One of the common features of the corporate world is holding regular meetings for various reasons, including facilitating discussions, promoting teamwork, and corroborations. These benefits notwithstanding, developers and programmers are known to be notoriously against meetings. But why do developers/programmers hate meetings?
Software developers and programmers hate meetings because meetings tend to disrupt their flow, and thus they view meetings as major distractions which negatively impact productivity. They also view meetings as ineffective, time-wasting, and counterproductive to their work schedule.
This article will discuss this question in detail. Highlighting the main reasons developers and programmers have meetings, whether you should exempt them from meetings, and some of the steps companies can take to encourage programmers and developers to attend meetings. Read on for more.
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Developers and programmers hate meetings because they see these meetings as disruptions to their programs and schedule. Additionally, most developers and programmers hate these meetings because these meetings take too much time that, in their option, would be better utilized working or meeting their goals.
This hatred for meetings is associated with numerous factors, and most of these factors are associated with their unique nature of work. It is thus essential to understand the work-related factors for programmers and developers that make numerous meetings seem ineffective.
Let us discuss these factors in detail below.
Some of the work-related factors that make developers and programmers have meetings include the following:
- Strict schedules that require continuous, uninterrupted work
- Reluctance to participate in long meetings
One of the features of developer or programmer work is that these professionals will usually operate under a strict and marked schedule. Accordingly, unlike other executives who can easily adjust their schedule when a meeting comes up without any detrimental impact on their productivity, developers and programmers do not share this luxury.
Developers and programmers are required to work on a marked schedule, and this means that to be most productive, they often have to work for numerous hours continuously to meet their targets. Any disruptions associated with meetings will therefore distract these professionals from their schedules.
These disruptions can significantly impact productivity because it will take additional time for the programmer or developer to get back to their level of productivity like they had before they were interrupted. Unlike other types of work, developing and programming rely on getting into a flow, which can take time.
In contrast, executives can easily switch between tasks without significantly impacting their productivity. They also do not need to work continuously on tasks to become productive and can easily break up their workload into easily manageable chunks.
Thus, programmers and developers will view meetings negatively compared to other executives such as managers.
The length of most meetings is also one of the reasons why many developers dislike meetings. Most meetings, such as strategy meetings, can extend several hours. This time drain is exacerbated by the fact that there can be more than one meeting during the day, which means that a large number of person-hours will be lost sitting in meetings.
The length of these meetings has a negative impact on the developer and programmers’ productivity and often places them on a collision path with their bosses. Unlike the managerial group, which can accomplish their deliverables by conducting several meetings, developers do not get any work done by participating in discussions.
Most developers and programmers have strict schedules, and the more time they have to complete their tasks, the better. Therefore, meetings cost the programmers more time and productivity compared to managers and other executives.
Typically, the longer the meetings take, the more difficult it will be for the programmer or developer to get back into their flow.
Like engineers, most developers view meetings as a waste of time. Accordingly, they view meetings as ineffective use of their time that only places more pressure on the developers and programmers to complete their deliverables within a reduced period.
Ultimately, employers evaluate the developer or programmer based on how effectively they complete their projects. Numerous meetings do nothing towards this goal. For this reason, most developers and programmers will only attend meetings because they have to.
Most programmers and developers would not attend any of these meetings given a choice. Additionally, most of these developers and programmers dislike participating in these meetings because while these meetings consume a large chunk of time, the developers and programmers believe that these meetings discuss obvious things.
An organization requires all business functions to be effective for success. While managers and leaders have different schedules than developers and programmers, it is still vital for both teams to pursue their goals optimally.
Programmer and developer aversion to meetings can create the following issues:
- Workplace tension. One of the results of programmers and developers hating meetings is that it develops bad blood or tension between the management and leadership team and the programmers or developers.
- Unfriendly work environment. This conflict of interest creates an unfriendly working environment. It may also result in high employee turnover when the programmers and developers feel like the management team sabotages their productivity by holding meetings.
- Reduced productivity. Programmers and developers may be much less productive or motivated when they feel their employers are forcing them to attend meetings in which they are reluctant to participate.
But does this mean that employers should exempt programmers and developers from meetings?
Let us discuss this in detail below.
Programmers/developers should not be exempt from meetings. Even if they view meetings as ineffective, meetings are an essential part of any business, and exempting these professionals from meetings will do more harm than good. Meetings remain vital in aligning employees to organizational goals.
As much as most programmers and developers view meetings as a waste of time, the truth is that lack of meetings could result in professionals pulling in opposite directions, resulting in a massive waste of time and resources.
Additionally, verbal communication is crucial in any organization, and as such, it is unwise to eliminate meetings. However, there are several steps that you can take to make meetings more aligned to the programmer’s schedule and enhance their efficiency.
Written communication cannot replace verbal meetings for developers/programmers, and it is not a practical solution to their dislike for meetings. The fact remains that many programmers and developers will likely not read the written communication, and some matters may be urgent to discuss.
One of the solutions to eliminate the number of meetings programmers and developers attend is using written communication. This way, managers or leaders can, in theory, communicate with programmers and developers via memos or emails to keep them updated and discuss vital issues.
However, most programmers and developers will tend to disregard this written communication because these, too, will be viewed as distractions to their flow.
There are various approaches for eliminating the tension between programmers/developers and managers over meetings while also reducing the negative impacts of meetings on these professionals’ productivity.
I will discuss some of these steps below:
One avenue you may pursue to get developers and programmers on board is to schedule meetings either at the beginning of the workday or at the end of the workday. Organizations should deliberately work towards eliminating or limiting meetings in the middle of the day.
Setting an agreeable meeting schedule with programmers and developers will help to eliminate distractions. It also makes it easier for the developers to plan their day accordingly while also supporting the need for continuous work required in programming or development.
Most developers and programmers view recurring group meetings as time-wasting activities that essentially discuss the same apparent things. These meetings also often require participation from more people than necessary and take too long.
Group meetings should be scheduled well in advance and should take place infrequently. These meetings should also be aligned with the programmers/developers’ schedules, making it easy to plan for them.
More and more companies are adopting flexible working hours, and with good reason. This new movement is because these flexible working hours allow professionals to work at home or at night, depending on when they are most productive and when they will experience minimal distraction.
As previously discussed, the programmer or developer’s schedule relies heavily on developing a working flow. By adopting working hours, your developers and programmers will be productive and only attend meetings on a need-to basis.
One of the ways to optimize productivity among programmers and developers while also ensuring that they participate in necessary meetings is to limit working hours to 40 hours a week instead of eight hours a day.
This extra time allowance means that employees can extend their working hours when they are in the zone instead of stopping mid-way or going home if they feel like they are not being productive.
This flexibility also means that programmers and developers will be under less pressure to meet their deadlines and not view meetings as obstacles to productivity.
In conclusion, programmers and developers generally hate meetings for the following reasons:
- Meetings take too much time, which undermines their productivity.
- Meetings act as distractions and disrupt their flow.
- Meetings are inefficient and waste time talking about obvious things.
However, it is still essential to involve programmers and developers in meetings as part of effective work collaboration. The key is to ensure that you limit meetings to essential purposes and respect the time of your programmers and developers.
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