Spending too much time in meetings? Why not try this?

What about only attending important meetings?

The main problem seems to be that many of the meetings we get invited to don’t seem particularly relevant — we either contribute little or nothing, or get little or nothing out of them. They simply get in the way of our “real” work.

What about leaving meetings if they are not useful?

I’ve worked in one or two companies where they explicitly state — often on a big poster on the meeting room walls — that you are actively encouraged to leave any meeting if you are either not contributng, or not getting anything out of it. Importantly, if you leave a meeting you are not allowed to be criticised in any way.

What about having days, or weeks where no meetings are allowed?

I have seen this idea proposed a lot recently — no meetings on Fridays, or no meetings every 4 weeks, etc. — but I do have reservations. Some meetings, whatever we think, are actually important! We need to tweak that presentation for the £10m pitch on Thursday, but we can’t collaborate because it’s “no meetings Wednesday”? Hmm, not sure that’s workable in practice. What about a post-mortem on that massive production issue we just sorted? We need to do that while it’s fresh in our minds, not a week later because of an arbitrary “it’s a no meeting week” rule.

What about having meeting WIP limits?

So, as an alternative, what if we had a WIP (Work In Progress) limit on meetings? In other, non-Kanban words, what if everybody was only allowed to attend (say) 10 meetings a week, however many invites they received? In the same way that tight WIP limits can improve prioritisation and efficiency in any application of Kanban, meeting WIP limits could help prioritise which meetings are important. For anybody who has ever had a WIP limit on a Backlog, and seen how this really focusses everybody involved into only concentrating on what’s important, discarding everything else, this will seem familiar and, hopefully sensible.

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Building online versions of agile workshops such as the No Estimates game, to see how close we can get to the face-to-face experience for remote or hybrid teams

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Steve Wells

Steve Wells

19 Followers

Building online versions of agile workshops such as the No Estimates game, to see how close we can get to the face-to-face experience for remote or hybrid teams