Break time: Enjoying Dilbert


Editor’s note: Dilbert is a copyrighted comic strip written by Scott Adams that shows the humorous side of working in the cubicle world.

I clipped Dilbert’s daily comic strip from my birthday in October and had it on my cubicle wall at work. In that strip (you can read it and come back), Dilbert is looking for approval on a new project, and the answer from the pointy-haired boss says “We agreed on a predecisional draft framework for making the decision”. When I showed this to a couple of friends at work, it caused a bit of discussion about how that type of language makes it’s way into those comics, and we pondered how we could use similar language in future meetings to liven up our own workcenter.

We came up with a postcomical draft framework for some other seventh-sigma-quality phraseology for use in the workplace, both ours and yours:

post pre-meeting discussion
version 2.0 of our predecisional draft framework
Static Predecisional Dashboard
Dynamic Predecisional Dashboard

Here are some examples of their use:

Have you ever had a pre-meeting to discuss something before the meeting? It was suggested that we plan (or not!) a post pre-meeting discussion to agree on the predecisional framework. Of course, this discussion being post (i.e. after) the pre-meeting would imply that it’s between the pre-meeting and the actual meeting. Here’s the beauty: this could happen before or after that meeting, or better yet before the main pre-meeting that finalizes some of the efforts you couldn’t resolve in the first pre-meeting and don’t want to waste time on in the actual meeting.

Version 2.0 of our predecisional draft framework would be one if the products of either the post pre-meeting discussion, from the final pre-meeting, or most likely from the MS Outlook tentative meeting attendance replies that include useful responses such as “already triple booked” and “how do I direct dial from Ecuador?”

The Static Predecisional Dashboard would be a graphic representation displayed on the monitor of your computer, a sheet of paper or an Etch-a-Sketch to show where management is in the process of approving your project. The Predecisional Status would always show “green” (since the draft framework is obviously in place). The Project Approval Status would show “in work” until project closure (when you wad up the dashboard page and burn it).  Finally, the Next Update would read “Waiting on post pre-meeting discussion approval of the next release candidate of version 2.0 of the draft framework”.

The Dynamic Predecisional Dashboard is on hold pending project approval. For regular updates, check the Static Predecisional Dashboard for the Dynamic Predecisional Dashboard Project that is hanging up over my bosses second (unplugged…shhh) 24-inch wide-screen monitor.

Scott, if you read this please feel free to use any of this in your comics. Beetle Bailey and Ziggy will need permission from the author…

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