As it relates to this definition: 1. Contemptibly petty, insignificant nonsense.

I’ve had the misfortune of late to be subjected to some of the most chickenshit nonsense of my career. Unending, unnecessary, high-maintenance-for-no-reward tasks that serve only to appease someone’s overly precious and beurocratic checklists or satisfy someone’s quest for perfection in all the most unobservable places. I am not building the space shuttle where every rivet might spell calamity if not perfect, and I am not complaining about a high standard of quality that sets itself apart by delivering that extra %10. I’m talking about a continual purgatory of busy work dotting every I and crossing every T that the client has long since approved and is happy with before we embark on their anally retentive crusades, and that delay the execution of the piles of work still yet to be done that you know will slam you when you’ve run out of time. Worse, most of the contract workforce here is paralyzed with fear that any questioning of poor policy or disagreement with unnecessary notes will label them as a problem and blacklist them for the next 6-8 month contract in a small industry will a continual revolving door, so anyone in charge of the pursetrings only gets feedback from the people who are the problem. As far as I know, they have no post-mortem process for taking anonymous feedback and improving the system or pipeline, or even understanding where the delays and bottlenecks happen.

I’m coming from a small company where every dollar was stretched and efficiency was key to staying alive. At this new place, where the solution is to throw more bodies at non-existant problems, is this just par for the course for larger companies who have more money than sense?

I believe your point is highlighting quality management of some description? If so, then in my experience working intimately with stringent quality systems, a poorly managed system is a pain in the arse, no matter how big or small the organisation is.

I suppose, but I remember how there would always be a give and take directly with the person when tasking something, with the priority being to only expend the effort needed to get the job done, and a discussion about how to go about it that will yield the best and fastest results. Whereas here, the tasks are delegated by superiors in a vacuum and delivered down by a chain of production coordinators to whom the tasks mean nothing at all, and given to you without any context of why they need to be done, and then you view the final product and confirm that they didn’t.

In my experience, “chickenshit” is often the product of an insecure superior. Demanding the meaningless dotting of "i"s and crossing of “t” can be a way of justifying one’s superior bureaucratic position over a subordinate who is (often subconsciously) feared to be more competent. But, on the other hand, it can also be a way of documenting one accountability to even higher superiors that for reasons of experience or prejudice (i.e., their own often subconscious fears of inadequacy) lack confidence in their lower orders. Does any this help you? Not at all. Does saying this make me feel intelligent? You bet. Now get back to work, and don’t forget to file those in triplicate!

They way I see it, it’s impossible for anyone, no matter how good, to keep track of the volume of work going on at one time, so I have much more respect for superiors if they asked my opinion on what I’ve been working on, finding out the reason behind decisions I’ve been taking, or ask the history behind a task, and then give constructive feedback based on their experience in that context. Which is the opposite of what they’re doing here.

Was very happy getting away from working at multi-thousand employee, multi-national companies and back into the small-team environment, for exactly this reason.