A couple of years ago, I was leading a huge project.  We had an immense amount of work to do and a very short period of time to accomplish it.  My little team was forging new ground and executing highly detailed procedures on massive amounts of data…and the process could not be automated.

We scheduled a meeting for all the members of the larger group our team was a part of.  At that meeting, we trained everyone how to execute our procedure, gave them a huge chunk of work, and set them loose.  As the work products were turned in, we handed them off to another team for verification.

As the week marched on, our progress linearly converged on 100% completion.  It was such an incredible team win.

Shortly after that, the government instituted sequestration and, for the most part, travel stopped.  No more on-site meetings.  No more face-to-face work sessions.

Fortunately, most of us had cemented strong working relationships before the lock-down.  Of course, this happened as a result of our face-to-face meetings where we could interact with each other…have dinner together…solve hard problems and give the high fives when we won.

Winning over the phone isn’t nearly as exciting.  When people yell on the phone, everyone hangs up.  The comradery just isn’t the same.

In the years since, we’ve had some really hard problems to solve and have probably spent a LOT more time trying to solve them via email and teleconferences.  I am glad sequestration is saving the government money, but there are a lot of costs not reflected in those “savings.”