Is it abnormal for a product manager to hate meetings?

(Pranjali Anil Deshpande) #1

Or rather, is it normal to hate meetings? I used to love my role as an individual contributor and the only meetings that didnt seem like a waste of time were the ones in which we used to brainstorm solutions (we = engineering team+PM).
Status meetings, bi-weekly, monthly, nightly, evening-ly syncs suck joy out of the job itself.

Are there any tricks that have worked for you to block calendars off, and not piss off people/ higher-ups when you’ve avoided/ smartly scheduled meetings?

Somethings I’m doing now

  1. Schedule sync type of meetings closer to other meetings so i am frontloading them
  2. Blocking off Friday as no-meeting day
  3. Asking the organizer to create a Slack channel for problem solving, so we dont have to have a meeting instead

(Andrew Chen) #2

At some point, as a PM, you end up spending 40+ hours a week in meetings and then another 20+ on email. So I think it’s an uphill battle :slight_smile:

Not as a PM, but honestly for any type of leadership role.

The highly empowered individual contributor roles are few and far between!

(Rasmus Petersson) #3

In my experience being a Product manager means being in a chronic lack of time or in other words needing to harshly prioritize your time.
Blocking off time in the calendar is a good tool but does not change the basic problem. Slack channel is also good in my experience.
I would try to get the meetings you attend to be more effective and hence shorter. You will still have the same amount of meetings but they will take shorter time.
Change some meetings to stand-ups. People become so much more concise if they are forced to stand up.
At Spotify the last 5 minutes of every meeting is used to evaluate the meeting on meaningfulness and effectiveness. This is done by everybody and on a 5 grade scale on the whiteboard. Maybe you will find out that everybody hates the meeting as much as you and maybe you can find another way of handling the purpose of the meeting :slight_smile:

(Dane Madsen) #4

It is normal to hate unproductive time sucking soul crushing meetings called by people who are justifying their role and their compensation.

I am an Amazon spouse so this is 2nd hand. They are in meetings all day but the rules they have for meetings (no powerpoints, real issues, a brief/memo NTE 6 pages that everyone reads at the beginning to be up to speed) that force the organizers to really need the meeting and have a specific agenda are at least not unproductive.

(Ajay Mishra) #5

Hi Dane,

I totally agree with you about the effectiveness of the Amazon model in discouraging useless meetings by forcing the organizer(s) to prepare a 6 pager for the meeting. Although not all meetings have to have a 6-page long document, every meeting has to have a goal clearly stated in written form. I think every company (big or small) should adopt this model.

(Tanmayi Sai) #6

I’m a PM and this is pretty typical of an average day for me. It’s hard to do productive work in between these meetings (I blacked out the meetings). A lot of these do end up being important if you’re a stakeholder. Instead of blocking entire days or core work hours, I block off time where I’m most productive. For me, that’s between 7-10 AM but I do end my work day at 4 so I’m not working crazy hours. Some meetings even though booked for an hour may end soon if there’s clear agenda before every meeting. I never attend one if there’s no agenda in the invite or ask the organizer to add an agenda.