Meetings are work

Dear new developer,

I remember when I started out, I thought meetings were a waste of time.

All those people in a room (now a Zoom), discussing an issue. Folks would go back and forth, and at the end of the meeting you’d hopefully have a decision. But often the output was just more research or discussion. You might have to go back to the client, the team, or vendor and ask more questions. This would be followed, you guessed it, another meeting to relay the results.

I just wanted to code! I wanted to be told what to do, or if that wasn’t an option, take my best reasonable guess, and program.

Meetings sure seemed like a waste of time.

Now, many years and meetings later, I realize that meetings are really work. They help align teams, ensure you are building the correct things, and share knowledge. These are key parts of delivering software and making sure that all the programming isn’t for the lost cause.

Yes, you can do many things asychronously. I enjoy flexible work hours and chat tools and pull requests and email lists. But whenever I see an email or other async conversation look like it is going to go off the rails, I jump in and suggest a meeting. It may be a pain, but it will let you cut through days of unclear emails. For example, I remember meeting with a vendor in India at 8pm at night, because that was the time that was least inconvenient for the both of us. We were able to resolve questions we’d been exchanging emails about for days with thirty minutes of conversation.

Meetings define and push the work forward every bit as much as programming.