Forum OpenACS Improvement Proposals (TIPs): Re: TIP #27 (Vetoed): Create a works-in-progress directory in /contrib

I recall it being the cost of cofee or of a coffee machine in Parkinson's original, not a bike shed. (Probalby Parkinson presented wrote different variations.) But yes, that's the concept.
It was in the chapter "High finanace or the Point of Vanishing Interest" in "Parkinson's Law" and the funding decisions were:
  • £10,000,000 atomic power plant -- minimal debate (2.5 minutes).
  • £350 bike shed -- moderate debate (45 minutes).
  • £21 for coffee at a meeting -- extreme and devisive debate since everyone knows about coffee (1h15m).
  • Anwyay, bikeshedding is the word that ended up in the lexicon, maybe because "coffee-arguing" or "atomic-plant-not-debating" just don't work as well :)