Thursday, June 05, 2008

Method statements, Scopes of Work and all that.

Increasingly my job is about preparing documentation ahead of doing engineering jobs. I know it necessary to show that you've considered all the possible hazards and taken reasonable steps to stop people being injured. From a commercial perspective it's also important that you've codified exactly what you're going to deliver. This has become doubly important in recent years as most people working in television don't understand broadcast standards and good practise and so the implicit wisdom of a qualified workforce has disappeared. When I say 'finishing suite' or 'five camera LE studio' people no longer know what those terms cover (and don't cover).
There is now a whole layer of middle management concerned with this documentation and often take it to ridiculous extremes by rejecting things for being set in the wrong typeface or by listing tasks in room order rather than date order. They tend to be the same people who don't make decisions in meetings, preferring to put it off until the next meeting - after all, why work when you can have a meeting?! It's not good enough that someone has furnished them with the information, they want it exactly like last time (and often won't tell you ahead of time how that is!). It's clearly ridiculous when a Method Statement reached a sixth revision without any substantive changes to it's contents.

In the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the people of the planet Golgafrincham had the answer;

Golgafrincham is a red semi-desert planet that is home of the Great Circling Poets of Arium and a species of particularly inspiring lichen. Its people decided it was time to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population, and so concocted a story that their planet would shortly be destroyed in a great catastrophe. (It was apparently under threat from a "mutant star goat"). The useless third of the population (consisting of hairdressers, tired TV producers*, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, management consultants, telephone sanitizers and the like) were packed into the B-Ark, one of three giant Ark spaceships, and told that everyone else would follow shortly in the other two. The other two thirds of the population, of course, did not follow and "led full, rich and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone".

1 comment:

hks1966 said...

You never know what you have until it's gone.