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Last Updated: August 8, 2015  180 views

Meetings in Software Companies

in: Ideas and Thoughts

“Hey Gopal, Can you please meet me at 4:30 PM?” popped up the chat window. My hands got numbed and eyes wide opened. This is the biggest disadvantage of being online at Lotus Sametime. My supervisor, Ravindran has asked me to meet him 7th time in last 3 days. Everytime I go with all the weapons and artillery available in my armour. And each time I come out of meeting, I feel like what Napoleon would have felt at the end of “War of Waterloo”.

I saw the clock; it was showing 3:45 PM. I still had 45 minutes to refill my weapons for the war whose fate had already been sealed. I recalled my last meeting with Ravindran, our sixth meeting. I remembered the points he had asked me to take care of. The points which are jargons used by software industry managers. And they are like you are not proactive; you should have validated the client requirements correctly; you should take some extra responsibility etc. They may sound Greek to people who are not familiar with the software industry. But for people like me, these are the silver bullets which never miss to pierce my rational thinking.

I saw the clock again; it was showing 4:27 PM. I took my laptop and my company’s ID card and rushed to meet him. When I reached his seat, his four eyes were hooked to his laptop as if Arjuna was targeting the rotating fish eye. I stood there waiting for any movement in his hand or lip. After few minutes, adjusting rim of his specs, he said, “Gopal, please give me two minutes”. “No Problem, Ravindran” came a quick and a natural response from me. “Please” is the most commonly used and most cogent word of software industry. This word tweets a harsh order into a polite one. It is very shrewdly used by the IT managers to smoothen the “strangulation” of their team members.

So after 5 minutes, our 7th meeting in last 3 days, started. Grabbing the opportunity first, I said,” Ravindran, once I finished my earlier work, I proactively asked you for more work”. “But why didn’t you come up with value-adds to the project in that period” came F-22 missile from Ravindran. I was speechless in front of this unexpected volley. Regaining my nerves, I moved to the second bout. “Ravindran, I validated client requirements correctly and client seemed very happy with the delivery” I said with much fervor eyeing for the rare victory in the battle of meetings. “Good, But you missed the delivery deadline by an hour. You are still not quick, Gopal” said Ravindran adjusting rim of his specs and giving his crafty smile for free. I was speechless, better say defenseless again. The only wish I had in my life was the end of this meeting. After few minutes, he said, “O.K, we would discuss few more points in our next meeting”. And only two words came out of my mouth, “Hey Ram”.

The vicious cycle of meetings never come to an end in a software company. The outcome of a meeting is always fixed; it just gives way to another meeting. And yes, your boss has always the last laugh.

This article is written by Kunal Thakur. He is working as a Senior Software Engineer in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

  • 1

    Well said Kunal…

    In software industry the things happen like this. But what I feel is that the manager-peer relationship is not so strong here. And due to which the interaction between the manager and peer becomes almost like what you have well mentioned. This is scenario of most of the IT industry. But this is not what is desired.. and efforts should be put from both the manager and software engineer side to reduce this barrier so that a healthy, enjoyable work-environment can be created.

    Most of the time we spend working in our lives. And so if we do not enjoy our work, work would not be motivating for us and will one day become a burden.

    Neeraj Narayan on October 24th, 2010
  • 2

    100% truth my friend 🙂

    Vineet Gupta on October 24th, 2010
  • 3

    Truly said, for bosses there is always a scope of improvement. At least we deserve a word of appreciation for whatever we do well but for that they never find words in their vocabulary.

    Hemant on October 24th, 2010
  • 4

    Great post!

    I work as Technical Writer at a company that creates software in the telecom field. I was so said to see people leaving the company due to the lack of communication between PMs/TMs and team members…. Twice a years we have the so called “apparaisal meeting” in which the PMs gather and give feedback to his team members. I asked myself why the lack of communication through the company? Every day, PMs spend 75% of their time in meetings… they miss important things that happen with people they work with.
    It’s not enough to have updated working procedures and monthly project meetings…

    Maybe I’m wrong but maybe PMs should better organize their time and prioritize the tasks.

    Oana on November 10th, 2010
  • 5

    Most of the time true !

    Karthick Pitchaiah on November 26th, 2010
  • 6

    100% truth my friend 🙂

    Silvia Merrill on December 24th, 2010