Management Topically irrelevant foreign lands

The Seven Meetings You Hate

Why Are We Here? Seems like a good set of people, but everyone is looking at each other, wondering what is happening. It’s nefarious; it’s just.. confusing and agenda-less.

Why Am I Here? It seems like a good set of people, but I have no clue how I’m relevant to this meeting. I will sit here a bit and nod, but mostly, I’m wondering why someone thought my presence was a good idea.

We’ve Always Done It This Way Every week. Same time. No matter what. Why? Well, you know, I don’t know why. We’ve always done it this way. Is that a problem?

This Isn’t a Meeting; It’s a Lecture Bunch of people. Check. In a conference room. Check. He’s talking now. Still talking. It’s been 30 minutes, and no one else has said a thing. Why are we meeting? Why is there only one human talking? Not a meeting, by the way.

We Can’t Make Progress It appears that we have a diverse set of humans, but we neglected to invite the humans who could help us make progress, so we’re going to have this meeting again, no matter what.

We’re Aimless We know why we’re here. We have the right people, but no one is referreeing, and now we’re off into topically irrelevant foreign lands.

It’s Everyone Someone was super aggressive about inviting anyone with any possible opinion about the topic, but we cannot make progress with this ginormous crew.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 Responses

  1. Its interesting to me whether we hate these meetings because they are “bad” or because they are pushing on some uncertainty that the team needs to struggle through…

  2. The Zoom seance meeting is missing!

    “Rands, can you hear us? We can’t hear you”

  3. Nathan 5 months ago

    This is well-said.

    There’s another meeting I particularly hate: Shoehorned into everyone’s busy day. We need Doug, Jamal, and Cindy here in order to make a decision. Doug is running late because his previous meeting ran over (domino effect from his very first meeting, which ran over). Jamal arrived on time, but when it was obvious that Doug would be late he started dealing with messages on Slack and never fully tuned back in. Cindy also arrived mostly on time, but announced that she had a hard stop 30 minutes into the hour-long meeting. In the 20 minutes where we actually got Doug, Cindy, and about 50% of Jamal, we got side-tracked on issues that could have been a Slack thread after the fact and never actually made the decision we needed to make.

  4. Joe T. 5 months ago

    > Why Am I Here? It seems like a good set of people, but I have no clue how I’m relevant to this meeting. I will sit here a bit and nod, but mostly, I’m wondering why someone thought my presence was a good idea.

    These are the meetings where, after 2 or 3 times where my participation had little to no value in either direction and it was a recurring meeting, I just started bringing my laptop and working during. Some people say it’s rude; I say what’s rude is taking away 60 minutes of somebody’s productive work time for no gain to them *or* to you.

    Often the hardcore no-laptops people will reply “well just don’t go to those meetings then”, and hahahahahaha don’t I wish we lived in a world where everybody had that option without getting fired, because if I had had the option to just not go I absolutely would have taken it. (The only time I had that power earlier in my career was when I had put my two weeks’ notice in at one job, and a series of “handoff” meetings was scheduled. After the first one accomplished nothing I just declined the rest and focused on writing the handover doc I had already started working on… which was what I had suggested in the first place instead of meetings.)

    > In the 20 minutes where we actually got Doug, Cindy, and about 50% of Jamal, we got side-tracked on issues that could have been a Slack thread after the fact and never actually made the decision we needed to make.

    I had a whole series of these meetings that were attempted to be shoehorned into *30-minute* time slots, and since I was voluntold to be in charge of the project they were about, I told my manager *no more 30-minute meetings* on that, because they all went like this:

    * One stakeholder (not always the same one, but always at least one) showed up 5 minutes late.
    * The manager who had final say over everything was routinely not making it till 5-10 minutes in and catching him up so he felt informed was taking precious time. Or worse, he’d not show at all, and then there would be needless time spent relitigating decisions made in the meeting that he didn’t like.
    * Around 20 minutes or so people would start dropping off “to prep for their next meeting” ( I think a good bit of this was really “nothing useful is happening here but I can’t say *that*”).

    So in a 30-minute meeting we got anywhere from 5-10 minutes of useful time at best, to negative time at worst if there was lengthy post-meeting cud-chewing of a decision by parties who hadn’t attended.

    So I said, either stop having them, or have them be at least 2 hours and make them a priority over other things for the people attending.

    Suddenly instead of no progress like the previous four weeks, we began making progress in leaps and bounds even though the actual time scheduled for the meetings wasn’t actually much greater.