He gave each team a few Pizza Cards along with their assigned story cards. If a team completes all the regular Story Cards and the Pizza Cards, he promised to buy them pizza.
He had already implemented this new process with the teams out of state, then he told my local three-person team about it. We all just shook our heads. "Those people settled for pizza? That's ridiculous, not nearly enough incentive. We want more. We'll take lobster."
The project manager protested, "You don't get to pick your prize. If you complete the extra cards, I'll buy you pizza."
We ignored him though, labeling our extra cards as "Lobster Cards" and always referring to them by name. Any time we completed any extra work, we told him that he owed us more lobster.
He never gave us any lobster though, and when the iteration was over he bought the other teams pizza. Every team had completed its extra cards, but we told him we didn't want any pizza. We would hold out for lobster.
Eventually he told us that we could have pizza or nothing. I spent some time searching the internet for pizza with lobster on it, but I didn't have much success. Eventually we settled for ordering a pizza from Buddy's, a very good local pizza place. The pizza was tasty, even if it wasn't our specified prize.
Next the manager tried to assign "Breakfast Cards", with the intention of buying bagels or some such if the extra cards were completed. We still refused to call them anything but Lobster Cards though.
Then came the day that Freefall, one of our Business Analysts, assigned us a complex task. My team spent two days working on it, and finally got it working. It was only after she tested it that she admitted that her initial specifications were completely wrong. The task we had completed was almost the opposite of what she'd actually wanted. It hadn't sounded correct, so we had clarified it with her several times, but she still told us the wrong details. Two days of work, completely wasted. And we still had to complete the correct task.
"No problem," we told her. "We can do it like you actually wanted, despite the fact that you lied to us. But you owe us a lot of lobster."
Freefall lives in Cleveland, but she was scheduled to visit our location to do some user-training. We told her that she would need to bring the lobster with her when she came up, so it would stay nice and fresh. We have a calendar on the wall, and one of my teammates, Irish, carefully drew a little picture of a lobster on the day she was supposed to come.
The release date changed, so the day of Freefall's visit changed a few times as well. Each time the date changed, Irish would carefully erase the original lobster and draw in a new one on the new date. The final lobster drawing was on today's date.
We've all been cheerfully looking forward to Lobster Day. We pictured Freefall driving up I-75, her car full of live lobsters skittering around the back seat. "I hope she's rubber-banded their claws," I remarked. "Save up your appetite!"
Today when I arrived at work, Irish gestured to a plastic box sitting on the desk. "We've got pets," he told me. It had a story card leaning against it that read, Lobster, anyone? I looked inside to find two shells. "They're a bit small though. I don't know how they are going to feed all three of us...."
Upon closer inspection, only one shell had an occupant. It had a Hermit Crab in it! I frowned in puzzlement at it. "Perhaps it's an hors d'oeuvre?"
But really the box was a plastic crabitat, with sand and water, a larger shell for it to grow into, and some little crab snacks scattered about. My team debated whether to sign off on the Lobster Card or not. "It's not a lobster... but it is a crustacean... there is only one... but it's the closest thing to a lobster than any of the other BAs have given us... maybe we should demand two more... but he's kind of cute...."
Eventually we decided to accept the card as complete, and we thanked Freefall for her trouble. So now we have a pet hermit crab, and we need to figure out how to take care of him!
We've named him Lobster.