BOFH: Smells like Teams spirit

The new Boss is overly keen on workplace collaboration tech

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 8 They say that what you don't know can't hurt you, yet our former Boss (the human one as opposed to the AI version) proved this was not the case by not knowing the PFY had bought a hand-operated tablet press and had combined some generic laxatives with his breath mints.

Let's just say it's unlikely heads of IT will get a seat in VIP loos again...

The NEW Boss, however, is a real go-getter! In his first five microseconds he'd created about 100 Teams chats in order to "get his feet under the desk." With an annoying attitude like that, it won't be long before his whole body ends up down there with them.

His whizzy new stand-up, sit-down, shake-it-all-about desk must have been handcrafted from the finest platinum if the price tag was anything to go by. Apparently the desk was his signing bonus as the Company is now trying to attract the "new wave" of IT professionals who embrace modern technologies.

Unlike the PFY and myself, who prefer more traditional items.

"I've fixed the Teams issue," the PFY says, putting his hammer back in the drawer.

A few minutes later, I >ping!< get a Teams message from the Boss's phone saying his keyboard appears to have imploded.

"Back in a sec," the PFY says, pulling the hammer out of his drawer again.

"Hang on," I say. "It may be better to finesse this situation."

"In what way?" he asks, unhappily returning his hammer to the standby position in his drawer.


"We need to use the power of Teams against him."


"Say he asks us what the MTBF of our servers is."

"Yes, he did that this morning."

"OK, so the moment you get the message you should reply that you'll get right on it. Then you ask maybe three questions to narrow down the detail."

"Do I ask them one at a time?" the PFY asks slyly.

"You do indeed. Then give him updates, you know like 'just looking at the mail subsystem now' then 'finished with the mail subsystem' then 'starting on the financials DB servers' then 'starting on the financials frontend servers' etc. etc. Then, when you're done, post another reply about how you actually used the AVERAGE time, not the MEAN time, and you'll have to start again. Tag two or three people who have nothing to do with this in on the chat, saying you'd like their user experience of this – 'because it's really about what the users' feel is happening.'"

"And what will you be doing?" the PFY asks.

"Well, I'm hoping you'll tag me in. I'll have a lot of useful insights. I could pen a 500-word Grandpa Simpson onions-in-the-belt story about the MTBF of VAX 11/780 power supplies. I'd commiserate on your AVERAGE/MEAN mistake and ramble on about a beancounter I knew who coined the term 'abnormal distribution' to describe the gravity failure rate of Vista machines."

"Ah," the PFY says, looking up from his monitor. "He's just asked the two of us what our office vision statement is."

"Oooh, leave that to me."

>tappity< >tap< >tap< >tappity<


"What does MITF mean?" the Boss asks, about ten minutes later when he's in Mission Control.

"Make It To Friday," I say.

"It's the abbreviated form of MITFWKS," the PFY says.


"Make It To Friday Without Killing Someone."

"Ha ha ha, very droll." the Boss laughs ...

... by himself.


The storm cloud of Teams messages does nothing to dampen our Boss's enthusiasm for the medium, though it is starting to irritate a stack of people who keep getting added to teams that have nothing to do with them.

I've taken some pointers from several online forum groups with ancient participants and started including the WHOLE previous conversation in each of my replies so the chat window size is growing exponentially. I also reply immediately to anyone's comments, guaranteeing that their message would take quite a bit of scrolling to get to – even if the message is "please stop adding me into this chat."

Still, the Boss thinks that things are going well – presumably comforted by the almost continual >ping!< sound. I start swapping mediums to reply to messages so that 50 percent of the conversation is on Teams, 25 percent is in email, 10 percent is text messages, 10 percent is on some other messaging system, and 5 percent is Post-it notes.

No one has a clue where any project is any more.

The Boss thinks this is just a lack of vision on our part and has organized small discussions between the key office participants and some people from a next-gen workforce collaboration consultancy.

"Are you sure you want to do this today?" the PFY asks as three fresh-faced grad types file into our meeting room to "enable" us to "take advantage of the promise of workforce collaboration using advanced team interaction technologies."

"Definitely!" the Boss says.

"OK, but I just need to warn you that the aircon isn't working in that room, so it might get a bit close in there."

"I have no problem with that," he says.

"Fair enough," I say. "Breath mint?"

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