Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Meeting is Almost Unnecessary

A few of you have noticed (and I guess that is a good thing) that I haven’t posted a blog entry recently. I just returned from a few continuous weeks of vacation. I try to lump my time off together to really decompress from the normal business cycles. Right before vacation, I’m not fun to be around.

It’s pretty easy to tell when I’m nearing my self-imposed banishment from architecture governance as I get this kind of pre-vacation glow about me. Bread goes stale faster, sunscreen loses its effectiveness, and paper appears to spontaneously combust. I’m not fun to be around.

Vacation planning for me starts with a reading list, a few household projects calling my name, and the mad dash to get all of my work assigned to the poor suckers that are doomed to work with me.

Did I mention I’m not fun to be around?

While the preparation for the vacation is vitally important, it does not in and of itself provide the relaxation, serenity, or home improvement that results from actually not coming in to the office. In that regard, vacations are not like an Architecture Review Board meeting.

Over the course of ten years, I have found that preparing for an ARB is often more valuable than the meeting itself. The effort and work products required to engage in a meaningful architecture conversation often resolves long standing issues, or brings the very clarity of direction sought in ARB meetings.

This is not an accident. The ARB purposefully establishes a number of required artifacts for the express purpose of ending ambiguity and establishing a practical, positive path forward. You simply cannot achieve that in a one-hour meeting.

Again, I have just returned from a multi-week vacation and feel great. You may find me whistling in the hallways, wearing a quickly fading tan, and hear me discussing my two newly painted bedrooms with far more glee than is tolerable.

I am looking forward the ARB’s this summer with renewed vigor and excitement. I may actually be fun to be around.

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