In an earlier post, I mentioned that one of my mantras was “Guidelines, not rules.” I will admit to being inconsistent (or hypocritical enough) to make and try to rigidly enforce my own rules when it suits me, but sometimes rules can run amok.
Megan McArdle, in The law of rules, mentions a couple ideas. Note: I’m not attributing these to her, just cherry-picking some phrases — please read her post for context. Anyway, the idea is that being too reliant on detailed rules, primarily to cover one’s ass, often results in severe dysfunction. Also, attempts to solve problems with exponentially multiplying rules is ultimately foolish.
Her post reminded me of the hilarious Slaves to The Process [at The Daily WTF] from a few days ago which begins “At large, multinational companies, change is slow because of The Process. […] A change begets meetings, which beget approvals, which beget forms that have to be signed in triple-triplicate, which beget more meetings, and maybe after a month or two …”
But what happens when The Process is confronted with
Keyboard error or no keyboard present
Press F1 to continue, DEL to enter SETUP
Sadly, I have to say from stories I’ve heard, or experienced, that The Process is only an exaggeration of degree, not of kind.
image: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 079.jpg, Wikimedia Commons