The Shredded Mystery!

A young executive was leaving the office at 6 PM when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in her hand. “Listen,” said the CEO, “this is a very sensitive and important document and my secretary has left. Can you make this thing work?”

“Certainly, Madam” said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button.

“Excellent, excellent!” said the CEO as her paper disappeared inside the machine. “I just need one copy.”

Funny story. Sober takeaway. The CEO should have given clearer instruction. Alternatively, the young executive should have clarified before the action.

Relevance? The CEO in the above story is a “customer” metaphor. The young executive is an “IT professional” metaphor.

When customers give us projects, sometimes they don’t explain things as well as they should. Like this CEO, they assume that we know what they want. They are ignorant, not dumb. Many times, they are clueless on outsourcing itself—the culture, work flows, time zones, often even the faces!

We can’t control customer behavior. But what we can control is our approach. How? By clarifying the tiniest of project-related doubts. Sometimes, even at the cost of sounding incredibly stupid. It beats having to shred the project they trust us with!

Enquire, Adapted, Customer, Style


  1. Excellent blog Arun Sir ! This mystery should be reminded to ourselves every time when we communicate with the clients.
    All your blog post starting from year 2007 till date,one thing unique I found is you involve the audience really well.

  2. Very true. Love the blog

  3. Nicely written Arun sir. awesome blog as always. 🙂

  4. What science knows and what human does are still mistry. The decision of ones life and destiny could not be mathematically drawn. Fortunately we are not living in Matrix world and mistakes are part of learning.

  5. Good one….may be it was more relevant story few years ago. Today most of the companies world over have already been outsourcing their work (to Indian IT companies).

  6. Very relevant and apt story! May be this can be institutionalized by having new customer onboarding program before they actually start working with delivery!

  7. A very nice example of Requirements Gathering.

  8. Well presented! You are gifted with the habit of drawing lessons from practical situations. It’s an art that only a few can follow.

  9. Thanks for the post

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The Shredded Mystery! - Arun Nathani Blog