RFC-1: Humorous Issues in Managerial (aka Damagerial) Behavior

I realize that its been a long while that the mood on the blog has not changed. So here's lightening it.

Following is an RFC that my friend and I wrote regarding our managers back at our workplace earlier. It was lost in mails and came back to life only few weeks back when I found it incomplete in email archives and started building on it, exchanging mails again for the other chap to fill it up. The company's name has been asterisked out so that the managers remain unidentified. I don't want to end up jeopardizing any career that they may have. Anyway, I do hope that you enjoy reading it. As usual, anything that is unpleasant between a managed "entity" and his manager is for *mature audiences* only. So you'll kindly excuse yourself if you're unwilling to read some rare curse words or excuse me if you decide to read it. :) RFC is a technical term in the networking world, meaning Request For Comments and in simple layman terms, its some kind of a draft document, before becoming a proposal/ standard kind of thing. If you've read any RFC before, this will be more fun to read, since we've maintained the format and language so.



Network NotWorking Group: Ex-****** Working Group
Request for Comments: -1 A couple of LFMs (See section 1.1 below)

Obsoletes : Nothing Feb 2006, Aug 2008
Category : Informational

Humorous Issues in Managerial (aka Damagerial) Behavior

Index:
1.0 Status of this Memo
1.1 Terminology
2.0 Background
3.0 Introduction to the RP series
3.1 The WAP mobile "whitepaper" issue
3.2 The OOPs seminar issue
3.3 The multiple main functions issue
3.4 The coding-enthusiasm issue
3.5 The Shivaji issue
3.6 The "FO" issue
4.0 Introduction to the DL series
4.1 The "Chu****" issue
4.2 The tak-tak-tak and "hey" issue
4.3 The Unix coder issue
4.4 The what about... issue
4.5 The test and correction issue
4.6 The Project Proposal issue
4.7 The "whats he writing?" issue
4.8 The "Sheep" issue
5.0 Introduction to others
5.1 The "anything about anything" issue
5.2 The nap scenes issue
5.3 The "what happened?" issue
5.4 The cup issue
6.0 Reference
6.1 Appendix 1: Individual memories
6.2 Appendix 2: Lost WAP mobile whitepaper


1.0 Status of this Memo

This memo presents the results of an ex-working group on Managerial Behavior. This RFC is for your information and you are encouraged to comment (and even correct, extend, add) on the issues presented. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.1 Terminology

This document uses the following terms:
o "LFM"
The acronym LFM stands for "looking-for-more" and is used to refer to the engineers who worked at ******/*******

o "RP"
Refers to one of the managers who made this document possible.

o "DL"
Refers to another manager who made this document possible.

o "NCST"
The acronym NCST stands for "National Centre for Software Technology" in Bombay/Mumbai.

o PGDST
The acronym PGDST stands for "Post-Graduate Diploma in Software Technology" and refers to a program at NCST

o WAP
The acronym WAP stands for "Wireless Application Protocol"

o LDAP
The acronym LDAP stands for "Lightweight Directory Access Protocol"

2.0 Background
To owe it to all those who have actually been through the torture of working head-to-wall, er... shoulder-to-shoulder, with ******'s project managers of infinite wisdom, an ad-hoc working group was assembled to bring out a document that records as many humorous incidents that were witnessed during the tenure of association with the above-mentioned mahaanubhaavs/personalities. Okay, enough formalizing the thing, cutting to the chase, here goes...

3.0 Introduction to the RP series
The great RP, whom atleast one NCST's PGDST candidate must be cursing somewhere for eating away his seat and causing personal insult over the injured NCST image, was the first project damager of good ol' ******. He started unintentional sabotage with the LDAP client that was nearly in the test phase.

3.1 The WAP mobile "whitepaper" issue

RP did not have anything to do and he thought that he should focus on upcoming technologies, in hiding! During the time, one of the LFMs began jumping channels on the network and bingo, found trove in the form of a checked-in file (it may have well been on a shared folder on RP's machine; author's memory needs help, if available in this context). This file was a gem called "The WAP whitepaper" that started with a FAQ and ended so too! There were questions such as "Does ****** *sale* mobile phones?" with answers such as "No, we are into blah blah blah" and keywords such as "WAP mobile" that was equated to Batman's "bat mobile" by another LFM. Unfortunately, this document was lost over time and the only thing the authors remember is that the document was nowhere close to any whitepaper whatsoever and nor did it have anything to do with WAP. It has been concluded by the authors that any A4 paper out of a stationary shop would do more justice to the subject as a technical whitepaper than this one did!

3.2 The OOPs seminar issue
From suggestions, there started a phase when, based on drawn chits, people were chosen to conduct Friday evening seminars on topics of their choice. On a lucky day, RP spoke on OOPs to the benefit of all fun-loving people. There were other serious debates on blabbered nonsense, but nevertheless the speech continued to down-to-earth parallel of OOPs, targeted towards simpletons, perhaps. To recollection, this is how it went:

Quote
"Understanding OOPs is very simple. Whenever I think about OOPs I see *balls*... (everyone is shocked and control laughter almost hiding under the billiards/pool table, that was used as a meeting table, when not used for games or lunch! As if that sentence was not enough, the presenter continues...) big, big, balls, flying over in the air and interacting with each other... (no one possibly remembers anything after this)"
Unquote

A humble request to all is that this incident be kept in secret lest it might fall in Grady Booch's hands. The authors are gravely concerned of this document posing a risk to the extent of the father of OOPs commiting suicide, then!

3.3 The multiple main functions issue
Ah, the technical game. RP suddenly grew interested in the buzzword of ******: LDAP. The internal project then was in the test phase and he found a good opportunity to pick up domain knowledge to present some use to ****** and the LDAP client team. Against lot of objections, RP swam through to set up VC++ on his PC and began building the checked-in code for testing. In minutes, an LFM got a call ordering him to go over to RP's desk due to questionable, build-failing, check-ins! Again, in minutes, the problem was solved, with LFM muttering: RTFM (a readme file checked-in had specifically asked the case-by-case adding of test wrapper files, *individually* before building). Our man was building with all test files, each with its own main function, *together*! There were, in essence, many main functions in the damager's workspace, failing the build.

3.4 The coding-enthusiasm issue
In a similar fervor as above, RP once dared into the LFMs' area, during the peak of coding phase. He announced in long-withheld enthusiasm so:

Quote
RP: Achha hai tum log coding karte ho. Main, chahte hue bhi, coding nahi kar sakta!

LFM: Kyun? Apko kisne roka hai? Karo code.

RP: Ha! (laughing) Main coding karunga toh program management kaun karega?

LFM: Aise hi karna hai na? Main kar lunga na!
Unquote

RP returned to his basement cage, subdued, not to return many times again.


3.5 The Shivaji issue
RP and DL, more often than not, used to share a rickshaw on Friday afternoons to start early weekends. One such Fri, an LFM spotted RP stranded alone on the bus stop and here's the scene:

Quote
LFM: RP, DL kuthe ahe? (ek-vachan)

RP: DL kuthe *ahe* nahi, DL kuthe *ahet*? (bahu-vachan)

LFM: Kyun? Woh kya Shivaji hai kya? Uska chhod, tu Shivaji hai kya?
Unquote

3.6 The "FO" issue
One of the recurring fights between an LFM and RP amounted to this. The topic of discussion was whether or not someone who was new to LDAP be allowed to test LDAP client. The discussion shuffled to literal translations leading to filmi dialogues such as "tu apne maa ke paet se toh LDAP sikhkar nahi aya tha na? and "No, RP, anyone can test it, but you can't". Finally, the fight ended when the LFM lost his temper and yelled out in the basement "FO". It remained a much-admired scene for many!

4.0 Introduction to the DL series

4.1 The "Chu****" issue
There was a time when DL went to the ****** basement among many engineers, including a couple of girls. Trying to be his normal self, DL used the oft used Hindi word Chu**** during office hours in an official chat. Everyone was stunned, of course. One LFM took the matter seriously and reported it to the technical director. The director was all ears till he heard DL's name pop up and the usage; his reaction was "Oh! DL? He said that?" He smiled and a little later he laughed. Thats that.

4.2 The tak-tak-tak and "heyyyyy" issue
Usually, project meetings with DL were an utter waste of time. Over time, LFMs learned that the project is not at all technical. Once, DL was serious about how everyone must take down notes about the project progress and what they did at work. DL was often expressive.

This time around, he said "Take down points, it will help you. Some day you'll look at it (pointing the index finger):
tak (finger moving to next point)
tak (finger moving to next point)
tak (finger moving to next point) and
heyyyyy (finger theatrically pointing at an LFM) !"

Many of us didn't know what he was saying, it was just another day, meeting or no meeting of course. However, we realized later he meant "go through the points and you'll know where you went wrong".


4.3 The Unix coder issue
DL seemed frustrated one fine day and decided to vent it out. Perhaps it was the day when the directors voiced out in one way or the other
to DL how big a mistake it was that they hired him. To vent it out, he found a project member and went on about what all he has worked on. The LFM listening had no clue as to whats happening. Then DL said what he shouldn't have; he said that he has coded a lot of Unix stuff, and to the authors' recall he mentioned the Linux kernel! "No," the LFM thought, "not the Linux kernel please". Its quite possible that DL didn't know that the ongoing project was very much on Linux. But DL may have sensed it from LFM's looks, because he immediately backed out by saying that its been long though.

4.4 The what about... issue
Amid a lot of things going on in the project, DL made his sudden appearance and while blabbering other nonsense on project status, he suddenly uttered "And what about yours, LFM?" The LFM who was spoken to and other LFMs took a good while to understand the intended meaning, but they just couldn't stop laughing later. The poor LFM who was asked the difficult question answered as follows:

"Mine is in CVS".

4.5 The test and correction issue
During the alpha and beta phases, the project was short of hands. All the LFMs who had any time on hands were to be made available to this project. DL wanted it happen and his way of putting other people in the project was to put them to test jobs. To explain that new additions to the team should test the code to speed up bug fixing, he managed to put it in some golden words so: "LFM test and (pointing to another LFM) he correct"

The LFMs who were present did not understand at first and were wondering who was correct and who was wrong. It was finally understood after a lot of discussion that what he meant was that one LFM would test the code and another LFM would fix any bugs that were found. "He correct" became a legendary and frequently used phrase in ****** after that.

4.6 The Project Proposal issue
DL was once given a job of doing something that his designation involved, making a project proposal (PP)! DL knew he was not really capable to come up with a quotation and things like that. Somehow he had made the initial draft and having made it, he called an LFM to have a look-see. Actually, the LFM had nothing to do with the project and wasn't even to know of the proposal! DL insisted for the LFM to verify and suggest changes in the PP. It had details including no. of engineers, the rates, etc, among technical things. Finally, the LFM had to say it upfront that he'd only look at technical things in the PP and will have nothing to do with the commercial aspect!

4.7 The "whats he writing?" issue
In one of the project meetings, one LFM was writing a lot of notes while DL was talking. Another LFM had no clue of what is so important to write down in DL's bulls***ing. Of course, DL was happy that someone's making note of his nonsense. After the meeting the LFM explained that he wasn't taking meeting notes but he'd found a good way to kill time during the DL meetings. And that was by noting the funny phrases from DL's talk so that someday it can make it to a book called "DL's English".

4.8 The "Sheep" issue
DL called one of the LFMs for his performance evaluation and was showing him the word document on the screen. The LFM was going through the document and noticed the word "sheep" in the middle of the document. The LFM was in absolute shock. Yes, IT was going through difficult times after the dot com bust but "sheep" ? After re-checking, the sentence was found to be "He will take complete OWNER SHEEP". The most amazing part is that this document was run through the word spelling and grammar check by DL. Word did not find any errors in this sentence. The authors checked and found that Microsoft Office Word 2003 SP3 also finds this sentence to be correct. DL not only made grammatical mistakes but made it in such a fashion that the tools to check and correct mistakes could not catch them !!


5.0 Introduction to others
****** had its share of funny engineers, clients and visitors. The engineers were funny by habit, caring not much of how they present themselves at times. The clients were a tough bunch, because there weren't many yet. The ones who had telecons with members from US had to witness DL not understanding much of what they are saying. Even in client mails, DL couldn't understand much and had LFMs explain the meaning to him in response to DL's common question following the client's mail:

Hyala ithe kay mhanaychay? (what is he trying to say here?)

****** had a wonderful visitor who made up for all those who didn't visit ******, which can be seen in the immediately following 5.1!


5.1 The "anything about anything" issue
Once ****** had a visitor from a high-profile client at Bangalore. The technical director knew that the team was facing some issues understanding some technical things in the client's product. Obviously, he suggested that the team should get all blocks cleared from this expert, the chap who was a well-placed manager at the client's side. So the team went on asking him a few questions that he had no answers for. But to everyone's shock, the visitor explained his issue instead. He said "You can ask me questions, but I don't know anything about anything". The LFMs didn't know what to say, but the technical director did; he said "Oh!" and then went on to perhaps think "I know the kind. We have two such people, DL and RP".

5.2 The nap scenes issue
There was an engineer at ****** who was used to taking it easy when he liked. He had clear ideas on the matter of sleep: when sleepy, sleep. Forget work, answer no phones either. So the fella was taking his usual afternoon nap, when his extension rang. Obviously, he didn't pick it up, but another LFM did. It was the tech. director who wanted the sleeping beauty in his cabin. The sleeping engineer was conveyed the same and in his sleep he replied something to the effect of "okay". After a while, the tech. director was on the ground floor (from the basement cabin) and he casually visited the area to see the hectic work that must have kept the engineer from going for the meeting. He looked at the latter sleeping and in order to not wake him up, just slipped away silently!

5.3 The "what happened?" issue
When we talk about managers in this document we do not only mean ??Technical Managers?? but also other types of managers. There was a very aggressive HR manager who was dreaded by the people working under him. A couple of LFMs were eye witnesses to the scene described below.

An HR executive was working on something when the manager came up to her and hollered "What Happened ?". The poor thing jumped up in fright and dropped some papers in shock. She took around 5 seconds to recover and then understood the context and provided the response to the manager.

5.4 The "cup" issue
One of the vice presidents at ****** used to be quite absent-minded and did not realize what he did sometimes. An LFM was a witness to this incident. The LFM was in the urinal taking a leak and in came the VP with a tea cup in his hand. He did not realize that he had a tea cup in his hand until he reached the commode. He then looked around for a place to put the tea cup and finding none, went ahead and took a leak with the tea cup still in his hand.


6.0 Reference
The LFMs at ****** are the sole reference for this happening and to some, the technical director himself may be a good person to go back to.

6.1 Appendix 1: Individual memories
(TBD, if and when they are available. May be added to sections 3, 4 or 5 also depending on the context. Please remember to add/ update version numbers and date to this)

6.2 Appendix 2: Lost WAP mobile whitepaper
(If someone has a copy of it, it may kindly be copy-pasted here, Please remember to add/ update version numbers and date to this)

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