Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Last Minute Antics

Steering Committee Meeting tomorrow. A gathering of fifteen client VIPs who want to see whether their hard-earned cash has bought them results, and who won't be shy to express their disappointment if they think it hasn't. It's the third such meeting on the case and the penultimate one before we go into implementation (if we do). So they will be expecting pretty solid progress. And nice slides. In the old days, the consultant drew up a more-or-less legible hand-written draft, and the team assistant was left to make a slide out of it. Officially we are still allowed to work in this way, but very few of the younger people do. By the time one's produced a draft that makes sense and has explained it to the assistant, one has pretty much designed the thing on Power Point oneself. So now the assistant's job is more about constructing an optically coherent presentation out of the various modules' contributions and making sure it all conforms to the company's guidelines.

Visual coherence is one thing, content-related consistency quite another. It's really not easy, in a big project with a variety of modules, to produce a tidy argument witout loose ends. We've had several meetings during which we tried to string it all together. Tomorrow it'll become clear whether we succeeded.

Of course we didn't get our stuff done in time for the staff in the print room, who go home at six, to do our photocopying. That means we're in for a few hours of xeroxing fun before bed. Actually that's not too bad. I've seen projects where panic-stricken associates were loading red-hot presentations straight from the printer into cabs that then raced straight to the client's headquarters. You thrive under pressure? Then this is your job.

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