"Wow, look at this place!"
Tim O'Brien turned completely around as he came through the door of the Oak Room, where Ferguson and Bardell held its board meetings. His eyes wide, he said, "Look at that picture on the wall. It's bigger than my desk!"
"Talk about a big desk—take a look at that conference table," said Jane Clayton as she followed Tim into the room.
The rest of the RMS project team entered the room, with all but Dan Shelly and Bill Pardi doing their fair share of rubbernecking. Dan had already been working in the room for two days, getting things ready for the Monday morning team meeting. Bill had helped install the networking and communications equipment when the Oak Room was remodeled a few years earlier, so he was neither surprised nor intimidated by it.
"Alright, people, it's just a big board room. Let's move to this end of the conference table and get started." Dan was already beginning to feel the pressure of the project timeline, and he was anxious to get started. Over the weekend, he had laid out the project calendar, and its time limit had come into sharp focus. As the team moved to join him, he wondered if he had bitten off more than he and the team could chew.
"Where do you want us, Dan?" asked Marilou Moris, moving toward a chair beside Jane.
"Yes, do you have a seating plan or preference?" added Marta Wolfe-Hellene, debating whether to sit next to Bill, who seemed not to like her, or by Marilou, who usually talked only to Jane.
"I do have a seating plan, but it's only for one of you, and we'll get to that later. For now, just grab a spot near this end." He sat at the head of the table and motioned for the others to take a seat. Jane noticed all the diagrams on the walls and the easels with flip-charts spread around the room. She turned to Dan and said, "Boy, you've been busy as a beaver this weekend!" She waved a hand at the room and said, "What's all this about?"
Dan finished laying out some papers on the table in front of him before addressing the others. "Alright, folks. I'll explain. Last week, after our meeting, I went to Mike Adamley, our Chief Operations Officer, and explained to him what we are trying to do. I told him we needed a big space to work in. In short, that we needed a "war room." He gave us permission to use this room. It'll be our home for the next two months."
"We get to use the Oak Room for two months? Wow, we must be important!" said Tim, leaning back dangerously far in his chair, a smug smile on his face.
"Don't get a big head, Big Head," said Jane as she pretended to push his chair over. "We're not important; it's the work that's important."
"That's exactly right, Jane," said Dan. He flipped on the overhead projector and laid a transparency on it. "And it's time to get that important work moving. So, if everybody will turn to the agenda I sent you over the weekend, we'll get started." Sensing the edge in Dan's voice, the team quickly quieted down and opened their binders.
"Okay," Dan continued, "the first item on the agenda, as always, is Agenda Building. Does anyone have any changes they'd like to suggest?"
"I've got one," said Tim. Everyone looked at him with surprise. Tim admired Dan so much that it was unusual for him to question or add to anything Dan did. Even Dan seemed surprised. "Alright, Tim, that's what this is for. What do you want to change?"
Tim suddenly looked a little sheepish. "Well, some of you know that I'm usually on the run to make these meetings on time." There were grins of acknowledgement from the other team members. "I know we have coffee and juice when we meet, but I was hoping we could have something more substantial."
"Like, breakfast?" said Jane, laughing. "What do you want us to do, cater in a brunch for you?"
Tim blushed and said, "No, not like that. I'd just like something to nibble on. I was thinking of something like—well, doughnuts."
This brought hoots from the rest of the team. Tim's fondness for pastries was well known. Dan said, "And who, pray tell, do you think should provide these delicacies?"
Tim said, "Well, I thought we should take turns." Then, reaching into his backpack, he brought out a box full of doughnuts. "And I decided to take first turn." To his team members' delight, he placed the box on the table, and asked Dan, "Can I have one now?"
Dan just laughed and said, "Tim, I can always count on you to help me remember what is really important in this work." The edge was gone from his voice. "Alright, everyone grab a napkin off the credenza and get your doughnut."
Once the team had settled back down, happily munching on Tim's doughnuts, Dan said, "Normally, agenda changes have to be voted on, but I think Tim's addition is approved by acclamation. Good idea, Tim. We'll add munchies to the meetings from now on. Alright, let's move on."