back to article GDS shouting matches so severe team takes to talking by hand signals

Communication has now become so difficult at meetings of the UK Government Digital Service's (GDS) Platform-as-a-Service team, they've been forced to implement hand signals to prevent the "less dominant or newer members of the group" from being shouted down. In a blog post today by Dan Carley, GDS explained how it has …

  1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    After reading this I started making hand signals too

    Get an effing chairman and take control of the meeting. Utterly pathetic.

    1. Suburban Inmate

      Re: After reading this I started making hand signals too

      Chairmanperson? I think shock collars would be more economical.

  2. dgc03052

    The Vulture..

    Nice hat and scarf in the background, too.

  3. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I'd like to use a hand signal to pass on to GDS our appreciation of how little they are doing with £450,000,000 of our tax monies ------------------------------------------>

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It might seem a bit silly on the surface but it's a solution to a real problem. We've all been in meetings where we wanted to speak up, or wanted someone else to, but they've been dominated by an individual.

    And if you haven't, maybe it's you...

    1. Tim 11

      I can certainly see the value in this - it allows everyone to quickly express their opinions at the same time without interrupting the flow of the conversation. Based on my experience, even with only 4 or 5 people in the meeting it's quite possible for 2 to dominate (usually I'm one of them) leaving the others struggling to get a word in edgeways. hand signals would also help to subtlely shame those people who are dominating and get them to yield for a bit

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it's a solution to a real problem.

      I doubt that it is a solution, but then - I don't really understand the problem.

      If I have something to say, I say it.

      If I don't, I keep my mouth shut.

      If I don't see any point in being there, I leave.

      Then again, I've never worked for the government - maybe those just aren't options.

    3. Kane Silver badge

      "And if you haven't, maybe it's you..."

      Reminds me of an old saying - "If you walk into a room and can't spot the arsehole, that's because it's you."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IIRC "The Mythical Man-Month" (1975) laid down the principle that any meeting should only have a limited number of participants. The more people round the table - the longer the meeting takes.

    It always amazed me how many established IT managers saw the book as a revelation when they were encouraged to read it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The more people round the table - the longer the meeting takes.

      I would extend that to projects.

      The more people you put on a project, the less that gets done and the longer it takes not do it.

    2. anonymousI

      Limiting the number of people at meetings worked a treat circa 1975.

      It would work well now, but has been made unworkable by the need to show "inclusiveness" bringing in everyone and their associates - all of whom feel they must be seen contributing.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    If you need hand signals in a meeting it should be a big hint that you're doing it wrong. GDS - 'nuff said.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This needs streamlining...

      Ten fingers to express "Don't agree" is a waste.

      One, if chosen and presented appropriately, will be vastly sufficient (and clearer).

      Also, "point of order" violates feminist copyrights.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This needs streamlining...

        "One, if chosen and presented appropriately, will be vastly sufficient (and clearer)."

        Ahh, but which one. There are 10 to choose from you know.

        Oh! That one you're waving in my face?

        Yes, that'll work.

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: This needs streamlining...

        Not getting the feminist jibe, although clearly you never pass up an opportunity. Or is 'point' always uber-meaningful to chaps?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This needs streamlining...

          "Not getting the feminist jibe, although clearly you never pass up an opportunity. Or is 'point' always uber-meaningful to chaps?"

          No jibe, no chapism, and the "point" is just the point of the original "point of order" (you think too über-chapoidly).

          Copyright violation because this. Just quoting, thus.


  7. earl grey Silver badge

    you owe me a keyboard

    the GDS one made me snort (something) all over...

  8. Stevie Silver badge


    "We’ve all been in group situations where the discussion is dominated by the most confident or the loudest people in the room,"


    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Not if there is a decent Chair who knows how to control a room.

  9. energystar

    First: That little flying Bro in the background, needs a flying space. Thanks a lot for thinking about his temp. That poor Savannah immigrant. Make sure Britain Visa is in order. [And don't force on Him the Language of the Empire].

    Second: Body language has been the Standard of Excellency, Years millions. Face gestures as language a very local, Caucasian singularity.

    So, if not wanting to interrupt, dance along. With your hands only, if seated round King Artur's Table.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Ahh. You're being inscrutable.

      Obviously a Chinese Agent Provocateur.

  10. energystar
    Paris Hilton

    Last, [but not least]...

    The GDS hand signal?:

    Looks like a job's job. Pay the girl decently.

  11. x 7

    simple snswer

    sack whoever calls the meetings: they obviously have nothing better to do

    bunch of useless lazy twats

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The military have a whole range of hand signals that could be useful.

  13. Bucky 2

    What's the hand signal for "The guy going to the pub is a hot dish"?

    Or does that create an unpleasant work environment?

  14. david 12 Bronze badge

    We used hand signals for that purpose at home, at the dinner table (without a chairman).

    I have worked with a really competent chairman, who didn't need specially documented hand signals to observe what each person thought about a proposal.

    The same is true for a truly competent lecturer, but we used to softly hiss if the content was too fast or uninteligable. If the back half of the lecture theatre is hissing loud enough so that you can hear it, you're doing something wrong. Traditionally/historically, German university students used to drum their feet on the floor to indicate approval.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GDS have killer skills!

    My experience of GDS was an architecture astronaut who when asked to design a data sciences platform for a small closed userbase delivered a javascript-powered web platform designed for large users.

    When questioned, he made much of his knowledge of hidden Sikh martial arts "which actually kill!, not pretending!".

    He was certainly terminally boring.

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