Too Many Hands in Too Many Pots

Here at my office we’re supposed to have different email distribution lists to send problems to depending on the nature of the problem. This is a good idea – in theory. In practice when you have an organization as small as ours (especially since the downsizing), several people end up on all the lists (even if they don’t need to be or shouldn’t be). Plus, there has been a lot of confusion about which lists gets used when because it can change from staff meeting to staff meeting. All frustrating not only for me, but for all who work here.

Example from today: An issue about a part of our website tied to our database went to the distribution list made up of ‘semi-higher ups’ and the ‘higher ups’ (which is just about everyone in the building). Anyway, bossman is now going to bring up the issue at our meetings tomorrow because apparently it went to the wrong list. But there are several issues I snark at about this:

  • From the nature of the issue and what has been told to staff in the past, it was not clear which list the issue should have gone to (personally, I think sender was pretty save using the list they used since everyone who needed to know about the issue was on that list)
  • Bossman seems to think the issue came up because he was not in the loop with what was done – well, yes he was he worked with the person who completed the project and it has even been presented to staff in a general staff meeting.
  • Instead of focusing on resolving the issue that was emailed, the focus is now on the fact that it was sent to the wrong distribution list
  • We don’t have it clearly documented anywhere which distribution list gets what issue, instead we seem to rely on staff remembering from staff meetings where this was discussed. Well, I remember practically everything and different things have been said at different meetings, so it depends on which meeting the particular staff member is remembering.
  • Since the fact this issue went to the “wrong” list and this is going to be brought up in a meeting, people will become discouraged and are more prone to not send issues to anyone. Things will fester and eventually the whole infrastructure collapses…

Perhaps the last bit was a little dramatic, but seriously, the issue of focus is not the issue we should be concentrating on… We need to simplify, document, and then proceed. When we have too many hands in too many pots there is room for too much interpretation and then the pot becomes a cesspool.



  1. Anonymous said,

    April 29, 2008 at 7:07 pm



  2. Storm said,

    April 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    I can almost hear the Looney Tunes theme song playing in the background.

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