Tag Archives: meetings

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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Useful vs Useless Meetings

As I wrote about in my last post, some meetings are incredibly useful and productive. But, as the Wall Street Journal just pointed out, many meetings are a complete waste of time.

Meeting Contribution

The difference lies in whether the meeting has a clear purpose that is articulated in advance. By making the purpose clear up front, you can also make an informed decision about which people are likely to be able to contribute meaningfully, and which people will just be eating donuts and checking Facebook. Don’t invite the latter group.

The above graph is from this week’s issue of the Technology That Fits newsletter, where I discuss the issue further. Sign up here.