Shit you say in the enterprise

ImageAn email from a friend who works at Microsoft sent me back in time and got me started on #shityousayinenterprise last week.  Ray Wang asked me to convert it to a blog post, which sounded like a fun project. For each sentence you hear in the enterprise, I added a short explanation for the startup gang…

What do you mean you can’t build this feature? I am going to escalate it to your manager

Escalation is one of the most commonly used threats in the enterprise. A customer complains? Let’s escalate to the head of engineering. You can’t accept a task someone from Marketing asked you to finish? He will escalate it to your manager. Someone made a nasty comment? Let’s escalate to HR.  

Can we schedule a meeting to discuss the goals and agenda for the meeting next week?

Meetings to discuss meetings (meta meetings) are common in the enterprise. Sometimes you have a quick call to set a meeting to discuss the planning meeting for the offsite.

Can you please review and sign the code of conduct?

Code of conduct, sexual harassment rules, trading policies… you name it. In the enterprise you constantly sign policies that no one can remember or enforce.

I have an open slot to meet with you late next month.

I have back to back meetings tomorrow.

It is not uncommon in the enterprise to confuse meetings with work.

“Meet me in Everest at 2:00PM”

When creativity starts and ends in naming meeting rooms.

Let’s go through the Power Point deck

There is always a Power Point deck. It usually has many bullet points on it and some stupid graphics. It is often hard for enterprisers to imagine communicating without it.

This is the last warning! Your badge needs to be visible at all times!

Security in the enterprise has a mind of its own. They want everyone to be badged, tagged, RFIDed and VPNed at all times.

Does anyone know how to create an expense report with SAP?

Try to ask a 25 years old that grew up on iOS and video games to figure out the million sadistic little fields in the expense report system. Good luck.

They moved the planning offsite to the Sheraton this year. Was much better when it was at the Bellagio.

Executives call it “strategic planning” or “team building”. Their direct reports call it “free week in Vegas”.

You can find the KPIs on the intranet. No, it doesn’t work with Chrome.

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators. Don’t ask. The intranet was built in 2002 so it requieres IE6 to work — even for plain HTML documents.

We got 3 red traffic lights, 5 yellow and 6 green. Actually one of the yellows is kind of orange.

Like on the road, a common communication system in the enterprise is via traffic lights. Red means shit, we will never finish on time and with quality. Yellow means that with a little miracle we can finish on time and reasonable quality. Green means that not enough time has passed to know that we will not finish the project on time and with reasonable quality.

I was waiting on the bridge for 10 minutes and no one showed up

No, this is not an exchange between hikers setting up a meeting spot for a weekend walk. This is a disappointed employee that had to listen to 10 minutes of annoying music, waiting for a conference call to start.

Can you invoice me for the work you plan to do next month? I need to use Q1 budget or I lose it.

I don’t have an open headcount but I can hire you as a contractor.

Or, I don’t mind paying money for nothing, dear third party I hardly know, as long as I don’t let the people from my own company, who pay my salary and put bread on my table, to benefit from my team’s savings. Hiring someone as a contractor is another common way to deal with budget and hiring freezes which are another common axe-like tool in the enterprise.

I am the VP of strategy.

He used to be my manager two reorgs ago.

Who do you report to?

I report to the VP, that report to the EVP that reports directly to the CEO. I’m almost L3.

Organization changes are one of the key management tools in the enterprise. It leads to stupid roles like VP of Strategy, constant organization shuffles, and endless production of org charts.

Who is sending the minutes?

The experienced enterpriser will always want to send the meeting minutes. It really doesn’t matter what was decided in the meeting. All that counts is what the minutes are saying.

It will take us 4-6 weeks to get you on our vendor list

If we make it really hard to do business with us, we might have to spend less money.

Sorry but I can’t help you before I get an internal purchase requisition.

Most large companies have a sophisticated internal budgeting system. You want training to help you design a new class? Make sure you send them a purchase req (for way above market price…)

Opinions expressed by my Twitter account are mine and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Needs no explanation, I suppose…

Shit you say in the enterprise

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