An Article Named ‘Poopy’

Training is hard. When I ask users to come up with demo content, a lot of the struggle coming up with something as simple as a headline for a news article.

That was not the case for one client.

In a drab, windowless conference room, inside a bigger, more drab, windowless room, somewhere outside Detroit, I led a training class for corporate communication training them on their new intranet. When prompted to enter a title for an article, I said “it can be anything.”

“Anything?” Replied the director of corporate communications.

“Anything” I replied.

“Well I’m going to call my news article ‘Poopy.’” She said.

I wasn’t sure if she was joking. “Sure, that can work.”

Sure enough, a minute later, there on the homepage on their new $175,000 intranet was an article titled Poopy with a picture of a duck. I believe it was a mallard.

I wasn’t sure what to make of a seasoned, communications professional and the fact she created a scatalogical article on the application she and her team would be managing. Did she not take this seriously? There are a lot of ways to have fun, but poopy is juvenile. Why not, “Pay Raises for All!” Or “Waffles Being Served in the Cafeteria Every Day” – both of which I’ve seen in other training exercises. The other corporate communication attendees had more professional demo content – probably because they would be the actual ones maintaining it.

The next day Microsoft showed up to do a well being check on the client and me. It was more to know how the application was built and that the client would be able to manage it going forward. I load the homepage for the two suits and there is Poopy, displayed like a mounted head, right there in the news rotator. I forgot it was there.

“Well, as you can see, we had a little fun in training yesterday” I said trying to make me seem more professional.

Microsoft didn’t care. When you’re worried about license counts, you don’t give a damn about demo content. And you certainly don’t care about the 26 year old training them, to make sure they’re using and testing the application appropriately.

Considering training happened a few months before the client ultimately went live, I often wonder how long Poopy lived.