What kind of meetings are you having?
Happy Monday, those of you who are reading this as it’s published.
I have a challenge for you this week (or any week), inspired by the Agile Conversations Slack group. If you work in software development, you most likely have a bunch of “meetings” throughout the week. Now, I really dislike the term “meeting”, because I find it very general.
In the interest of improving your skills, I invite you to get better at naming things by being more specific about the meeting in question. Try breaking down the meetings by format. For example, you might encounter:
- “status updates”, where a bunch of people deliver information to get in sync;
- “catch-ups”, where 2–3 people talk about what’s on their mind;
- “brainstorming”, where a bunch of people come together to come up with ideas;
- “debates”, where several people argue the relative merits of opposing ideas;
- “decisions”, where people come together to decide a path forward;
- “lectures”, where one person presents something to an audience, possibly with time for Q&A; or
- “ask me anything”, where one person fields questions from an audience.
Names are made up by me. There are many more formats, I’m sure, but this’ll get you started.
Take a look at your calendar for the week, and see if you can tell from the event title and description what kind of meeting you expect. Does it have a format? Does it encompass multiple formats at once? Is it going to be a free-for-all?
When the event comes around, make some notes: see if the format aligns with what you expected, and if the meeting sticks to its format, changes throughout, or devolves into whatever goes. Figure out who’s leading the meeting, and if they made their agenda clear beforehand. Look around to see if people are engaged or if their attention wanders. And finally, make a judgement on whether it was a productive use of your time (and everyone else’s).
In order to improve, we begin by gathering data.
I’d love to hear how this experiment goes. Please let me know.
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