In January 2009, a military-oriented site, “Company Command”, asked current Army commanders and platoon leaders in Iraq what they spent most of their time doing. One officer, Lt. Sam Nuxoll, answered flat-out: “Making PowerPoint slides”.
When pressed, the lieutenant continued:
“I’m dead serious, guys. The one thing I spend more time on than anything else here in combat is making PowerPoint slides. I have to make a storyboard [a PowerPoint slide] complete with digital pictures, diagrams and text summaries on just about anything that happens. Recon a water pump? Make a storyboard. Conduct a key leader engagement? Make a storyboard. Award a microgrant? Make a storyboard.”
In addition, the PowerPoint slide that was to have conveyed the “Phase IV” (reconstruction and stabilization) plan in Iraq has been the topic of much discussion, but Starbuck actually posts the final slide:
With this much detail, how could we have gone wrong?
In fairness, before PowerPoint we had “flow charts,” the logic of which was best summed up here. (There is a much better version with some blue language, but this is a family blog.)