This Is Why Your DevOps Meetings Fail Every Time
Hang tight. There a few (very pop-culturey) reasons why your DevOps meetings might not be going well.
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It’s a beautiful day and you have enough passion to enter the room, have a Hollywood-look at the crowd, and manage a DevOps meeting like a pro. But (unfortunately) things may not proceed like the scene form the Iron Woman—with you being the Meryl Streep of the scene.
We all remember the moment when she hit the men hard, claiming they “don’t have the courage to fight for a cause because they never had to fight hard for anything in their lives.” However, things are a bit more complicated than that when you’re about to manage a DevOps meeting with all those stand-alone wannabe Bill Gates.
You may also enjoy: Running Effective Meetings: A Guide for Humans
I’d rather compare IT meetings with the scene from The Dark Knight where the Joker gathers all the most-wanted names of organized crimes in Gotham City. Joker (in this scene) tries to sell the idea of killing Batman. But you can sense the high tension from the beginning as, well, everyone in the room is already a potential murderer.
In the movie, the Joker satisfactorily manages to get what he wants from the meeting. But can you? If not, this the right post to read. That’s because I’ll help you find out why your DevOps meetings are a total failure and how to fix them—using no magic-pencil trick or grenades, unlike the Joker.
You’re Tripping While Not Being High on Your Agenda
If your meetings have no particular agenda, they are just a waste of time. No one will have a solid grasp of randomly thrown-in ideas in a mishmashed gathering. So, if the talks seem useless to you, it’s time to agendize them. No purpose for the meetings brings in no outcome in the future.
I see young developers getting more confused about the projects after meetings. And I relate to them as I’ve been through all those complexities in my career. In my experience, they are confused because of the lack of particularity.
I’ve never been on any kind of drugs, but I’ve seen some teens describing how it feels to combine weed and LSD. From their point of view, I get a sense that they go through some sort of similar experiences compared to what a DevOps engineer would feel in a ruined meeting. (Hey, kids, don’t try combining drugs at home; it’s just an example).
Complex feelings, an intense rush of useless thoughts, and sometimes unbearable anxiety are what such a trip has to offer. The whole thing sounds as if someone were describing an unmanaged DevOps meeting.
A fairly trippy DevOps meeting though would never have anything in common with such stuff. So, get yourself a reliable agenda for each gathering and never let it get ignored or get combined with unwanted stuff.
Being Lazy Is Taking the Participants Aback
Okay, if you think having an agenda is enough to bounce right now, think again. Although organizing the subjects beforehand is an act of wisdom, it’s never the ultimate way of managing a DevOps meeting. And as long as you keep the agenda a secret, things are not going to work.
Your team needs some time to process new topics and then contribute sufficiently. Otherwise, you’ll lose a valuable amount of time presenting the topics in the beginning and waiting for the participant to comprehend.
However, a simple move such as emailing the meeting agenda earlier to the actual event would revolutionize everything. It’s simple, it’s doable, and it works, because when the team members know what to expect, they’ll participate confidently.
As most of you probably know, the main reason for workplace stress is the lack of control over the work activities. So, if you call for a meeting, start talking like the Iron Woman character, and leave the room like a selfish boss, the team members will undergo more stress. And, obviously, more stress will lead to insufficient performance, causing a close-to-failure future for the software development process.
Giving the team members some clue about what you’re planning for them makes them feel valued and cared about. Plus, they will have some time to process the subjects and come up with better ways of expressing their thoughts in the actual event.
The DevOps Meetings Are More of a Wine Tasting Party Full of Nerds
If you have a bunch of people who try to make the meetings all about themselves, then you’re going to fail to manage the DevOps meetings every single time. These people would love to find a chance to start I’ve-done-this and I’ve-done-that conversations.
Having such members in a group gathering is like growing weeds near a tree. They consume the energy of the atmosphere while offering nothing useful in return.
A professional meeting manager should never allow these attendees to make the process complicated and cumbersome. This is while an amateur team head lets the situation become something more of the meeting scene in the Ocean’s Twelve.
Remember the scene where Gorge Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robbie Coltrane, and Matt Damon had a meeting in a bar? Well, some of the DevOps gatherings are the embodied form of this scene in real life. And some developers unwittingly nod their heads throughout the events because they can’t follow the conversation (just like Matt Damon did in the movie).
So, if you don’t want to have such "Lost in Translation" meetings, try to keep everyone in the game. This happens when you cut back on the show-off speeches and allow everyone to have an equal chance of speaking and asking questions. After all, you’re in the room to develop software—not to compete for the title of the cool kid in a teenager party night.
It’s You and a Bunch of Developers Going on a Wild Goose Chase Every Single Time
Well, if Napoleon was a modern DevOps engineer, he would have changed his quote to “purpose, purpose, purpose.” And he’d have attacked those gatherings where the managers have no plan for the outcome of the events.
If you’re having some IT get-togethers and they look like a free discussion class, it’s time to reconsider some principles. You must have a goal for each specific event and try to achieve it by the end of the talks.
Democracy in a business meeting is not about having boundless conversations with the team members. By contrast, it’s about giving them the opportunity to express their thoughts in the way they prefer—but about a topic that you set!
Letting the crowd start beating around the bush and forgetting about the real purpose of the talks will prevent progress. So, have a goal in mind and inform the participants to keep them on track during the whole event.
You’re Too Polite to Kick the Break-in Lover’s Butt!
If you don’t control the chatterboxes of the team, they’ll control you and the team.
Some DevOps engineers may not be able to deal with the fact that they are not John Allspaw or Nicole Forsgren. So, they try to talk over others in order to satisfy their imaginary self-image.
However, it’s all on you to shut them up if necessary and keep the topics on top of the agenda. And hey, don’t be too polite. If they were considerate people, you wouldn’t need to warn them, right? So, save that politeness for another case and weigh in if a participant is not going to stop talking.
The Team Is Obsessed with Game of Thrones
You know what happened in the final episode of G.O.T, right? The thing is that some failures in the DevOps meeting management are rooted in the excessive ambitions of the individuals—just like the show. And the tragic thing is that this overdose of individual go-getting forms a Game of Thrones-like fate for the projects.
However, if you canalize this attitude and give it a purpose, you get much more in return. Having determined engineers in the team is actually a good thing when you know how to keep their energy on the project.
So, let the participants know you’re the conqueror of thrones and they are meant to contribute. Otherwise, they’ll have to leave the team and start a YouTube channel or something, because software development is teamwork and the meetings are meant to subsidize such an approach.
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