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Meetings: some tips how to make life better

December 7, 2015

Have you ever thought about meetings as the least productive part of your work day? Sometimes you are just visiting meetings, follow ups and so on and have no enough time for your direct responsibilities. Recently I have notice great article “Meetings that don’t suck” by Ken Norton, former product manager of @Google. Below I describe main principles that were mentioned in the article and I’ll give some comments about concerning main aspects of the not-manager position.

Kill the status meeting
Actually, everything is right, specially when short status meeting turns to yet another dispute or the vast majority of people even don’t need be on the meeting. For them it is just enough to read e-mail with results. But it turns to others cons most of people stop reading e-mails and don’t use filters to highlight really important ones.
The same with “check-in” meetings. Instead of some articles in corporate wiki I need to bother at least two people to find out information.

Every meeting must have a single owner

This person is responsible for sharing the purpose and the agenda, identifying decision-makers, arranging follow-up and sending notes.

But sometimes there are meeting just for meetings. Have courage and decline the invitation or leave – it is just a waste of time.

Your calendar doesn’t make you important

You’re a manager, not a professional meeting attendee.

If you don’t trust your team, co-workers? If no one wants to be responsible for things they are doing may be it’s time to think about changing people with more reliable ones.

Calendars shouldn’t postpone decisions

If a decision is urgent, gather the decision-makers right away. Create a culture of urgency where decisions are made quickly and aren’t allowed to fester.

Absolutely right. If you got emergency in production or some blocker issues are found – gather people who can fix it up.

Keep meetings small

Teams should send representatives rather than the entire group. If you can’t figure out how to hold the meeting with a smaller group, rethink your goals or divide and conquer.

Right, otherwise it leads to dispute, takes a lot of time and became boring.

Consider the opportunity cost of every meeting

How much will this meeting cost your company? For example, a two-hour meeting with 16 attendees is 32 person-hours. That’s almost an entire person-week of time.

There was a case in my practice when the Skype http bug was found and tons of arcticles ware on the web how to reproduce it on some versions. One of our teammates sent in overall company chat that link and crashed skype of many employees – the workday was ruined to make skype work properly. Nice joke, dude! It also shows how he is irresponsible and do not value other’s time.

If the meeting is over, end the meeting
Well done, you are on the right way.


Instead of conclusion

After rereading the article again and again one can recall more cases from their work path. If you have got some more cases to write, then mention them in the comments that will proof ideas mentioned in the article

From → Management

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