Powerpoint wtf?



  • I had to make a presentation on the use of a well-established technology that is new to company x. The managerial team was old, entrenched, and set in their ways. The sponsor of the new technology asked me to create a presentation explaining it's benefits, how it worked and what would be needed. This seemed reasonable, so I worked hard on coming up with about 10 slides that showed the high-level advantages of it, and how it worked, all suitable for any PHB. Then, it started.

    The sponsor decided that the other managers needed to be spoon-fed, and my nice, short presentation ballooned to 150-ish slides, most of which said the same thing, in different words, with different pictures, using the Powerpoint equivalent of hand-puppets, and so forth. My suggestion that 150 slides was inappropriate for any 5 presentations, let alone 1, was pooh-poohed.

    As part of the preparations, I showed it to one of the smarter entrenched managers, who at least had an open mind about technology, and he thought that I was repeating myself, and had me consolidate lots of slides. Eventually, it was reduced back to the original 10 slides. I was then publicly lambasted for being so verbose on something that could have been explained so easily. I happen to keep meticulous records, and print everything out, and just happened to have the original presentation, printed out, WITH DATE. I tossed it, and the written instructions (e-mails) telling me to make it more verbose for the ill-informed, on the table and laughed. The other managers were not amused at the sponsor's attitude. I just ducked and enjoyed the fireworks.



  • More of a "Management WTF", really.  Depending on the manager, those can be pretty common.



  • In one meeting, I stated that our goal was to make the Project Requirement Specification document so heavy that it would collapse under its own gravity, form a black hole, and destroy the earth. One person laughed. Two took me seriously.

    I actually put "gratuitous deforestation" on my timesheets that week. Nobody noticed.




  • @snoofle said:

    I had to make a presentation on the use of a well-established technology that is new to company x.



    IMHO, Powerpoint is the first tool that I would ban from my organization if I were CEO. That is a very big if though.



  • @themagni said:

    In one meeting, I stated that our goal was to make the Project Requirement Specification document so heavy that it would collapse under its own gravity, form a black hole, and destroy the earth. One person laughed. Two took me seriously.

    I actually put "gratuitous deforestation" on my timesheets that week. Nobody noticed.


    Hopefully, a spec is that large because it's very, very detailed and specific, unlike this powerpoint presentation, which owed its size to unimformative repetition.


    I'm currently working on a rather involved project for which the spec is 21 pages.  Suffice it to say, we've had to spend a lot of time in meetings with the client to flesh it out ever since.  Not something I'm going to let happen again.



  • @byte_lancer said:


    Powerpoint is the first tool that I would ban from my organization if I were CEO.


    Personally, I would start by banning Excel. I have never seen it used in an appropriate fashion, and find it difficult to imagine what might be appropriate uses for it. Inevitably it is either used as a complicated desktop calculator (okay, but don't ever save those files), or to create a complicated monstrosity that ends up as a critical component which nobody in the company can understand or maintain, since the author has left. Most companies I have seen would be greatly improved if people were forced to use something other than Excel. Even VB would be better - at least that pretends to be suitable for the task.



  • @asuffield said:

    @byte_lancer said:

    Powerpoint is the first tool that I would ban from my organization if I were CEO.


    Personally, I would start by banning Excel.

    I'll get in trouble for this, I just know it...

    Access. I have never seen anyone do anything in Access that wasn't a completely misguided piece of garbage. There is simply no application for it that isn't better served by a real programming language and a real database in the hands of a real programmer.

    The problem is that once you ban Powerpoint, Excel, and Access, people will start doing everything in Word and you won't actually have accomplished anything. I don't really think banning applications is the answer.

    I am tempted to say that the problem isn't using the wrong tool, it's not having the right tool, so you just need to get the right tool. However, this isn't really the problem either - we frequently HAVE the right tool, but people don't USE it. They actively prefer to use Excel.



  • @CDarklock said:

    @asuffield said:

    @byte_lancer said:

    Powerpoint is the first tool that I would ban from my organization if I were CEO.


    Personally, I would start by banning Excel.

    I'll get in trouble for this, I just know it...

    Access. I have never seen anyone do anything in Access that wasn't a completely misguided piece of garbage. There is simply no application for it that isn't better served by a real programming language and a real database in the hands of a real programmer.

    The problem is that once you ban Powerpoint, Excel, and Access, people will start doing everything in Word and you won't actually have accomplished anything.



    which brings us to the conclusion to just ban microsoft office, those with enough intelligence to get a different office suite will probably be better at using it.


  • @CDarklock said:

    The problem is that once you ban Powerpoint, Excel, and Access, people will start doing everything in Word and you won't actually have accomplished anything.



    Oh, don't worry, that's only where I'd start. Word macros are of course banned, on account of being gratuitous security holes and a bad idea on general principle. The goal is to remove from the office users anything that smells like a programming system. These people have no skills, training, or abilities that make them suitable to create such things, and giving them the tools to do it merely results in disaster and pain. If I were a CEO, I would ensure that unskilled people were not allowed to use anything more complicated than a push broom; I would definitely not let them create any more 'business management' systems. It's like taking a small child into a china shop: allowing them to hold a hammer is idiotic.



  • and star office is so much better...actually, no. it's a piece of shit.



  • Am I the only one who keeps getting requested screenshots in a Word document?



    From several different people. 



    Where did the notion come from that the best way to save a screenshot is to paste it into a word processor?







  • Where did the notion come from that the best way to save a screenshot is to paste it into a word processor?

    I think for a lot of people it's easier to paste an image into Word, because they don't have any image editing programs installed (beyond Paint).



  • @Thanny said:

    Am I the only one who keeps getting requested screenshots in a Word document?



    From several different people. 



    Where did the notion come from that the best way to save a screenshot is to paste it into a word processor?


    Ah, good, a chance to recount one of my favorite WTF stories.



    In my first week at a web development house, I waited several days
    before being given any kind of requirements.  At long last, I got
    some "requirements" for the pages I was supposed to make, in the form
    of screenshots of the old system.  No information on how they went
    together, what linked to what, or where any of the data would be coming
    from.



    And all sixty-one screenshots were individual Word files.



    In the next 45 minutes, I became very practiced in the sequence of keystrokes needed to:

    • open a Word document
    • select the sole picture in that document
    • copy to clipboard
    • Alt-Tab to IrfanView
    • Paste from clipboard and save as PNG
    • repeat above steps sixty more times



      Viewing the images became a lot easier when I was done, let me tell you.



      It's up to us to educate people who do this.  Most MS Office
      installations come with Microsoft Photo Editor, which can save as
      PNG.  And of course there's always Paint.  I didn't have the
      option of educating anyone, as the Word files I was given had been made
      years ago by someone who was long gone.


  • @VGR said:

    And all sixty-one screenshots were individual Word files.

    Ouch... definite WTF. I have a few document WTFs, but nothing like that. You win.

    Most MS Office installations come with Microsoft Photo Editor, which can save as PNG.  And of course there's always Paint.

    Paint also saves as PNG now. I use it all the time for screenshots, since it's guaranteed to be installed on every machine I use.



  • @byte_lancer said:

    IMHO, Powerpoint is the first tool that I would ban from my organization if I were CEO. That is a very big if though.


    If Powerpoint is good enough for Linus Torvalds, it is good enough for me. (I just finished reading "Just for fun.", the biography of Linus, where he mentions that he used Powerpoint for some some speech or other. I forget the details)



  • 'We had 12.9 gigabytes of PowerPoint slides on our network. And I thought, What a huge waste of corporate productivity. So we banned it. And we've had three unbelievable record-breaking fiscal quarters since we banned PowerPoint. Now, I would argue that every company in the world, if it would just ban PowerPoint, would see their earnings skyrocket. Employees would stand around going, "What do I do? Guess I've got to go to work."' -- Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems



  • Here, we never use Powerpoint. Just never comes up.

    We do well as a company.

    Coincidence?

    I THINK NOT.


    Also, while having someone email an image in Word is definitely the easiest solution, it's actually little easier than telling the person to open paint and save the image and mail it. You only have to tell 'em once, AND they'll be delighted to posess a new skill, AND this cheerfulness reflects onto you.

    BUT sadly I've seen corp systems where Paint wasn't installed.



  • @dhromed said:

    Here, we never use Powerpoint. Just never comes up.

    We do well as a company.

    Coincidence?

    I THINK NOT.


    Also, while having someone email an image in Word is definitely the easiest solution, it's actually little easier than telling the person to open paint and save the image and mail it. You only have to tell 'em once, AND they'll be delighted to posess a new skill, AND this cheerfulness reflects onto you.

    BUT sadly I've seen corp systems where Paint wasn't installed.


    sounds like a coincidence to me.  I bet there are plenty of companies that do well that use powerpoint.



  • How about graphing just any about any form of data? Financial, scientific, how the level in the water cooler varies, you name it. And speaking of charting, now there's a big WTF in OpenOffice.org: where the HECK is the "change source data" option!?



  • It's not about the tool, it's about how you use the tool.

    I've seen Powerpoint abused as much as anyone here, but I've also seen it used to great effect (unmodestly, often by myself). What other presentation-based easdy to use software is there out there that's even halfway common?

    Just teach people how to use it (proper info, useful layouts) and how not to use it (crappy effects, too much info/written copy of presentation) and you'll generally get better results than just banning the use of it altogether.

    Of course, this is assuming that there's venues suitable for presentations, people capable of making good presentations, and information worth presenting in the first place. Without those, any tool they use - powerpoint, latex, word, notepad or cmd.exe will give dire results.



  • @m0ffx said:

    How about graphing just any about any form of data? Financial, scientific, how the level in the water cooler varies, you name it. And speaking of charting, now there's a big WTF in OpenOffice.org: where the HECK is the "change source data" option!?

    I have looked a long time for that one as well. However it seems to be only missing in OOo 2.0. From the helpfile I understand it has to do with a new Chart function which can only change source data which are not from a Calc sheet or a Writer document or something.


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