Archive for June, 2007

Meetings, Part 2

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Like I said before: don’t underestimate meetings.

Don’t underestimate the good they can do, and don’t underestimate the bad. Also, as I’ve learned over the past few weeks – don’t underestimate their ability to completely morph into something different than intended.  They are wild creature which behave on a logic that is entirely their own.  :)

I use Outlook at work for calendaring and email*. I make pretty solid use of the calendaring features of Outlook, so I send meeting invitations out to people when I know that I want to schedule time for us to meet. Now, when I think of “meetings”, I generally don’t have them in my mind as formal affairs. It’s purely a scheduling convenience – I know I can be forgetful, and I know many other developers to be the same. I want an easy way to get reminders and know where I might be spending my time on a given day.

For those formal affairs, like the dreaded Staff Meeting, they get separated as capital-M Meetings. Apparently, though, not everyone views scheduled meetings the same way – for many if it’s been scheduled (i.e., if it’s down on paper), it’s a formal affair. Something to note.

Why does this happen?

I think in this particular case, it’s purely because we’re a fairly disorganized house. Everyone kinda does their “own thing”, and rarely makes use of communication, documentation, or project management tools. It’s a sort of backlash response to an highly politicized and bureaucratic environment (government and academia can be like that).

So when something comes down the pipe making use of groupware we have available, I think the natural response from those that have hardened themselves in this wasteland of red tape is to label it as “official”. Which really translates as “Bureaucratic Meeting” – note the capital letters!

I don’t think my experience is unique.  The meme of the software IT group that combats red tape and bureaucracy has been around for as long as I can remember.  It is the dragon that cannot be slain by code alone.  But as a result, many of the people that have been in the trenches a long time become jaded and paranoid.  It would be wise for anyone in such a group to keep aware of such responses.

For me, I just gotta keep it in mind.  Now, when scheduling meetings, I

  1. Schedule the meeting as before (email, Outlook, etc).
  2. Fill in some details to flesh the idea out to all attending.
  3. Wait for responses.
  4. Completely ignore all original meeting planning in step 2.
  5. profi– er, Brace for impact. It’s not gonna go the way I planned. ;)


P.S. As an aside – the current disorganized state of our department is changing… slowly. I rail like a wild-eyed prophet from atop my soapbox, and every once in a while the managerial deities see fit to grant me some rain.   It’s just my job to make sure that I now properly irrigate my fields, so maybe they’ll give me a little more.  ;)

* Before you start throwing rotten fruit, it’s because we’re in a mostly-MS house working with aspiring Managers at a College of Business. Something like MS is almost a given for business functions in this sort of “enterprise” environment. :P (The Webserver and a lot of app development are Unix, though).

WPMU-LDAP Plugin, v.1.2.0

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Another release of the WPMU-LDAP plugin – v.1.2.0 (get it as a zip or a tarball or from the project’s SourceForge page).

You can, of course, check the release notes and change log, but as a quick run-down this is a feature release for the project to address issues relating to password management. Previously, all traditional WordPress password management was disabled, so that WPMU is not forced to cache LDAP passwords at all. Now, Site Admins (whose passwords still are managed by WPMU) have those traditional abilities, even when the LDAP plugin is enabled.

Generally, your Site Admins shouldn’t have to deal with it much, but it’s always nice to not have to hack into the database in order to change a password. :)

Hmm… I think that was more verbose than either the release notes or the change log. Heh.

Go ahead and submit tickets to the tracker if you find bugs, have feature requests or the like. The target audience is developers and site admins, so I think you people know the drill. ;)