Endless Meeting

Some people believe that there is no such thing as an EndlessMeeting... Would you like to discuss that? Let's have a meeting about it...

The same people probably don't even know how to start one. And, often all that is required is getting the start right.

To start an endless meeting, do the following: For bonus points, start by having an EndlessMeeting to plan a series of EndlessMeetings. LatherRinseRepeat.

This is one of the required practices in WorryDrivenDevelopment.

Note: If you are nice, ThereMustBeFood.
EndlessMeeting is an AntiPattern

This is not a page about a joke, but a real methodology used at places where... well... nothing seems to get done ever. No new technology ever works, because they are all fads. They still have VMS, OS360, and the like, and it works. How can you justify your big paycheck? Well, you do 5 hour meetings with each single vendor. To start the meeting, you call the vendor and ask for a salesman. They send 2 o 3 at once. Then you go with 3 to 5 people into the meeting room, introduce everyone, exchange business cards, offer coffe or coke, make funny jokes about the weather and then when they are relaxed you ask them what do they have to offer. You ask repeatedly until they come up with something. Then you ask what did your competitors recently acquire, because you want exactly the same or better. If they say something technical, you wait to hear the full thing and then you ask them to repeat it. When they finish, you repeat everything they said, and then you ask them if they agree with you. When you have learned the lines you use them on other vendors so that you can impress other vendors with your knowledge.

In software development shops 5 hours meetings are less common, but sometimes they are used to them. If there is a possibility of a single problem, a meeting is scheduled right now. May you come here please? You enter a room with 10 other people, in a room designed for 5 people. You won't be able to go to the bathroom for the next 5 hours. To start the meeting, you boss handles a bunch of papers to everyone to know their opinion about a very simple ClassDiagram or something even simpler than that. Then he begins to question, one by one, what's their opinion about it. Everyone has a very strong opinion about it, and it takes at least 10 minutes to explain it. The explanation is full of obvious mistakes that nobody is willing to question. When there is a disagreement it is not seen as an honest disagreement, but an indication of conflict, the FearCulture indicates that one of the two must be expelled from the project.

Since everyone avoids conflict to expand its opportunity to stay in the project, most developers stay quiet during thw whole meeting. When they see how they are assigned too many tasks and for doing them far less time than needed, they are forced to participate, usually by complaining about how it was not their fault to begin with. Explanations take longer and longer. The project slang becomes confusing. The meeting has no clear objectives and no clear result. It just ends because the boss has to leave.
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