Main image of article What Do Tech Pros Consider Their Biggest Obstacles?

Software developers do so much more than code. Sometimes, their other tasks are positive ones; for example, it can be fun to sit around and dream up cool new features for products. However, “side tasks” can also interfere with developers’ productivity—and ruin their morale in the process.

SlashData and Sentry recently collaborated on a survey designed to measure the state of developers’ happiness. Based on answers from 1,100 respondents worldwide, the survey broke down the biggest obstacles to developers’ productivity (i.e., their ability to code and ship products). Here are the results; it shouldn’t come as a surprise that “too many meetings” topped the list: 

Meetings seem to be a side effect of working on larger teams (and potentially in larger companies), according to the note accompanying the survey’s data: “Developers who report that meetings have a detrimental effect on their productivity are more likely to work in software teams that are 18 percent larger than those who do not identify meetings as obstacles.”

The note then states the obvious: “Larger teams are harder to coordinate effectively and some companies fall into a trap that more meetings are the solution.”

Managers and team leaders know that meetings, vague goals, little guidance, and other blockers can wreck a team’s overall productivity. However, it’s also difficult to change a negative office culture without buy-in from pretty much everyone in the organizational ladder—in some cases, it takes the departures of multiple tech pros before management realizes they have a significant set of problems to address.

The first step to fixing these kinds of issues, of course, is communication. Managers and team leaders should regularly query their tech pros about their preferences for meetings and whether they feel like the team’s goals are clearly defined; honest discussion now can always save a lot of effort and difficulty down the road. And while meetings might seem like a solution to many things, it almost goes without saying that many developers hate them—scheduling as few as possible can keep a team happy.