Meetings

Navi, she gets it

First a story:

Once upon a time I was part of a daily stand up meeting (it wasn’t actually a stand up but we were standing up) that at its peak included about 20-25 people, mostly engineers and a few stakeholders.

This meeting would start at 9am, which coincidentally was the same time the work day started, and would generally last between about an hour and the rest of linear time.

Now clearly that is not the best way to run a stand up (if you choose to do them, horses for courses!) but that’s not to say that the meeting wasn’t valuable to someone. The stakeholders gained much value in that they could tell the people above them what they had been told, a sort of blame hot potato. From my (then) engineering perspective that objectively isn’t valuable, but then groups of people above a certain size don’t run on objectivity, I digress.

The point is that a lot of meetings feel pointless, but that’s a matter of perspective. You may think to yourself “I don’t need to be listening to this, I’m busy, it doesn’t affect me”, that may be true if you are in a large enough team / organization where what you are doing won’t move the needle.

If you are in a small team / organization then everything should be important to you. If it isn’t then perhaps introspect a bit and ask why you choose to be where you are. This shouldn’t be conflated with “passion” or “commitment”, or other buzzwords recruiters use to underpay you.

Its also important to recognize that some meetings truly are pointless and don’t create value for anyone, speak up about these! If you are in the right environment you will be listened to.

The next time you find yourself bored in a meeting, just remember these 2 things:

  • Not everyone measures value the same way you do
  • If you’re not willing to listen to other people, why should anyone listen to you?

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