Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Managers, Makers and Meetings

When I last worked at MegaCorp, I would be in the office by 6.30 in the morning and leave by about 3.30 in the afternoon. This was non negotiable and part of the agreement I made with the company. I could work[1] productively for about three hours before the day's meetings and "manager work" started and the rest of the day usually went downhill very fast. I had some dim sense of "preserving my sanity"as a reason for doing this and it worked very well in this regard, but I could never explain clearly why this worked so well.

Now I know. Paul Graham writes an excellent essay on the different notions of scheduling for managers and "makers". A must read for both managers and programmers.

[1] At MegaCorp "work" had strange meanings - it was mostly measured in the degree you sucked up to your superiors (I am not being condescending here. I watched several masters of this art who would apply a frightening degree of focus on "managing upwards". Very educational but very scary), and how many meetings you attended. By God, did we have meetings. One of the reasons I left (not the most important one!) was that we started to have meetings about meetings and I came out of these dispirited and demoralized and completely drained.


Venkatesh Sellappa said...

" Meetings about meetings " . Did you take notes about taking notes ?

Anonymous said...

Luckily, my friend who was a fellow programmer became my manager(he started getting bored with tech work)

Good thing was he too disliked meetings.He initially kept a meeting once a week and now even that is gone!


Anonymous said...

I think programmers like to have(or imagine) infinite available time before starting any work.Even if the work might get completed in 30 mins.

When i was working on exercises in Simply Scheme book , i will never start it when i know in my mind that lunch will come in another 2-3 hours even though i was able to finish the exercises in 2 hours after lunch.Blocks of 2 hours with interruption like meeting/lunch in between are not very conducive for programmer's concentration.