Most people think that Their Way of doing things is the best way. After all, it works, it’s always worked, they’re good at it, and there’s no need to change it. The folks inside D.T.N.’s company feel the same way: the corporate office has Their Way of doing things (which is obviously superior) and D’s branch office has Their Way of doing things (which is also obviously superior). And being that the corporate office houses the CTO (as we learned in the case of The Fully Automated Manual System), Their Way always trumps the branch office and Their Way.

Fortunately, the corporate and branch offices are fairly separate and are allowed to enjoy a whole host of separate policies and procedures, from when Crazy Shirt Day is to which side toilet paper rolls are hung on. Both attendance taking and conference room scheduling fall into this category: both are mandated throughout the company, but how exactly it’s done is up to the Office Manager.

D.’s Branch Manager opted for a solution that employs technology. To solve the attendance taking problem, the resident programmer whipped together a very simple Visual Basic application that tied into the employee database and toggled the employee’s attendance status (In Office or Out of Office). He even added a text field that could display an “away message” indicating when employees would return. All in all, it took an afternoon to perfect.

The conference room scheduling was even easier: the resident networking admin just set up a public calendar for each conference room and allowed employees to book meetings through Outlook. It was very simple and very effective; the Branch Manager and all the branch’s employees were very pleased with Their Way.

A year or so later, D. needed to visit the corporate office and work onsite for a few weeks. In addition to being completely thrown off about when Crazy Shirt Day was, D. was a bit surprised to learn Their Way of implementing the attendance and conference room scheduling requirement.

The corporate office manager opted for a solution that employs Jeanine, the receptionist. Each and every morning, Jeanine takes role call. This involves walking around the entire office and checking with each employee to see (1) if they’re in for the day, and (2) if they need to use any of the conference rooms. When she finally gets done (usually around 11:00), Jeanine will email out a big long list of who’s in and what conference rooms are available.

After a few days of seeing the poor receptionist rush around each morning, D. stopped into the corporate office manager’s cubicle and offered to help setup a shared calendar and install the attendance program. “Oh yeah, we’ve heard about your little program,” the corporate Office Manager replied, “but we prefer our way.”

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