Do you have a colleague who seems to be trying too hard to impress? Do you suspect that your boss doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Do you think your project manager is just full of crap?
Here’s a simple test anyone can use to determine if someone is full of crap – all you need is a pen and paper, 5-10 minutes, and a bucket of patience.
Step One: Write the following phrases on your paper and keep it with you when you meet your colleague.
Step Two: Hang out with your crap-ful colleague and engage him or her in a casual conversation about work. At some point, say something along the lines of the following:
“Some people think the best way to solve a problem is to follow a structured process that guides you through various activities that, if followed correctly, will enable you to solve nearly any problem. Other people believe problems are best solved by assembling a team of highly skilled professionals and setting them loose, without guidance or process. What do you think?”
Don’t worry. You don’t have to listen to the answer, at least not in the context of caring what their opinion is. It doesn’t really matter what they think – the only thing you care about is how many times they use special “I’m sooooo full of crap” keywords. Make a tick mark beside each word as your friend talks.
Step Three: Interrupt your friend somehow and add up the points as follows:
Step Four: Grade your friend based on the following schedule:
Step Five: Keep the results to yourself.
Now, before any of you accuse me of being a jerk, let me settle one thing – I don’t seriously believe in this test. It’s not really a good way to see if someone is full of crap. Sorry.
It’s not entirely a joke though either. I am sick of these words. IT people say them far too much, and it does make the speaker appear overly eager to impress. That said, I do advocate counting how often you say these words. Why? Because it makes you look like your full of crap, and whether you are or not you don’t want to create that impression.
I sat in a meeting recently with some non-IT folks. We had a heated discussion about important matters, and none of the non-IT folks said any of these words, not even once. I had to bite my tongue several times to stop from saying actually. I suggest you do the same. These words don’t mean anything, and they just make you look like a nerd trying to get a date with a cheerleader.