Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Off-campus project meetings are hard work

Damn straight they are. Yesterday's project meeting at the University of Oslo - including the travel - was a cool 14 hours in total. All things considered, this wasn't bad at all - it needed to happen and good things came out of it. The travel part is what sucks, but I'll go to great lengths in order to be able to sleep at home rather than doing the dinner + hotel song and dance or worse - the lunch-to-lunch (including dinner) thing.

Despite all kinds of technological advances, face time is irreplaceable for project meetings - and that's not including the social/networking aspects. All of the available alternatives are hampered by severe drawbacks. Email and e-room type of exchanges are notoriously prone to misunderstandings. Moreover, some people have a tendency to up the aggro when communicating online, which does nothing for the working climate. Besides, everyone must be on the same page technology-wise - including preferred software - when doing the e-room thing. I've never witnessed or participated in a phone conference with more than three participants that wasn't a gigantic clusterf*ck. especially if there are some language issues. Video conferences are hampered by much of the same, in addition to file transfer issues depending on the transmission quality in some countries.

The airport thing gets really old really fast though. Yesterday, the Gods of Travel were angry. It started quite promising, my TRD-OSL flight boarded on time and the Captain informed us that the eta was expected to be well in advance of schedule due to excellent flight conditions. This turned out to be somewhat optimistic. A while after take-off, the very same Captain informed us that they had a warning light on. Not good. This particular warning light indicated that a hatch was not properly closed. Definitely not good - especially with the Air France thing still fresh in memory. Thus we had to return to TRD - at low altitude and airspeed - to get the matter resolved or to board a different aircraft. The kicker: Five more minutes of flight time and it'd be quicker to continue to OSL.


Don't get me wrong - I'm definitely happy that they care about the aerodynamic state of the aircraft. I'm all about that. I was somewhat less thrilled that once on the ground, they decided to refuel, rotate the tires, stock the fridge and get dead last in line on the runway. Oh well.

Once in flight yet again, the crew informed us that those with connecting flights should contact the ground crew at OSL, who'd be happy to help. Yeah; if it's anything Gardermoen is known for, it's the service and positive atmosphere that just oozes from that place. No bonus points for guessing that my return flight was canceled. However, it wasn't canceled before they pulled ye olde bait'n'switch operation of changing gate number and not announce the delay until it was time to board.

Still, the meeting went really well, and we've got some absolutely awesome results that we'll pitch to a really high-impact journal.


Anders said...

if it's anything Gardermoen is known for, it's the service and positive atmosphere that just oozes from that place.

And as a bonus, did you get your personal space violated at the security gate? You're correct, you can't bet the friendly atmosphere at Gardermoen...

Wilhelm said...

They're saving that one for next time.