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The rules of efficient meetings

rlxdprogrammer profile image Marcell Lipp Originally published at howtosurviveasaprogrammer.blogspot.com on ・3 min read

Most developers hate meetings. They have the feeling that meetings are just waste of time. But meetings have often a purpose, they can be important. They makes sense and they have an effect on short term or on long term. I collected some points about how to make meetings in an effective way, which is also good for developers.

  1. Always have an agenda

You should have some points what you would like to talk about, so that it is clear for everyone what is the purpose of the meeting. Put it into the invitation.

  1. Invite only necessary people Don’t invite people, who has nothing to do with the topic. They would just waste their time.
  2. Not everyone needs to take part on the whole meeting It can be, that for some of the participants only 1-2 agenda points are relevant. Let them leave when their points are over.
  3. Everyone should have the right to decline the meeting Everyone can decide about his own priorities, so everyone should have the right to the decision to do some higher priority job instead of taking part on the meeting. So no one will have the feeling that he could spend his time much more effective.
  4. Have a meeting invitation with timeframe Always send out a meeting invitation with the start and the end of the meeting.
  5. Hold your timeframe The meeting should really happen in the timeslot when it is scheduled. Don’t be late, don’t make it longer!
  6. Follow the agenda strictly Follow the agenda, don’t start to talk about other random topics. If new topics are coming up schedule another meeting for them.
  7. Make meeting minutes Takes always notes about the meeting and send them to all participants after the meeting. With that you can make sure that everyone has the same understanding and no one will forget the content of the meeting.
  8. In case of regular meetings: if you don’t have topic, just skip the meeting It is really typical that the team has for example a meeting every week. And even if there’s nothing to really talk about they still have that meeting. Why? Really, why? Just skip it in that case!
  9. Pay attention on the meeting If you are already on the meeting pay attention on the meeting: no laptop, no phone, no e-mails!

There is one meeting which is really popular nowadays and it is a bit special, so I would like to mention it separately: this is the daily standup meeting.

The purpose of this meeting is that all team members can share his own status with the team. In theory the team should stand in a circle and each team member has maximum 2 minutes to answer 3 questions: what did you do yesterday? What do you plan for today? To you have any impediments? It sounds easy, but in practice it really often turns into detailed discussion about technical issues, which is simply not the purpose of this meeting. So my suggestion is: if any of the team members would like to reflect on the status report to the other team members just do it face to face after the daily stand up. So that you are not stealing the time of the others.

Discussion

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remotejavadev profile image
Remote Java Dev

Very well said, nice one!