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Weekly Meetings

By js7 ·
Each week we have a meeting were each software developer discusses what they did the previous week. It turns into a fairly boring meeting and we would like to find a way to spruce this up a bit. We have both technical and non-technical participants involoved in the meeting. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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First watch a movie

by DC_GUY In reply to Weekly Meetings

I strongly recommend that you track down a corporate training film titled "Meetings, Bloody Meetings" and screen it at your next meeting. Most of you will love it; it stars John Cleese of Monty Python. The tone is set by a bored subordinate asking the boss, "Why do we have to attend this meeting?" and the boss answering after a few seconds of desperate sputtering, "Because it's the weekly meeting! We have one every week!" In other words, start by questioning the need for this meeting you "have every week." In more than forty years of working for a living, I have consistently found that once a week is way too often to make the whole staff get together for more than fifteen minutes. As you have discovered, there usually just isn't that much to talk about. People have other sources of information, including talking to each other outside the "weekly meeting" and even attending other meetings with one or two of their co-workers. By the time the "weekly meeting" pops up on the calendar, much of what is to be presented is already known by most of the attendees. Most people are not engaging speakers, it's just not part of their job qualifications, so they do indeed put each other to sleep even when they happen to have something important to say. There are organizations that need weekly meetings because of constant crises, changes of priority, surprises, and excess workloads. But that sounds like a law firm, not a well-run IT shop.

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AGREED DC GUY!

by TomSal In reply to First watch a movie

I agree with DC GUY on this one big time.

At my company the amount of meetings is insanely ridiculously high. Thank god I finally managed to get myself cut down to just 3 meetings a week, at one point in time I was attending 7 meetings per work week.

Supervisors here are FORCED to meet 3 (yes I am not kidding I said THREE) times PER DAY for 15 minutes each time.

They meet in the morning, they meet around noon-ish and then they meet at 5 PM before going home.

The top brass is forcing these meetings. I'm telling ya its insane how much the top dogs around here love meetings. They meet on everything. Though I'm a young guy, I've been with the company longer than all the 100 employees except for 10 people (people like the founder of the company, the president, etc.).

All this time, I still have not seen real production come out of all these meetings.

There is in fact only one meeting per week I see real results come from, that's a staff committee meeting -- we review our staff and hiring needs, problems with specific staff members, etc.

Bloody Meetings!!!

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Meetings and Reports

by Oldefar In reply to AGREED DC GUY!

Reports are the number one misused replacement for real work, followed closely by meetings. Both need to be validated on a periodic basis as having a real business objective and real business requirements. While validating the business objective and requirements, it is worth considering if a report or meeting is the best approach.

Reports - a method of disseminating information. Consider alternatives such as Web pages with direct access to the information currently summarized in the report. Consider graphical summaries versus text. Management dashboards are an alternative approach to reports. On line project management may offer a more timely and consistent approach to tracking common objectives.

Meeting - a method of exchanging and expanding upon information. Consider IM and discussion forums for collaboration. Consider physical meetings as a key tool for social interaction and development of interpersonal relations that online solutions fail to do as well.

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Workgroup...?

by SAO In reply to Meetings and Reports

Unlike 'Tomsal' my 'Big Five' organisation does not force us to have meetings, but I agree that most people tend to see a meeting - ANY meeting - as a productive use of their time. When working on a project you DO need to have regular meetings but my solution was to build a virtual meeting room on the company intranet. Thus, group members could post - day or night - any topic pertinent to the project on to the forum. As a result, we found that the frequency of actual physical meetings were reduced from a bi-weekly event to a bi-MONTHLY get together! Another bonus of the virtual 'chatroom' was that co-workers outside of the group but with an interest in the project, could be directed to the site for updates - sparing me the time consuming task of numerous reports!

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Our Execs - against virtual meetings

by TomSal In reply to Workgroup...?

The technology based meeting alternatives like the intranet or IM use, etc. are great -- if the big dogs at your company think they are great.

The guys that run the show here are convinced the only way to conduct a meeting is face to face, no computers, no talking through phones...real live bodies in a room together hashing things out.

Efforts were made in the past (and more than once) to sway them to alternatives to physical meetings, they didn't accept any of them.

Our company's brass are sales people though..they are used to face to face meetings and that whole "schmoozing" thing (which I call BSing, but that's another post).

Anyway.

I still hate meetings.

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Intranet software

by NebAdmin In reply to Workgroup...?

What software do you use for this? I have been looking into different open source which would provide this type of communications..

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Amen brother!

by BlueKnight In reply to AGREED DC GUY!

It's not any different in the public sector either. This week I had 9 meetings scheduled. Fortunately 3 of them were cancelled (daily status meetings on a high visibility project). Some people around here have meetings just to schedule meetings... it's crazy. It seems that just when I get some real concentration focused on whatever I'm working on, it's time for anothe freaking meeting. Just leave me alone and let me get my work done. Otherwise don't expect me to troubleshoot a production status program bug anytime soon.

I'm with y'all on this! Thanks for the comments.

Bloody meetings indeed!

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working in a vacuum

by TomW In reply to Amen brother!

This all sounds just great, let everyone go their own way, do their job. That way no one is accountable for what they do as long as they eventually get that bug fixed. I think this might be even more non-productive than some meetings can be. If your company employs a team of people then all team members need to know what is being worked on by whom, for how long and maybe the approach being taken. In that way, teammates can help each other out, make suggestions, let people know they solved that problem in the past, etc. I have seen people spend weeks working on a bug fix that someone else alreadys fixed 3 weeks ago with 4 hours of work. There are also cases where people work on solving a problem with technology spending 10 hours working on something the company could simply replace for $150 and 30 minutes of work.

I don't think people can work in a vacuum any more than a football running back can win a game without the rest of team knowing what he plans on, and what he does.

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Point Taken - But Be Reasonable

by TomSal In reply to working in a vacuum

Point taken and understood, you do need to communicate with your team. HOWEVER I know I'm not talking about SOME meetings, and I think the others who agree with me have the same opinion...We are talking about EXCESSIVE meetings.

Fine have a critical project your team is working on and you want weekly meetings on it..nothing wrong with that.

But man...7 meetings PER week, that's SEVEN (7) per week..that's crazy. I would doubt that even a critical job like working at the Pentagon has good reason for 7 meetings a week.

(Although of course they take meetings WAY more serious than most companies, they only meet when the need is CRITICAL....if you wonder how I know..I have friends and distant family who are in such jobs).

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Stop Looking into the Past ... 80/20 Rule.....and watch John Cleese :)

by Rev.Capt.Krunch In reply to First watch a movie

1. Spend 80% talking /discussing /reviewing what you intend to do.
2. Spend 20% on what's been...
3. Watch John Cleese

95% spend their work and personal lives talking about the "what happened". Ergo, they spend 80-90 % of their waking time, the present, living in the past.

Question: What's the point of driving down a high in reverse, with only your only your review mirror to see what's coming up in the future?

Most people, propeller heads included, are loathsome to follow this concept because:

1. They may be wrong (about what they have planned / doing).
2. They may be wrong (EGO is killer of all conversation, and bruised is even worse).
3. They may be wrong. (who wants to feed back from peers??? in a forum)
4. see 1,2,3

Lastly, I agree with all threads, John Cleese is very good on "Meetings, Bloody, Meetings".... He also did one on Difficult customers / fear / anger management that was Excellent tooooo... good for when the "worry warts" of your team come along with "crisis" problems all the time...

"live long and prosper",
cpt

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