Keeping employee morale up is a hard thing to do, so businesses do their best to keep spirits up. Maybe a company picnic, maybe you get to wear a Hawaiian shirt to work one day (thanks, soulless employer, I've always wanted to look like a total boob in a Hawaiian shirt), or perhaps a game of friendly competition.

Well, John Q. Public and his coworkers were offered a crossword puzzle. It's safe and has a fun factor somewhere between breathing and finding a penny on the ground. Essentially, it's the minimum amount of fun you can have before moving into the territory of not-fun. Plus, the company could fill it up with generic words like QUALITY, PROCESSIMPROVEMENT, and TRIAGE.

As an added bonus (for the company), this was an intranet application, so they could see exactly how much time their employees were spending dicking around on the crossword puzzle instead of, well, working. Maybe I'm being too cynical. It is fun, though, to think of people yelling "What's a three letter word that starts with 'B' and is something we're supposed to think outside of?" between cubicles.

Entries were collected by the Continuous Improvement department. The CI department called the entries "entry's," but hey, they're continuously improving! Who are we to criticize? Anyhow, the employees seemed to enjoy the fun little distraction of a crossword puzzle and were submitting entries throughout the company.

Everything seemed to be going well, so the CI team got started on rating the entries. There was a minor problem with the submitted entries, though...

From: ---------- Communications Office
To: AEM ----------
Subject: Please Resend Entry's to the ISO Crossword Puzzle Competition

A technical problem occurred with the ISO crossword puzzle competition, which was announced last friday in the ---------- Update. Those employees who completed the puzzle and forwarded it to the Continuous Improvement (CI) department via-email must resend their entry's (those received by CI were blank). To make sure all ---------- employees have an opportunity to submit an entry for the competition drawing, the deadline has been extended until Tuesday, March 20 at noon.

To submit an entry, complete the crossword puzzle and send it to CI through one of the following methods:
  • Print a hard copy of your completed form and send it through interoffice mail to the CI department, ----------
  • Make a screen print, and forward it to ISO through interoffice mail
  • Print a hard copy, and fax it to ISO (fax number- ----------)
A drawing will be conducted by CI on Tuesday at noon, and the first five entry's drawn that are 100 percent complete and accurate will each win an ISO goodie bag that contains 50 prizes. If you have questions, please contact one of the three CI consultants: ----------, ----------, or ----------.

If only there was some way to make sure the software worked before letting the employees have a go at it. Like, if there was some process to test software. Maybe it could be called "testing."