You Have Too Many Meetings

At this time of year, many people here in Denmark are returning from their holidays. And like office workers the world over, they come back to a calendar full of meetings.

Many of these are regularly recurring meetings. Interestingly, the world did not end while you were on vacation and did not participate in these. So maybe you don’t need to go at all? Or maybe nobody needs that meeting at all?

The people behind the web-based project management tool Basecamp  have written a free book about how to build web software, and it contains many tips that are generally applicable even if you don’t build web software. It turns out they hate useless meetings as much as I do. In the chapter “Meetings are Toxic,”  they propose that the few absolutely necessary meetings adhere to the following rules:

  • Set a 30 minute timer. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period.
  • Invite as few people as possible.
  • Never have a meeting without a clear agenda.

I encourage you to try it and see how it works for your organization.

And by the way, all regularly scheduled meetings (apart from the Daily Scrum  if you are doing Agile) should be cancelled.


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2 thoughts on “You Have Too Many Meetings

  1. Hi Sten,

    My name is Christel and I am on the Pinstriped startup team in Copenhagen. We’re a small group working on tackling the issue of wasted meetings. The Basecamp points you mentioned (setting a timer, limiting invitees, having a clear agenda), are at the heart of the MacOS application we’re currently working on. Might I request your insight on our app?

    We recently opened the beta:

    The majority of meeting tools out there are all about collaboration. We have taken a completely different approach.

    In the spirit of what you wrote, Pinstriped can solve user pains through:
    1. Effective pre-meeting preparation
    2. Efficient meetings (agendas, action items and a timer)
    3. Practical follow-up and reminders

    How are we different from other meeting tools?
    1. We are a Mac desktop application that runs and presents relevant content during the meeting.
    2. We don’t think a browser-based service is right for presenting client-focused external meetings.
    3. Our solution helps meeting owners prepare themselves and their participants keep meetings on track, and makes it easy to send follow-ups and reminders.

    What do you think?

    We crave invaluable feedback likes yours, specifically because of your programming and logic-based background. We want to continue streamlining Pinstriped for both meeting owners and participants. Would you be interested in testing and reviewing it?

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime.


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