EppsNet Archive: Meetings

Antipattern: Daily Standup is Too Long

19 Jun 2014 /

Scrum recommends timeboxing daily standup meetings at 15 minutes. If you can’t finish in 15 minutes, there may be something wrong with your format.

Are you actually standing up? What are you talking about? Each person should answer three questions:

  1. What have you accomplished since the last meeting?
  2. What do you plan to accomplish between now and the next meeting?
  3. What, if anything, is impeding your progress?

Focus on accomplishments, not just assigned tasks, i.e., don’t say “I’m working on A and I’m planning to work on B.” Don’t have discussions. Anything coming out at the meeting that needs to be discussed can be discussed after the meeting. Try saying this more often: Let’s talk about that after the meeting. Immediately after the meeting if necessary, without even leaving the room, but not during the meeting.

Anyone in the meeting who is not responsible for accomplishing things during the sprint should not be talking.

Are you clicking through a project management tool to review what each team member is working on? Don’t do that. Anyone who wants or needs that information can click through the project management tool on their own time. Talk about accomplishments and blockers.

Why is this important? Well, you can meet or you can work, but you can’t meet and work at the same time. I recently observed a daily standup with 20 attendees (including remote workers) that was running 30 minutes a day, i.e., 15 minutes too long. They were losing 300 minutes per day (15 minutes x 20 people), 25 hours a week, and 100 hours per 4-week sprint.

Do the math on your own standups and decide if it’s important to you.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Limit Your Meeting Attendance

4 Jun 2014 /

If there’s any question as to whether your presence is required, compare your own goals to the meeting’s reason and decide whether the benefit of attending is greater than the benefit of doing something else. To make this decision, ask yourself two questions: “What’s in it for me?” and “What bad thing would happen if I pass on it?”

If the answer is close to “nothing” and “nothing,” find a reason not to attend.


Know Why the Meeting Was Called

1 Jun 2014 /

People call business meetings for seven reasons, so plan accordingly:

  1. To get you to decide something. (Probably useful to you.)
  2. To hone their own ideas. (Maybe useful to you.)
  3. To convey information. (Probably not useful; ask for a document instead)
  4. To test out a presentation. (Probably not useful unless it’s your boss.)
  5. To accomplish group writing. (Never useful to anybody.)
  6. To prove their own importance. (Never useful to anybody.)
  7. To fulfill a process step. (Never useful to anybody.)

How Did Civility Die?

18 Jul 2012 /

Dilbert


Dilbert: Arrogance in Meetings

11 Feb 2012 /

Dilbert


Dilbert: A Quick Meeting in Seattle

8 Dec 2011 /

Dilbert.com


In a Conference Room

18 Nov 2011 /

Stop being false just because you’re in a conference room. Start actively engaging. For example, when you think an idea someone states, or one a group adopts, is a poor one, investigate it. Either you don’t understand it, or it is a poor idea. Stop everything, and find out why someone would say such a thing at this time. What was the purpose? What is the meaning of the contribution? Your teammates will have to live with your inquisitive engagement. You will be present, and you will engage them. You will see them. You will hear what they say. You will seek information about their emotional states, beliefs, plans, and skills. You will connect with other team members to the maximum extent possible. They will have to adjust to your strategy and its results or else not invite you–which would be fine.

— Jim and Michele McCarthy, Software for Your Head

Just Say No to Meetings

18 Dec 2010 /

No one likes meetings, but we can’t stop having them

Many of my co-workers say they spend too much time in meetings. I notice that they keep going to the meetings though.

If I really thought I was spending too much time in meetings and I kept going anyway, I would have to question my own integrity.


Don’t Invite Me

13 Nov 2010 /

If you invite me to a meeting, you’ll get my opinion.

I’ll probably try to state it in a way that’s interesting and memorable — because I want you to remember it.

Don’t confuse that with being frivolous though. I’m not pulling this stuff out of the air. It’s based on decades of knowledge and experience.

If you’ve already decided what you want to do no matter what I say, don’t invite me to the meeting.

If you want me to agree that something is a good idea when I don’t think it is, don’t invite me to the meeting.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Tags: ,

Twitter: 2010-09-16

16 Sep 2010 /
Twitter

Introductions

6 Aug 2010 /

Dilbert.com


Thought for the Day

13 Apr 2010 /
Thought

Sometimes it is worth trying to find a way to solve problems that doesn’t involve more structure, more meetings, more roles, more documents, more setup.


Twitter: 2009-12-14

14 Dec 2009 /

Passive-Aggressive Responses

14 Oct 2009 /

I’ve got a manager’s meeting later this morning to address the question “What is the impact of passive-aggressive team members?”

Possible responses:

  • “How should I know?”
  • “Why am I always the first person called on? This is so unfair.”
  • Roll eyes and sigh loudly.
  • Show up late for the meeting and avoid eye contact with anyone.

Why (Some) People Love Meetings

18 May 2009 /

[W]hat … meetings are doing is playing out an emotional drama–conflict, blaming, flirting, one-upsmanship, random outbursts, anger, and so forth….the soap-opera aspects of meetings are the most exciting parts of their jobs….

Indeed, these people are often upset if I show them how to conduct well-run meetings, because I’ve taken all the joy out of their lives.


I Had a Great Meeting

4 Dec 2008 /

I had a great meeting today — eight women plus myself.

That’s not why it was great though.

These ladies want to launch an online Education Room with webinars, a speaker directory, announcements of upcoming events . . . they have none of the content ready . . . and they want to launch it on Jan. 1, 2009.

So instead of talking about how they’re planning to get the content to me so I can build the thing, they’re saying things like, “When you hover over a webinar link, it will display a description of the content — like on Netflix . . .”

Netflix. Right. So I say, “You’re not gonna get that.”

Oh, they loved it! They laughed and laughed. They knew it was ridiculous, they just wanted someone to tell them it was ridiculous.

Women love a masterful man who’s good at his work.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Declinations

14 Oct 2008 /

I’m going to start declining invitations to meetings that have

  1. vague goals;
  2. a long list of invitees who don’t know how to come to the point;
  3. a moderator who doesn’t know when to cut people off.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Tags:

How to Destroy Creativity

25 Oct 2007 /
  • Always pretend to know more than anybody else
  • Police your employees by every procedural means
  • Have your professionally-trained staff members do technicians’ work for long periods of time
  • Erect the highest possible barrier between commercial decision-makers and your technical staff
  • Don’t speak to employees on a personal level, except when announcing raises
  • Be the exclusive spokesman for everything for which you are responsible
  • Say yes to new ideas, but do nothing about them
  • Call many meetings
  • Put every new idea through channels
  • Worry about the budget
  • Cultivate the not-invented-here syndrome