Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You sure you want to send that?

Like most projects, and certainly projects of this size, with hundreds of contract attorneys, our primary source of shared project-related information is e-mail. The project managers send us e-mails to keep us up to date on what we are supposed to be working on, protocol for how to deal with documents, that sort of thing. Totally normal for a project like this.

On every large project, though, there are a few people who don't understand that e-mails that are sent to everyone, including e-mails that are sent to everyone and solicit replies, such as e-mails asking if you are willing to work Saturday despite the impending blizzard, are not asking you to reply to everyone who received the email. Alas, on every project, there are people who always hit "reply all."

This project, however, seems to be overrun with people who hit "reply all." I have no damn idea who "all" includes, but I am willing to bet that a fair number of people working for the law firms that we work for are on that list. With that in mind, do you really want to hit "reply all" inquiring about brownies brought in during the storm, as in "where dem brownies"? Should you hit reply all to an unrelated message to let folks know that a name on the attorney list is actually not an attorney at the client but is an attorney at an outside law firm when we were told that about this particular individual on Day One?

"Reply all" actually is a wonderful way to look stupid in front of the maximum number of people. Take the four or five people who responded to "reply all" to an email asking if they would be in on Saturday. They were, of course, supposed to reply to the sender only, who was attempting a head count for HR purposes only. For the five or six people who responded to that email via "reply all," I responded to them individually and thanked them for their dedication to the project and for sharing that dedication with everyone. Oddly enough, none of them thanked me for my gratitude.

Today, I guess, management got tired of that shit. We got an e-mail letting us know that "reply all" is not the preferred means of responding to a message sent to the entire project team. I'm guessing it won't make a damn bit of difference.

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