The following is a real email from a decade ago, with only the names removed, from a mid-sized software development company that was very bureaucratic. As you can probably imagine after reading this, the company had a very old-school, throw it over the wall, development lifecycle - long release cycles, little interaction between developers and QA, and no coding until the design is "perfect". They even had a "no prototyping" policy - one of the engineering upper-ups said that a professional engineer should be experienced enough to know what they need to build the first time and it's not OK to throw away code. I'm not kidding! You can imagine how productive this environment was, and the resulting quality of the code.

If there's one reason to move to an agile lifecycle with a flexible work environment, just avoiding condescending, morale destroying emails like this is enough!

Enjoy.

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To: Development
Subject: Miscellaneous Items

There is standards that we need to follow for safety, cost and equity purposes. Unfortunately, I'm finding that I need to step in here and remind everyone of these standards and policys. These are not new standards. They have been in place for quite some time. So let me be the one to remind you of the following:

1) Chairs - Each associate is issued one task chair. These are the ones you are sitting in. A manager is issued one task chair and one side chair. A Director is issued one task chair and two side chairs. The conference rooms have been furnished with the appropriate amount of chairs depending on the size of the room. Teams areas have been issued appropriate chairs. That's it. Therefore, there will be no side chairs issued to an 8X8 cubicle. I know some of you have modified cubicles that would accommodate an additional chair, but this is not going to happen. Those that currently have an additional chair, will return them to me. Those that are requesting an additional chair can stop asking. Now then, if someone wants to write me a check for $26,950 from their own personal account, I would be more than happy to provide an additional chair for all cubicles. And no...you can not bring a chair from home either.

2) Coffepots, toasters, microwaves, refrigerators, etc are not to be used in the cubicles. Period, end of story.

3) Cubicle modifications - all modifications need to be approved by facilities. This is not your personal property and therefore is not yours to modify using nails, molley bolts, screws, saws, paint, etc.

4) Any of that old furniture that you became attached to (lamps, tables, bookcase, etc) is not approved for placement here. However, I'm told that you may be able to take it home (contact [name withheld] if interested).

If you have further questions or objections, please feel free to see me personally and I will help to explain.

[name withheld]
Vice President Software Development