Long-term Planning (alternative version)

It has not been a good week. Company profits are down, the project is three weeks late, team morale is low, customers are saying nasty stuff on their Twitter and Facebook. The latest performance review was 83,72,73,84. And the less said about yesterday’s WHS incident the better. But at least Project Manager Two’s crack team of procrastinators haven’t forgotten how to play a mean game of Spider Solitaire. They could win about 20% of the time sans 85,78,68,79 whereas Project Manager Two’s significant other would only win about 10% of the time – on a good day.

“Okay here’s the plan,” says Project Manager Two. “Tom will focus on exposing as many cards as possible.”

“What about building in-suit?” asks Tom.

“68,73,67,75 will alert you whenever it is possible to increase the number of in-suit builds. But he will only focus on reversible moves.”

“You mean things like Seven of Hearts onto the Eight of Hearts when the Seven is already on a different Eight?” asks 68,73,67,75.

“Correct,” replies Project Manager Two. “Remember the virtues of procrastination. Only build in-suit at the last min-”

“But if the move is reversible then procrastination doesn’t matter, right?” asks 68,73,67,75.

“Correct. Remember we are only aiming to win; the number of moves is irrelevant. In any case it looks like you’ve got the gist.”

“What is my task?” asks Harry.

“Your job is to look for opportunities to remove complete suits.”

“Does that mean I have nothing to do in the early rounds?”

“Not exactly. It is still possible to monitor the progress of individual suits even if all 13 cards haven’t appeared. For instance if we have a run of A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 of clubs after the first round then we expect a strong chance of completing the suit before round 3 say.”

“Let’s do this!” say Tom, 68,73,67,75 and Harry in unison.

game2_image1

“We are guaranteed to turn over 3 cards,” says Tom. “Which I believe is average.”

“We’re nowhere near completing a single suit,” says Harry.

Well DUH,” replies 68,73,67,75.

<several moves later>

game2_image2

“We have two empty columns,” says Tom.

“Alert – well sort of,” says 68,73,67,75. “We can shift the 5-6 in column Five to one of the three Sevens. Technically not reversible, but unlikely to cost. This allows us to align the K-Q of diamonds and K-Q of spades.”

“But can we procrastinate?” asks Project Manager Two.

“You’re right,” replies 68,73,67,75. “Even if only one empty column instead of two we can still align the K-Q of diamonds and spades. Therefore we have no need to do so immediately

“We don’t have any long runs in a single suit,” says Harry. “It will probably take a few rounds before we can remove any suits.”

“Let’s get some numbers,” says Project Manager 2.

“There are 25 cards unseen. We are guaranteed at least 4 turnovers before the next round,” says Tom.

“We have 8 builds in suit,” says 68,73,67,75. “It’s easy to get four more builds if we choose not to procrastinate, assuming we refuse to give up empty columns.”

Project Manager 2 checks his Gantt Chart. He is pleased with his team’s progress and instructs Tom, 68,73,67,75 and Harry to continue on with “business as usual”.

<several moves later>

game2_image3

Tom is about to shift the 8 of diamonds onto an empty column and build the 8-7 of hearts in-suit onto the J-0-9 when Harry suddenly calls out “Alert!”

“We have King through Six in spades in column 5, we can add the 5-4 column 4 at the expense of a hole. No Ace of Three unfortunately. The club suit is also coming along nicely with King through Seven in columns One and Four. We also have the 6 and 4-3-2”

Tom briefly considers shifting the K-Q-J of clubs onto an empty column to extend the spade suit to K through 4. Yuck. Maybe if it didn’t expose another Ace then he might consider it. J-0-9-8-7 of hearts it is.

<several moves later>

“Alert,” says 68,73,67,75. “Move the queen from column Nine to Six, then shift the other queen from Column 10 to Nine. Add the Jack-Ten-Nine from blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and at the end of all those complicated manouevres we have an extra in-suit build K-Q in hearts. And every one of these moves is reversible!”

“Well spotted,” says Tom. “How the 70,85,67,75 did you do that?”

“It’s the only part of the game I’m good at,” replies 68,73,67,75. “But remember we’re all part of a team. We all do our bit.”

“That’s why y’all bow to the master,” chuckles Project Manager Two.

“Alert,” says Harry. “Every card in the spade suit is now visible.”

It doesn’t take long for the crack team of procrastinators to organise a complete suit of spades and remove it from the tableau.

game2_image4

“I’m sorry,” says Tom. “I really need to go. I’ve already booked my tickets for a piano concert tonight.”

“You’re perfectly welcome to leave,” replies Project Manager 2. “With one suit removed and three empty columns, we are well on track to win this game. I’ve decided we will leave this game for today and complete it on Monday.”

Unfortunately, procrastination turned out to be a very poor decision. On the next week the Project Manager discovers to his horror that all the games on their PC’s have been disabled and they are no longer able to complete the game.

THE END

Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours burn any brighter

Just found this on LinkedIn today. Names have been withheld to protect the guilty. Short version is: (1) the Project Manager described in my previous short story ain’t the only person who plays Spider Solitaire at work (2) Not every person you see on LinkedIn is an Awesome Person

My impression is that O.M.G.S.I.72,65,87,84 thinks she is better than she really is, and she didn’t mention (or more probably doesn’t understand) the real reason she was released from her job. But of course I am not in a position to jump to conclusions. What I do know however is that she cannot even spell the name of the game correctly, and usually that is not a good sign.

I will let the reader study the image below and judge for zirself (*)

(*) Every man dog and millipede on the planet knows by now that ZE is valid in Scrabble, being the gender-neutral pronoun equivalent of he or she, but none of my Scrabble friends can work out why ZIR* (equivalent to HIS or HER) has not been added to the dictionary. But that is outside the scope of this post.

thisjustgotweird