More effective meetings

Continuing the discussion from Activity discussion – Neos Sprint 2015 – Frankfurt:

so, to add on that, I think that we should avoid standup meetings in Hangouts and instead post our status to some place (and make that mandatory for team members). If there’s something interesting someone would like to know more about, we can still schedule a meeting, this time with a concrete topic.

Here are some thoughts by Sara Rosso who works at Automattic:

Meetings in the business world are often mistaken for “getting work done.” I know people who have had full-days of meetings to provide status updates a simple email would have sufficed for, and tales even of a team sitting on the phone together watching a single person work so they would be assured the project would be done on time. I had a phone call meeting recently that took a combined half hour of the participants’ time to find a good time for the meeting, and then the call lasted less than 5 minutes. And yes, we could have done it by email.

Status meetings are the worst use of collective time. Collective time should be used sparingly, to either help the group get to know each other and build camaraderie, or to arrive at a documentable or actionable decision (which I would argue decisions can still be done asynchronously). Instead of meetings, we publish our status updates every week for the whole team to see, where you say what you will do, and what you have done. Twice monthly, every team rolls the highlights of those updates up to the rest of the company, though any Automattician can visit any team’s internal site at any time to get a peek of what they’re working on.

So do you need a meeting? I think your question should be “do we need to make a decision?” or “what needs to get done?” and do what is necessary, and how, to make that happen, without forcing everyone to be in the same virtual space at the same time.

What do you think about meetings? Further ideas or feelings?


I understand and share you feeling, with the new structure we will have less of those “big” meeting, because communication and posting status will be more natural and parts of the guidelines.

If Synchronizer (care taker) and prioritizer (friendly ass kicker) are used to do async communication about team status, we all have an overview of what happen in the project. Currently I can’t attend the Wednesday meeting because I don’t work this day. This problem can be even more problematic, with more timezone conflict.

Real meeting, will occurs in the Comity of Practice, focus around a single topic with a small number of people. And the status of the meeting will be on discourse so every body can keep in sync.

I have exactly the same feeling about the weekly meetings and stuff as they are definitely not time effective and as such I’m also reluctant to join and find it really hard to ask people to give me the room / space to join such a meeting. So I feel like we should indeed make meetings more time effective.

On the other hand I see a big danger in doing all by typing / tools as that will definitely lower the amount of ‘social contact’. Besides that I think we’ve already a lot of things that we change, and I have doubts if we should hype into more tools / changes.

But maybe changing the hangout format would be a good way (probably more people would participate then too), but I’d not like to loose the so to say ‘face via tcp’ contact, but maybe that could move to the planning / retrospective