While I am wild agreement with your piece, I do wish to assert that a “stand-up” meeting ain’t no stinkin’ status meeting, at least not the one I run every day between 9:55 and 10:00pm involving 7 to 10 people.
I acknowledge that this meeting consumes nearly 4 person-hours a week.
However, because it’s only at 9:55, we have these benefits:
- Software engineers are forced to show up on time at the early, inhuman hour of 10am;
- We start at 9:55 regardless of who is present, and finish before 10:oo:oo (one long-talker needed serious coaching until I forced him to write out his report and read from it);
- It is one of the few times during the week we have any recurring meetings;
- If and only if there’s a need to have an actual meeting, you know, with chairs and stuff, we tend to schedule for 10:00:01, so are pre-bothered, and thus need to have only one flow-breaking context drop and everyone is already on their way to the meeting room;
- And, if said meetings are ad-hoc (often raised because we identify the need in stand-up) only the people that are needed attend; and
- We actually stand up in the stand-ups.
Status meetings, as you rightly assert, are an utterly pointless waste of time, whose value degrades at some geometric rate relative to the number of attendees. (My team, however, has found that when forced to attend such status meeting we are often able to get substantial work done by bringing laptops, which I encourage because it is an appropriate sign of disrespect). I have also found that rescuing hapless meeting invitees by asserting an emergency needing their attention wins friends and influences people.
My boss thinks I think meetings are bad. I continue to reply, no, only the ones that are worthless. I am, therefore, indeed lucky to have a job, although perhaps it’s because of all that “productivity” my team seems to have. Who knows?