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Japan Megabank Chief: Please Do Something About All These Meetings (wsj.com)
34 points by petethomas 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

Too many meetings is a sign of people not knowing what they are doing. So they need to get together ever so often to see where they are and what to do next.

Then there is a case of everyone reading about agile and all it's ilk without understanding it completely. Everyone wants a "daily stand up" update meeting for every "project" out there. Then if there are issues, you need a separate "issue discussion meeting". Then there has to be "team meeting" to discuss what is going on in the team. The list goes on and on.

I also find that many a times, daily stand ups instead of being short, sweet 30 seconds update are just meandering stories trying to give color to a rather dull and boring day of work.

In my experience, surprisingly it wasn't a bank which had more meetings but a pure play IT product company. We were a team of consultants working on different projects so we had -

monthly team planning meeting,

daily status meeting,

design meeting,

executive action committee meeting,

weekly specific project status meeting,

daily status with the manager,

weekly status with manager's manager,

monthly status with manager's manager's manager (yes two times removed),

couple of "issue" meetings.

Average 1 hour meeting every day with at least 2 hours of prep required. So 3 hours everyday was gone just like that.

This looks about right. And if the project falls behind then create a "drive team" that tries to figure out why no actual work is being done.

You hire business people, project managers, scrum masters, this is what you get. No matter how much work there is, how many of them there is, they will always manage to fill up there time with meetings.

I am pretty sure it there metric for success, how many meetings they have a day.

I mean that's literally their job, what they are paid to do. I think it goes for every job. Just like we can see "If you want more meetings hire more managers if you want less meetings hire less managers" we could say "If you want your product to have more LOC hire more programmers, if you want it to have less LOC hire less programmers"

This is called Parkinson's Law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_law

Part of the problem I think is a bit like the externality problem in economics. The person who calls the meeting spends his own time to attend, but is also spending all the time of the attendees.

This can even happen across departments, for example, when HR has a mandatory meeting for this or that, HR's budget should be charged for the time of the attendees, and the money distributed to their departments. The may be worth the cost, but it should be justified as a budget request.

Suppose HR asks the software development team to come by and write them some new payroll software. HR would be charged for that time. Why should it be any different when the software dev team is asked to attend a meeting in order to satisfy any other goal of HR?

We definitely should do something about this and have daily status meetings to check on the progress of the effort. In addition we need team building meetings.

I find most meetings to be a waste of time. Unless it's a brainstorming session, or something where you really need the collective input of everyone in the room, most people are there by requirement, not voluntary. We avoid meetings where I work, and use Slack and other platforms to build ideas, and make decisions. Meetings take up too much time.

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