I hope that without read my explanation you'll should agree that meetings are evil. Meetings culture leads to less delivery. Managers with calendar that is full are not available for ad hoc advice with their team members, they need to wait for the next “weekly meeting”, they will be less productive.
I believe in informal meetings, In this post of would like to share with you some tips to gain productivity by reduce meetings or at least to make them much efficient.
1. Meetings are not working time - they are sync time
Efficient work can be done in pair with your colleague, without time constraints, informal, without ceremony, focus purely on the task, maybe on that time joining another colleague, maybe going to the DBA for another question. Informal pair work is flexy and let’s you get more efficient productive decisions. Then it is great to set formal meeting to sync on the results.
2. What is your role in the meeting, maybe you should not be there
- Meeting facilitator
- Direct contributor with action items
- Some stakeholder that may consult, or wants to listen
Managers should not attend meeting as manager, unless they have meaningful contribution. If they constantly come the meetings it may be a smell to the fact that they not trust enough their team members. Letting people grow is also letting them make decisions.
If you some stakeholder.. Etc, you must not join the meeting. You will save this precious time and will be able to read the meeting summary afterwards.
Long ago when i was working in big corporate i was keep saying that “Anyone that decides to join my meeting should know that the consequences are that he will end up with action item ”
3. Meeting should have fairly small amount of participants
When there are large amount of people, not everyone are committed to the flow of the conversation, you often see people using their phones, and missing the important parts. Small group (3-4) inherently keeping you focus and much productive. Also in small meeting everyone can speak a lot and share freely their ideas.
4. Time management is crucial
People are tend to derail topic to non relevant esoteric places. As an example for 1 hour meeting that covers 4 topic, the meeting facilitator should stop current topic after each 15 min and move to the next topic. It will be great if he or she will set action items for missing parts and let people to continue offline on the non-completed decisions.
5. Before setting a meeting, ask yourself: “Can we make decisions without the meeting?”
If you know that you can make decision informally, maybe email with a suggestion should be enough, if so then the meeting must not be created.