At key junctures in our projects my boss will gather our team together and ask if we can “touch magic rings.” Can all of us agree to sign off on the work we’ve done so far? It’s one of his endearing phrases that has made difficult large scale undertakings, and even project management itself, well, manageable. Bringing order to what was once chaos is hard work. A lighthearted approach (sparking childhood memories of secret clubs and swashbuckling adventures) takes the edge off arduous tasks. One for all and all for one.
Not surprisingly, the rest of us have found that “touching magic rings” has begun to enter our everyday lexicon. “Bob, have you had a chance to look over that PMP? I need to get it over to OMB with a cc to OHR asap. Can we touch magic rings on that?” Rather than rings, Bob and I gently touch knuckles in manly contemporary acknowledgement. I laugh whenever I hear myself say these words. My coworkers nod in acknowledgement. My wife thinks I’m nuts.
But now it seems we really can touch magic rings! Alison Lewis is working on jewelry that will allow people to communicate with each other whenever they are thinking of them (thanks to kottke.org for the pointer). Stroke the top of your ring and it sends a signal via a wireless network to your partner’s band causing it to gently heat up –any where in the world! A cozy reminder you’re thinking of them.
This would be a perfect solution for our IT Department. Sure, this is only a prototype and, yes, the use case scenarios only include pre-teen girls and love-struck couples. But I would like to propose a more organizational scenario.
Touching these magic rings could be a highly effective team building and project management tool for the new millennium. The possibilities are endless and may require its own PMP (that’s Project Management Plan to those uninitiated).
When we wake up in the middle of the night tossing and turning over the project from hell we can touch our magic ring and connect with everyone else who’s tossing and turning for similar reasons. The middle of the night is so lonely, especially when your mind has decided that your deadline is more important than your zzzz’s. And the on-off switch makes it easy for those mutants who can totally separate their work and home lives to sleep through it all.
When it comes to project management, it’s the thought that counts. And what a pleasant way to connect with others in that sinking ship. Touching magic rings could reduce workplace violence by two thirds within the next decade. Camaraderie is the foundation of good team spirit. Strong organizational relationships cement success stories and foster organizational bliss. Magic rings will be an essential tool in this process. I guarantee it.
But before the prototype is put into production I’d like to submit a change order (translated: I have a suggestion for an added feature). Why limit ourselves to just a warm fuzzy sensation at the touch of our rings? Why not include a taser to help prod, I mean, persuade our fellow workers with that added little touch. Project management can bring sanity to disarray.
I cannot take full credit for this feature. In the very first season of the Simpsons the family was faced with total disintegration (true, this would not be the last time they reached this precipice). On the fourth episode, “There’s No Disgrace Like Home,” family therapist, Dr. Marvin Monroe, had to resort to unorthodox and shocking methods to bring the family back together.
Monroe: Everyone comfy? Hmmph, good. Now don’t touch any of those buttons in front of you for a very important reason. I.e., You are wired in to the rest of your family. You have the ability to shock them, and they have the ability to shock—(*buzzzzzz*)
Bart: Just testing.
Homer is about to press a button, but Monroe holds his arm back.
Monroe: This is what’s known as aversion therapy. When someone hurts you emotionally, you will hurt them physically, and gradually you will learn not to hurt each other at all! And won’t that be wonderful Homer?
Sometimes it’s necessary to take creative methods to bring that project in on time. Workplace bliss and cooperation are key. And these magic rings may just be our path to nirvana.
Maybe we can get a volume discount!