Meetings: Where minutes are kept and hours are lost.
Every techie has asked this question – why am I put in so many unnecessary meetings by my manager?
Here is the answer: it is the only visible engagement of the manager.
Didn’t get it? What is a software professionals’ output? His code. The testers’ output? His test report. The leads’ output? The product. Everbody, including the canteen chef, has an output. And the manager? What is he doing? How does he spend his time (at least as visible to others)? Well, he calls for meetings. He has nothing else to do! Other than reports and presentations, but others don’t see it. And probably of little value anyway. Meetings keeps him engaged. Otherwise, his office life is a big void. Worse, the others see it.
[In reality, the better managers does have an unenviable task of balancing the needs of the clients (want more in less time|money) and his own subordinates (will do less with more time|money). But then, when was the last time you worked under a ‘better manager’?]
Tips for techies to let others avoid calling you:
- Do not respond to meeting invitations. Do not go unless someone calls.
- Take a notebook along. Draw big circles in it during the meeting. Make sure everyone sees it.
- Chew gum, making “chwya-chwya” sound. It disturbs more people than you think.
- Look and let your eyes follow those going outside your meeting room. Do this even when you are speaking. Everyone will look at what you are looking. Entire team gets distracted. Success!