Good Food Fakes Time January 13, 2011Posted by Mark Folse in Toulouse Street.
I was tasked recently to come up with resource hour estimates for a wide range of projects in the Supplicant-Left Offerings Group of Moloch (more affectionately known on good days as The Counting House). They are using a 170 hour work month as the basis of their analysis. There are on average 22 work days in a month, so that works out to 7.72273 hours of productive time a day.
The Project Management Institute standard last time I checked is 6.5 productive hours actually allocated to project work (as opposed to reporting to your boss, getting coffee, dealing with HR, going to the doctor, going to the bathroom, eating something), but it’s been a while. Where does this leave us? Dangling from the arm of a tower clock as it slowly ticks downward toward the vertical? At the least mandatory catheterization can’t be far off. In fact, a combination of intravenous feeding and catheterization could mean a tremendous bump in productivity. I think I may have to slip this in the Suggestion Box.
All this put me in mind of the seminal book of software engineering project management, The Mythical Man Month, written in the misty dawn of time (1975) when tube testers could still be found at your corner K&B and computers were really big and some had literally to be fed punch cards. The book offers useful information not only to the project manager but also to captains of industry in general. For example: nine women can not have a baby in one month. Thirty-five years later and much of the world of business has still not figured this out yet. Then again, based on the immutable laws of the stock market–profits must grow every year–they haven’t quite figured out the whole perpetual motion thing yet either. That’s probably why you see so many of those ball knocker toys on their desks. They’re still trying to figure that one out.
What is interesting about this book is that it starts out with a quote from a very old version of the menu of Antoine’s Restaurant (pirated here for your viewing pleasure) which is entirely in French. I’m not sure if the “f” in what should read “takes time” in the epigram translation is an egregious typo in the first edition, or an attempt to fool the digital rights police. If so, it works, because I found the entire book as a PDF.
Yes, it does. Take time. And fake time, wondering where those four hours at the table went. Perhaps if they left the empty wine bottles as a marker we could keep better track, given that the entire city here lives on (Insert Culturally Insensitive Reference Here) Standard Time. I like to think of it as Central River Time, and by that clock the 7.72273 hour productive day is, well: waiter, more wine please.
And for our mouth watering finale, a copy of the menu. Fortunately it’s too small to read really, so you won’t miss actually getting up to go have lunch somewhere other than your desk. I think I’ll have the Pigeonnaux sauce paradis, avec pommes de terre souflees et salade d’anchois. Someone recommend a wine. (Sorry. It’s been a long, tiresome day. You want ax-scents on that soufflees, baby, they extra).
If I have accomplished nothing else useful today, I have added catheterization to the Mozilla Firefox spill chucker. And I managed to send a work email at 5:33 pm, having sent my first at 6:28 am this morning, indicating that I am–even as I jotted notes toward this in Notepad during that interminably long phone meeting–a Dedicated Member of The Team and all sorts of other things that float around on my screen saver when I stop to eat my mundane lunch. At my desk.