Su-sumimasen-ssudio for the invite snafu

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/06 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

The title of this post is an irreverent combination of a Japanese "mea culpa" type word meant to convey respect while asking for forgiveness with a truly awful Phil Collins song that is not IMNSHO terribly deserving of respect (though one that the sentiment of him asking for forgiveness for the song might have some appeal!)

It is a minor thing, but there are certain rules of etiquette about scheduling meetings at Microsoft -- with exceptions sprinkled with explanation as to the emergency requiring the exception and profuse apologies for the breach in protocol. :-)

Like they should never be too early (for the sake of the people who come in late and stay late).

Or too late (for the sake of the people who come in early and stay early).

Or they should not really be scheduled at lunchtime if no food is being provided.

And then there is the all important inter-team rules....

Like whichever side has the most people expected to attend the meeting should see that it is hosted in their building.

Never forgetting the important exception to that last rule -- is one team is asking the other to do work, then the team asking should always travel to the building of the one being asked. :-)

A common sense rule that one could easily take for granted people would never forget. I mean, it isn't like one can sign up the person being asked for massages or facials or lap dances. So it is just a nice gesture that will minimize the risk of the person being asked feeling grouchy about the travel to the meeting, to maximize the chances of not getting a no answer back for no substantive reason other than grouchiness....

I had a problem with someone failing to apply that last rule just the other day, and the meeting was in 84 (a building I had ever been) which made it a little worse, even!

Though ironically, the thing they were asking for was the very same work I had proposed doing not quite two years prior and had them turn down the offer since they thought they could find new owners instead. Fast forward to the present, without new owners but with some slightly embarrassed old owners who realized they were saying an implicit sumimasen here.

I forgave them mentally for the lapse of the meeting invite snafu, as I realized the best penance for them was that I would be writing this blog just a few days later! :-)


This blog brought to you by(U+3059, aka HIRAGANA LETTER SU)

John Cowan on 6 May 2008 9:36 AM:

Hmm.  We may be more distributed than You, so although California time is important, it isn't the only important time for Us.  I have turned down meetings because they were at 7:30 PM my time, though I think that was more oversight than anything else.  Our lunch, at least here in NYC, is from 11:30 to 2:30, so few if any meetings occupy all of it.

Videoconferencing between buildings as well as between sites is commonplace for Us, so your "inter-team" rules don't apply.  Although We attempt to keep teams down to one or two locations, We often don't (my own team, an extreme case, has four people in one location, four in another, and four more in four separate locations, some of them WFH).

And I suppose one of Us could sign someone else up for massage, which is cheap but not free, although I have not heard of this particular species of horse-trading, or bribery, or whatever you call it.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 May 2008 9:59 AM:

Hey John,

There is plenty of distributed meeting stuff with folks in Europe or East Asia (or SE Asia), and that is one other exception to the time thing -- being polite to people in a very different time zone, though even then the goal is to be nice to *someone* . :-)

But when everyone is local? Politeness is important, when you want something....

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