I was standing in the hallway today at work today, waiting for a meeting room to open, when my gaze happened upon one of those posters you see so often that epitomize to me exactly why corporate environments have such dorky reputations. It included a photo, a logo, and a definition.
Here’s the definition as it was written:
“Technical Productivity” — Using resources effectively and efficiently to deliver innovative products and services to customers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Every organization should be interested in using their resources both effectively and efficiently, and that delivering innovative products and services to customers is the name of the game. These are good things. But that definition is pure white bread. It’s bland. Generic. But mostly it’s not technical productivity.
That definition, as written, would be better applied to project management.
Technical productivity would be better defined as something like: Using technology, science, math and logic effectively and efficiently to deliver innovative products and services to customers.
Of course, I don’t even really like my take on the definition, yet. I would need to think about it a little more. But it’s at least defensible as technical productivity.
When I see these things I just have to wonder. How does this kind of sloppy thinking happen? Is it a reflection of basic laziness or is it due to using the wrong people to come up with the definition? Where did the phrase come from? Who reviewed it? Who approved it? I’m inclined to think the the problem is that someone who runs projects wrote the statement. I assume, in this case, that the writer actually thinks he or she got it right, which would mean that the writer is not actually doing anything related to technical productivity. Just my hunch.
Of course, the rest of the “problem” is that these posters are generally tucked away on a wall someplace where pretty much no one sees them (like this one was), and that people who work in corporate offices anymore are so numb to the slate full of buzzwords that they don’t really even see them. Except, of course, they do. I mean, I have to assume I am mnot the only person in the world who sees these things and thinks “Did someone actually think about that definition?”
The writer in me just shudders.
What’s the problem with stating the thing in a way that is specific and true rather than in a generic way that is nothing but buzz phrases? Does it really have to be this way?