Professional

Utility function of meetings

A car will go faster if you lower the weight, for example by removing the passengers, luggage, steering wheel, and driver. If you do this, you will have a bad time and not go to space today anywhere nice ever.

Coders often share jokes about useless meetings; certainly, meetings can feel useless — they disrupt flow state, and nothing much seems to happen in them — but they’re not useless.

Meetings are for the business, not for the coder; they are to make sure that the coder is pointing in the right direction and solving important tasks; without it, the programmer may be more productive… but they’ll be producing random things, not money-making things.

Imagine the business has an internally-developed text editor. Left to themselves, a coder might produce something really well-documented with 100% code coverage in automatic tests, but if the business would’ve been fine with something that crashed every 1000 seconds, only did ASCII, and couldn’t open documents more than 2^15 characters long, then that effort was wasted.

The utility function of a meeting is how well it tells the drivers where the engine of production is pointing. The drivers of a company (just like the drivers of a car) may or may not be paying enough attention, may or may not be skilled at navigating the economic environment, may or may not be disregarding the business equivalents of speed limits — but even if the leaders of your company are wildly incompetent (and they’re probably better than any coder like you or I can realise unless we do a business degree), even in the worst case, the meetings can still do their job.

(Given the frailty of human memory, I bet you need someone recording those meetings or you’ll get Chinese Whispers up the corporate chain of command, which would make the meetings useless no matter how well people communicate).

Advertisements
Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s