: By the time it's over, consultant has cleared up fish's misconceptions about SharePoint and they have put together a proof-of-concept for tracking equipment installations by the company's field service force.

The next day, fish fills in the boss. Five days later, fish sees boss and consultant in the conference room and wonders why -- but he's busy and doesn't give it much thought.

The day after that, fish gets an invitation to another SharePoint meeting. This time there's a different consultant on the list, along with many other people.

At the meeting, the boss announces that the company is implementing SharePoint and the boss has decided that tracking equipment installations will be the perfect first project.

No mention of fish or the original consultant -- it's all the boss's idea. Fish fumes as he listens to the buzzword-laden -- and misconception-filled -- presentation.

"After the meeting, boss comes into my office and tells me he hopes I agree this is a good way to try this out," fish says. "I tell him yeah, I think your plan is perfect.

"Needless to say, the plan crashes and burns. Boss tries to blame me, but everyone else heard him say it was his plan."

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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