Developers are famous for disdaining meetings. Meetings force us to context switch, kill our flow, and sap our job satisfaction long term. Yet, manage

Why a Meeting Costs More than a MacBook Pro – the Business Case for Fewer Developers in Meetings

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2022-05-13 00:30:41

Developers are famous for disdaining meetings. Meetings force us to context switch, kill our flow, and sap our job satisfaction long term. Yet, managers and scrum masters can't seem to get enough of them, and the resulting tension is all over our calendars. Paul Graham (internet) famously documented this phenomenon in his essay Maker's Schedule, Manager's schedule.

Large organizations are especially known for overstuffing developer calendars with pointless meetings – at least pointless to developers. And when a scrum master goes rogue, a dev can have days when nothing of actual value gets done between retros, sprint plannings, demos, and process alignments.

I sat through a particularly useless meeting the other week with a meeting screen full of other devs – oddly, it was initiated by a tech lead on a different team. During the boredom, I started wondering :

I was an accountant in my previous life, so I want to put a number on exactly how much a meeting can cost. Here's my ballpark calculation of the opportunity cost of a meeting for the company, regardless of whether it is pointless.

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