Meeting Culture for Experts

After I started my career in the software industry I needed to participate in a lot of different meetings. Since the most companies transformed to agile the amount of meetings increased. Many developers have equal perceptions about meetings like me. The most of those meetings are just time wasting.

Often the person who had send the meeting invitations was not thinking about the different between quality and quantity. This thoughts are not new. Long ago Tom DeMarco described this situations in his books. His solution works until today and you find it also in explanations about how agile communication should organized. Just put the persons together you really need to make decisions. Less is always better than to many.

Another thing about meetings I figured out by my own experience, is when technicians and non technicians try to communicate. If you just watch this as an external observer it could be a funny entertainment, like the parody in the video I placed below the article. But if you involved as an expert to help a CTO taking decisions and they do not understand what you talking about, it drives you into frustrations.

Yegor Bugayenko mentioned in his podcast Shift-M that a CTO is far away from hands on code. I had recognized the same. And often this persons also far away from a deep technical understanding. The same I can say about project managers. In my perception, I often got the idea this managers won’t to understand technical details as well, to take good decisions. Well sometimes technicians exaggerate also with the level of information they give. Not everybody need to get the full details of a topic. A realistic overall picture, maybe a bit more details than a simple synopsis could make the things for everybody more easy.

A very old story to illustrate this topic was in the early 2000, when the questions pop up to implement a fat or a thin client. For this decision-guys thin client was sounding more smart, also they took this option, without understanding the consequences. After a while the project was running, they start to blame around that the costs are exploding and the result was not what they expect. In a retrospective is very easy to understand why the problems occurred. The manager had not specified well the browser support for the thin client. To secure all the compatibility was extremely cost intense. Also to keep the UI up to date will produce in the future costs, because the browsers will not stay from today the same like 10 years in the future. The same discussions we always have in every time period. Not so long ago was the question monolith or microservice? Simon Brown answered this question very straight to the point: „If you can’t build a monolith, what makes your think microservices are the answer?“ And what are the drama topics in 2020? Of course cloud services, Kubernetes and serverless.

For me it would be great when the persons taking decisions, minimum want to understand technical things and their consequences. If we focus more on the soft skills mangers should have, less software projects would fail. In between we keep going to give developers rhetoric trainings, to give them the capability to talk unspecific like a salesman.

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