If you've ever participated in a team meeting on Microsoft Teams, you know that they can sometimes feel like a black hole of productivity. One minute you're discussing important project updates and the next, you're knee-deep in a heated debate over the size and color of the fonts in a graphic. Yes, my friends, we've all been victim to the age-old phenomenon known as "bike shedding."

For those unfamiliar with the term, bike shedding (also known as the Law of Triviality) refers to the tendency for a team to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing and debating trivial details, while ignoring more important issues. The term was coined by management theorist Cyril Northcote Parkinson and is derived from the observation that a nuclear power plant project would be subject to little debate and discussion, while a simple bike shed would be subject to endless discussion and deliberation. This phenomenon occurs because the larger, more complex projects are intimidating and overwhelming, causing people to focus on the smaller, less risky tasks. As a result, the bike shed gets more attention and resources than the nuclear power plant.

So there we were, participating in a Microsoft Teams meeting, staring at the computer screen with a graphic for a blog post on the importance of proper power cord length. All seemed well until someone brought up the fact that the font for the headline was a smidge too small. And with that, the bike shedding began.

"What about making it bold?"

"No, let's go with italics."

"I think we should increase the font size."

"But then it won't fit in the designated space."

"What about the background color?"

And around we went.

Next time you find yourself in a meeting that seems to be going off the rails, try to steer the conversation back to the main objectives at hand. And if all else fails, just remember to bring a bike lock to your next meeting. You never know when you might need to chain up your colleagues to prevent them from going down the bike shedding rabbit hole.