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Tomasz Łakomy
Tomasz Łakomy

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

10 rules of a successful meeting in a tech company

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I've been a part of 5 different (non-remote) companies over the last couple of years and those are the things I've personally seen to work really well.

  1. There's an agenda, emailed to everyone days in advance. Preferably with a desired outcome of the meeting. Everyone attending should be able to answer the question: "why are we here?"

  2. It's clear who's running the meeting. A meeting without an owner is what we refer to as 'clusterfuck'. This person doesn't need to be a professional moderator, scrum master or whatever but at least they should ensure that people are not talking about Tim's new scooter for 15 minutes.

  3. Start with a prototype. If a meeting revolves around creating a documentation of your hiring process (for example), get someone to write a draft version first. Do not make 10 people stare at a blank sheet of Google Docs paper. It's so much easier to collaborate on something that has been already started than to start from scratch, especially as a committee.

  4. People are awake, focused. Laptops are closed, phones remain in their pockets. If you really need to answer that crucial Slack message, consider leaving the room for a second in order not to distract others.

  5. It's obvious whether it's a decision meeting or a debate meeting. This is highly important - your team members need to know whether they need to make a decision about the new architecture change at the end of this meeting or they are meant to discuss the idea and come to conclusions later.

  6. Someone is writing down action points/notes. It would be absolutely fantastic if that person would be informed about that expectation before the meeting starts.

  7. If there's any audio/video connection involved - the room is prepared well in advance. If you're running the meeting, get to the room 5-10 minutes earlier. Make sure that the TV works, audio is on, microphone is not laying in the corner of the room. Do not make 20 people wait while you're fumbling with an HDMI cable.

  8. Don't organise meetings that could be an email instead. Let me repeat that.

  9. Do not organise meetings that could be an email instead.

  10. And most importantly, respect others' time. Do not keep 15 minute meeting artificially running for an hour because your pizza arrives at 1pm and you really don't have anything useful to do in between.

Was that helpful? Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, my handle is @tlakomy

Top comments (6)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Haha I like the part do not organise meetings that could be an email instead.

This is the one that gets to me since I had been in those that is literally wasting everyone's time to meet for the sake of meeting for everyone.

skyandsand profile image
Chris C • Edited

A meeting without an owner is what we refer to as 'clusterfuck'

bravo. lol

I do like taking notes on my laptop, though. So I'm keeping it open. I also might check the forecast or pay some bills while the guy who rambles on 500 miles away is thinking out loud into his microphone =p

for shagrins: "Every meeting in 2019"

beggars profile image
Dwayne Charrington • Edited

You can add another two important items to your list, Tomasz.

11 Only invite people to the meeting who need to be in the meeting. Don't invite everyone, only to have a meeting that is only relevant to a specific team or group of people.

12 If the meeting spills into lunch, either postpone the meeting or if it is important, feed everyone. you don't want to be in a meeting watching the clock tick away as the energy depletes as hunger sets in as you start to eye-off your coworkers as lunch options.

stefandorresteijn profile image
Stefan Dorresteijn

I'd add "Make sure every item in the agenda has a time limit" to #1. Otherwise you'll end up talking about your first 4 items for an hour while the other 8 items are left for the next meeting.

Anything that can't be discussed within the time limit you give it, wasn't properly thought through before the meeting and should be researched more.

jeikabu profile image

I read and re-read the list, but I just can’t find “coffee” anywhere. ;)

Perhaps it’s equal parts agenda, owner, and respecting other people’s time, but time-boxing is often invaluable.

tlakomy profile image
Tomasz Łakomy

Ha, I don’t actually drink coffee 😅