Why Your Dev Just Bought a Magic 8-Ball
✋This is the first post in a series on software developer productivity DOs and DON’Ts. Check back often for upcoming posts…
Software Developer Productivity Killer #1: Useless Meetings
Picture this: your software developer, let’s call him Bob, is at the peak of his creative genius. He’s coding at the speed of light, the characters dancing on his screen in a coordinated ballet. Just then, the dreaded ping – yet another meeting request. Bob’s heart sinks, his momentum wanes, and he wonders if he should swap his laptop for a typewriter to dodge digital meeting invites.
Alright, now before you brandish pitchforks my way, let me clarify – not all meetings are evil. Some can be life-affirming soul-searching odysseys. But many, oh-so-many, are like that extra sprig of parsley on your dish. Looks nice, but no one knows why it’s there.
😱 Why Developers Loathe The Meeting Monster
- The Zone Disturbance: Every time a developer is yanked out of “The Zone”, it takes a good 15-30 minutes to get back into it. The Zone is that magical realm where developers wield their wizardry. You know what doesn’t exist in The Zone? Meetings about whether to use Oxford commas in comments.
- The Mismatch of Tongues: Developers speak in code; managers often in spreadsheets. It’s like expecting a cat and a goldfish to discuss the merits of wet vs. dry food. Spoiler: the goldfish doesn’t care as long as it’s wet.
- The “This Could Have Been An Email” Syndrome: 85% of what’s discussed in meetings (okay, maybe a cheeky estimate) could have been summed up in a well-crafted email. And the other 15%? Probably could have been a Slack message.
⚔️ How To Slay The Useless Meeting Dragon
- Agenda is a Must: If you can’t write down what the meeting is about, chances are it doesn’t need to happen. An agenda makes the difference between a focused huddle and an aimless gossip fest. Some even go farther – consider adopting the ‘Amazon 6-Pager’ method where dense topics are distilled into a concise 6-page narrative; it encourages clarity and deep thinking…and provides a higher bar to requiring a meeting.
- Time is Money; Cap It: Unless you’re solving the mysteries of the universe, most meetings shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes. Set a timer if you must! And if anyone starts with, “This might be off-topic, but…” – it’s a trap!
- Ask “Who Really Needs to be Here?” If Bob’s expertise is in back-end development, he probably doesn’t need to opine on logo colors. Send Bob back to his magical coding realm. He’ll thank you. So would your CFO if he could calculate the ROI of the salaries in the room vs the outcomes of the meeting.
- Post-Meeting Homework: Summarize. Distribute. Action. If there are no clear next steps after a meeting, then what was it all for?
Meetings aren’t the enemy. It’s aimless, purposeless, could’ve-been-an-email meetings that developers detest. Think before you ping. Remember, every time you pull a developer into a needless meeting, somewhere in the world, a Magic 8-Ball gets a question like, “Should I attend this meeting?” And the answer is, more often than not, “Outlook not so good.”
Next time you’re tempted to drag your tech team into a meeting, ask yourself: “Do I really want to be the parsley on Bob’s plate?” If the answer is no, rethink that invite.
Now, if you’re struggling to optimize team productivity and communication, remember there are experts (like yours truly) who can help. Because, let’s face it – you could do it, but why would you when there’s a cheeky genius available for hire? 😉