Programmer Best Practices — Meetings and Breaks

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To be a professional programmer, there’re many things that we’ve to do to be a good one.

In this article, we’ll look at best practices for meetings and recharging.

Have an Agenda

All meetings need an agenda. Otherwise, we probably achieve anything in our meetings.

We need to know what discussions are on the table so that we can decide if it’s worth it.

If it has no agenda, we can skip them.

If the meeting goes off course or hijacked, then it should request people to stick to the agenda.

If that doesn’t happen, we can leave.

Stand Up Meetings

Stand up meetings are common in agile development.

They are named that we because people in the meeting are supposed to stand so that they’re uncomfortable enough to keep it quick.

All it does is answer 3 questions:

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What am I going to do today?
  • What’s in my way?

These questions shouldn’t take more than a minute to answer altogether.

Even if there are 10 people in it, it should take less than 10 minutes.

Iteration Planning Meetings

Agile development also has iteration planning meetings.

These are hard to do well. They may take too much time.

It’s a valuable skill to do these well.

It’s supposed to take items from the backlog and queue them to work on the next iteration.

There should already be estimates on each item that’s queued.

Also, there should be acceptance or component tests written or sketched out.

We should just go through each item quickly to see if we want to do them in the next iteration.

They shouldn’t take more than 5% of the time of each iteration.

This is a generous estimate.

Retrospectives and Demo

These are done at the end of each iteration.

Team members discuss what went well or wrong.

Stakeholders demo new features.

These can take up lots of time, so we should time-box them so that they don’t take too much time.


Arguments that can’t be settled in 5 minutes can’t be settled by argument.

Anything can happen with arguments.

Some people may argue by force, some may be passive-aggressive.

To end arguments, we can run experiments, do simulation, or models, or we can just pick a choice.


Programing requires concentration and focus. It’s a scare resource.

It’s hard to regain focus after losing it,

We got to keep focus. If we don’t keep it, we lose it.

This is why we should minimize meetings. If all the time is used for meetings, then there’s no time for meetings.


Sleep is important. If we don’t have enough sleep, then we won’t write anything good.

7 to 8 hours is probably enough.

We got to keep a sleep schedule so that we’re energized the next morning.


Some people like coffee to energize themselves.

But they give us jitters that divert our focus.

We may be focusing on the wrong things because of the coffee buzz.


We need rest so that we can get energized and focused again.

People may find different ways to recharge. We may take naps, listen to a podcast, or read books.

It’s hard to focus once we don’t have energy.

Muscle Focus

We may want to do exercises so we can take a break from coding and recharge.

Also, we may also have hobbies to take our mind off coding.

What it is, it’ll improve our muscles and our minds.


We can take a break from work if we can do so.

If something isn’t urgent, we may put it off until later.

At the same time, we’re creating defenses on why we put off the task in case anyone judges.

We can evaluate the priority and ignore personal fears and desires.

Going Down the Wrong Path

It’s possible that we may go down the wrong path with what we’re doing.

This may keep us stuck or lead us down the wrong path.

We can’t avoid this entirely.

However, we do have to realize when we’re in one so we can get out of it.


Meetings are time sinks, so we should keep them short and have an agenda to avoid trailing off.

We also have to recharge to stay focused. And we’ve to get ourselves out of paths that lead to nowhere to get back on track.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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