General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2287318

    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.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3382819

      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.

      • #3381777

        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!!!

        • #3381707

          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.

        • #2695922


          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!

        • #3383428

          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).


          I still hate meetings.

        • #2667096

          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..

        • #3383420

          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!

        • #3383402

          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.

        • #2674371

          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).

      • #3383348

        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”,

    • #3382815


      by maecuff ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Something I started to bring a little life to our weekly staff meeting was to ask each person to take turns putting on a ‘mini’ presentation, 10 -15 minutes tops. The subject could be anything ranging from stress mgmt/time mgmt to a new product they’ve read about to a programming ‘trick’ they may have picked up. We don’t do this every week as it would get burdomsome, we schedule a monthly presentation. It helps my staff with their presentation skills and, hopefully, passes along some useful information.

      Also, we pitch in for cake and icecream for birthdays and celebrate at the weekly meeting when the occasion arises.

      my 2 sense..

      • #2695945

        shifting focus

        by jerome_50 ·

        In reply to suggestion

        Normally we adopt the method of shiting focus in each of the weekly review meetings from management’s view point on the SDLC process and splitting the group to the extent of individuals on the roles and responsibilities. Also Demo of the products by a member randomly chosen for presentation to know whether they have full/partial knowledge at least monthly once. Asking for individuals opinion on the features/functionalities. Otherwise it will be monotonous.


      • #2695911

        Motivational Quotes

        by ole88 ·

        In reply to suggestion

        In our workgroup, every 2, 3, or 4 weeks, we have a motivational moment where each member of our team finds something of motivational value to themselves and shares it with the team. This helps break the meetings up a bit and gives us something other than work (that may be related to work) to think about. We have weekly meetings to give project updates, get updated information from senior staff meetings and other organizational information to keep everyone “in the know.”

        Try having some sort of motivational meeting, either in a weekly (or bi-weekly, etc.) meeting or on a different day. This will give some other research topic out and it can be interesting. In our group, we are also pretty close, so we joke around a bit too – that really helps meetings out.

      • #3383483

        A bit of work involved but:

        by johngenzano ·

        In reply to suggestion

        I had a program I have since lost, but it should not be hard for one of us to duplicate. It ran on a stand alone PC (or laptop). The way it worked, was that as each person entered the meeting room, I would enter their approximate (or exact if I knew it) hourly pay or annual salary. About every 5 minutes, a large (physically) number would appear on the display, showing the cost to that point of the meeting. Useless meetings (like those that could be replaced by reports over email) suddenly stopped happening.

    • #2695943

      Keep a log of events to Discuss

      by suppiah ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Keep a log, and input events as an when it happens to discuss. In this way during the meeting you will have more new or interesting things to discuss. I use Notes in the Outlook to input meetings discussion topics.

    • #2695942

      Meeting Co-ordinator

      by alap ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Weekly meetings….aaaah….
      Here’s what we do as a policy. For all meetings, whether they are weekly update meetings or business meetings or corporate presentations, we have some one person acting as a meetnig co-ordinator. This person is usually a lively, engaging talker (typically a senior) who creates agendas for the said meeting and leads the meeting with specific time allotments to each agenda. In your case, your weekly progress meetings can have time slots for each speaker. The speaker asks for a time extension if required. Each speaker’s topics and points can be discussed during the interval between speakers. This forms a more organized manner of conducting meetings.

      We also have a lot of creative games and group activities that we use for brainstorming sessions and progress meetings. Please feel free to ask me for them if needed.

      • #3383419

        Future Focus

        by tuckerglt ·

        In reply to Meeting Co-ordinator

        Instead of talking about what happened last week it would be better to focus on the work in progress. Especially any areas that people are having problems with. Since you have both technical and non-technical people present they should focus on questions that need the insight of the people they do not normally interact with. Technical people should be finding out what the end user wants, non-technical people should focus their questions on how the technical process achieves results so they better understand the process. Most people don’t like admitting they need help but over time this can be a great benefit as points of view are shared.
        If you have to have the meeting, make it help everyone, including the customer.

      • #3383481


        by bdraeger429 ·

        In reply to Meeting Co-ordinator

        Having a meeting without an agenda and a respected moderator is a total waste of time. I agree with you in this case. If the boss is the Senior member that makes it very effective.


    • #2695940

      4 ideas

      by obi_boy ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I’m not an IT guy but attend plenty of meetings. Never found meetings that mostly focus on what others did since last meeting very helpful. Idea #1: have members ID a unique problem faced since last meeting and then present their solution. Use meeting as learning experience. Idea #2: Find a book that may be helpful in business/personal lives (cross application really important, because in the end personal fulfillment more important than work for most people), read a chapter between meetings, then dialogue how members see application to work/personal lives (The 5th Discipline, Peter Senge, might be a good book to start with). Idea #3: agendas are important — have members submit topics desired to be discussed in advance of meeting, distribute agenda at least couple of days before meeting, be sure to have present key people for agenda items. Idea #4: have members dialogue/brainstorm a meeting form that would be helpful to them (don’t talk about ideas until all ideas are on the board, then have members each list top 3-5 ideas on “ballots,” rank votes to prioritize ideas, then dialogue each of the top ideas).

      • #2695905

        Meeting for..

        by oldefar ·

        In reply to 4 ideas

        Just wondering why these meetings are being held.

    • #2695932

      Have you ever considered a fancy dress meeting.

      by jpurchase ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      vicars & tarts
      TV Characters

      the possibilities are endless

    • #2695931

      Boring meetings

      by rockytop ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I’ve encountered the same thing as a manager. If this is a staff meeting, I would suggest that the topics be discussed that everyone needs to know and have a separate meeting for the developers. Also, let the the group know on the front-end that after the staff meeting, there will be a separate meeting with the developers and those who are interested may stay, but they aren’t obligated to do so. In most cases, you’ll find that the only people who remain are the developers, unless you have a BA or PM who happens to have some interest. Hope this helps.

    • #2695930

      Why not…….

      by whatno.. ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      ….periodically ask a supplier in to give a presentation on a topic of relevance

    • #2695929

      Deverloper/ User Interchange

      by aldoseri ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Technical people always like to show their knowledge & they simply talk with twisted thugs in order to either win them or lose them…

      Both the Developer & the user have to lay common grounds in order to communicate… by this both parties shall get the benefit out of the meeting & be able to contribute toward the best of the organization.


    • #2695926

      Stand up Meetings

      by josir ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      What we usually do is Stand up Meetings, that is nobody can seat. In that way, people generally become more concise and only important matters are discussed. The practie said that the meeting occurs quicker than a “seated meeting”. This is only suitable for small group meetings (max.10 persons)

      • #3383330

        No chairs plus an agenda with objectives.

        by r.mckenzie ·

        In reply to Stand up Meetings

        I agree.

        Chairs allow people to view meetings as an alternative to work, where they can listen to themselves speak or daydream while others talk. Standing keeps them focussed. And make it just before the lunch break.

        I also believe that all meetings deserve an agenda which includes the objective…eg, “To decide how to handle Jack’s work now that he is leaving next week.”


        Ross McKenzie
        Melbourne Australia

    • #2695924

      Have a Stand-Up Meeting

      by heropin ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Have a stand-up meeting more often, maybe even daily. First thing in the morning is best. Set the meeting to last 10 minutes where all participants stand up in the room. Then go around the room and have everyone state their status in a minute or two (or less). Having everyone stand up seems to keep the meeting short and wanting to end the meeting so they can go and sit down!

    • #2695923

      Get rid of the meeting

      by jimgon ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Get rid of the meeting. Have everyone do a weekly status report on the IT side. The manger can then roll those up to a “client” report for the users. It would probably take the IT folks 30 minutes a week to write the report and the manager 1 hour to roll it up. I would expect that your net effect would be that the IT folks will spend more time on IT and less time on meetings. You can also get around the majority of project status meetings this way too.

      • #3383331

        Could not agree more!

        by futurist ·

        In reply to Get rid of the meeting

        Definately drop the meeting and do as jimgon suggests. Meetings should be minimal, fast and deal only with set items with an expected outcome. The sort of stuff you are dealing with is newsletter stuff.

    • #2695921

      Define your requirements

      by canyoneer ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Similar to an IT project, start with the requirements for the meeting. Why are you having the meeting? Who are the stakeholders and what do they need from the meetings? Who are the required participants? I’ve found if you openly answer those questions and commuicate your findings, the boredom factor goes way down because there now exists a sense of purpose for the meeting. Attendees know what’s expected and why the meeting’s important.

      Often, such analysis results in the scrapping of the meeting for a more effective means of communication (intranet postings, portal, etc.).

    • #2695914

      what we will do!

      by herrmanso ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I assume a meeting against plan: We planed versus We do and We will do.
      A control meeting is a fast meeting, isn?t to eat or to talk, is a surgeon fast operation, some espontaneous jokes are granted, some references to similarities with the country are welcome.
      Use the Riddle against Batman.

    • #2695913

      Who is the meeting for?

      by ponderworks ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Who is this meeting for? If it is for the tech staff, has anyone bothered to check what it is they feel they need to know each week? The key to any successful meeting is knowing who the meeting is for.

      Then you only invite those people who can contribute to what the purpose of the meeting is. You can also use the purpose of the meeting as a way to scope it down to only the essentials. Any good project manager knows that a short, targeted, concise, meeting is a good meeting. Anything else is a waste of time and resources.

      Don’t forget to clearly state or write on a flip chart or agenda the purpose/objectives of the meeting. Someone should be responsible to make sure it stays on track.

    • #2695912

      My 2 cents

      by frobinsn ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Hey I know ur pain, but a room of developers and and non-technical participants can be painful. techies always want to show off and basically it confuses or fustrates the non-techies most of the time.
      KISS – keep it simple and brief, have a 1 page agenda no more in an easily readable format. Keep the major items explained on a non-technical level. Circulate pre-meeting the agenda and any other goodies. Keep it sweet always provide food I have never seen anything bring people together like food let the group decide on the menu’s in advance where possible. limit the amount of time each person has and please very importantly moderate the meeting. Oh try to business align the developers achievements u know talk business benefits and $$$ that way both the non-techies and techies get a better appreciation for the work being done.

      Recognise the attendees and their participation because they are very critical to the success of the meetings and show ur appreciation.

      Break from the meetings every now and then when the agenda items seem somewhat negligable

      AIM for the Stars – try forming a user group if one isn’t already there that way u get only interested people and u may reduce the participants in the meeting redcuing the time for the meeting because more things can be taken offline.

    • #2695909

      Weekly Meetings – Exceptional

      by knudson ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Why bother dealing with the expected results of each developer — in the status meeting simply cover the exceptional items: things delivered early, things that pose a risk to the schedule, areas that are behind schedule. We have our master project schedule with what every developer has signed on to complete and at what time the work is due. If everyone is on track, then there’s nothing special to discuss and no point going around the room to hear “I’m on track” status reports from everybody.

      Since most status meetings should be short on actual reports (since everyone should be on track ;-)) you can spend the time in the meeting having individuals present a brief overview of the area in which they are responsible. If one person is in charge of reporting, she might do an overview on how the reports are generated etc. This helps to spread the knowledge across the team and enables others to be able to assist or take over in the event of illness etc. Not to mention, it can be a lot of fun to share with your peers some of the really clever solutions you may have come up with and teach everyone on your team a few new tricks.

    • #2695908

      Focus on what’s ahead instead of behind

      by crivers ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      While you could reflect on the past week, what may help make things a bit more exciting is for people to take the week behind them and do two things. 1-Each person talks about anything new that they learned in the past work week. 2-Each person talks about an issue that is troubling them and have some time for others to reflect and provide feedback.

      After that, the meat of the meeting could focus on moving forward — areas to follow up on from the past week, planning, vision, etc.

      I also highly recommend having the meeting in the beginning of the week, versus the end of the week as that tends to place more focus on “what did you do this week” versus, “what lies ahead for you this week?”.

      You could also try alternative formats — if you have the resources and ability, move the meetings to different places such as somewhere outside (if warm enough). Get creative. The same old boring place for a meeting helps add to the same old boring meetings.

    • #2695906

      Weekly Meetings

      by jaxjazzy ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Hello js7

      At one time I was the Computer Operations Supervisor at a San Diego based HMO, and one of my responsibilities was to gather daily results from previous night runs and develop a report to present to a production meeting I chaired on Monday’s and Thursday’s with programmers, department supervisors, directors, secretaries, and department heads. About 15 people
      At one point I found the meeting was becoming boring and I wanted to put a spark in the meeting and make it interesting.
      1. One thing I did was changed the venue. Instead of meeting in the same conference room, I would reserve different locations for the meeting and since we were in San Diego sometimes (weather permitting) we would meet in the companys luncheon park that overlooked a freeway.
      2. The meetings were slated for an hour, but at different times I would make like there was a big urgency and we had to hurry up and give and get bare bones info and the rest would be picked up at the next meeting.
      3. At times I would share the responsibility of charing and collectively select one other attendee to chair the next meeting, so that person would have to go through the urgency of collecting data for presentation. This process was later taken as evaluating quality in semi-annual progress reports.

      Hope this helps

    • #3383467

      Making it worse

      by rlauver ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Many of these suggestions just make things worse — they add to content and time by turning meetings into seminars, discussion groups and parties. The idea is to share info, get a plan of action, and then get back to work. Suggest you watch “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN. They roll through topics in 90 second bursts controlled by a bell. You hit what’s hot and take detailed issues off-line for discussion by only those involved. We have meetings and teleconferences involving 15 people that last only a half hour.

    • #3383445

      Relavence, agendas & highlights oh my

      by theisey ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      First, consider the crowd. Meetings should be targeted to everyone there. Either trim the agenda or the people – Consider splitting it into two or more submeetings if things get too technical. The whole group could meet for a shorter time or less often to prevent meetings from taking over the schedule.

      I try to keep the meetings on track with a prepared agenda of items to cover. Make the list available and let everyone know that excursions are not appreciated. If & when someone gets off subject, gently enforce that rule and get everyone back on track.

      Keep technical information in general meetings to highlights only. Team meetings can get down into the details. For example, the general meetings might cover the fact that the programmers have rewritten the code to make the shopping cart more user friendly while the programming team can discuss how it was done.

    • #3383444

      Meeting Killers Free Article

      by chris ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I am in meetings all the time, some good and some beyond horrible. In fact, most seem to be beyond horrible. I walk away wanting to pull my hair out. I even conduct meetings for various groups of people. I try to make it the best I can and give them something to take home with.

      I founded my company to help businesses succeed. This is one area, meetings, where companies could do better. I am in the process of developing a special report on how to have better meetings. The article will be called, “How to kill a meeting.” If you are interested, I can send you a free copy of it once it is finished in the next week.

      To get a copy, send an email to and put FREE COPY in the subject line.

      Check out our website to see how we can help you —


    • #3383439

      Implement GDSS

      by chaitanya ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings


      Implement GDSS(Group Discussion Support System).


      • #2674119


        by bmaresc1 ·

        In reply to Implement GDSS


        Do you have practical experiences with GDSS ?


    • #3383438

      A little “competition”

      by leewc ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Instead of limiting your accomplishments to what is directed from the top down, expand the view by evoking one or two short term goals from each worker bee. The next week see who met their self-stated target and how. No target should stay on the board more than 2 weeks. This hopefully will energize a little friendly competition and collaboration.

    • #3383436

      Weekly Meetings

      by jcallahantx ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Vary the venue of the meeting – try off-site once in a while.
      Assign different members to chair the meeting or sponsor the meeting with a theme.
      Skip a week.

    • #3383434


      by anton.starling ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      One thing I have learnt with cross functional meetings: Never invite resource that may not be needed, rather have them on standby. They will not get bored, and they can be productive elswhere until you may need them. Secondly, try to rotate the chairperson every meeting to provide different challenges and leadership development.

    • #3383426

      Involve end users

      by jlquiroz ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      End users always have requests for improving or adding new options to applications. Distribute the requests to the developers and make them show the results they’ve accomplish during the next meeting. This will create a little competition.

    • #3383425

      Remove all chairs from the room.

      by pricem ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Just once, remove the chairs from the meeting room and force everyone to stand.

      The meeting will move quickly. It won’t be boring.

      • #3383486

        Did that, they just stretch out on the carpet

        by gnx ·

        In reply to Remove all chairs from the room.

        We tried that but alot of people just stretched out on the carpet. The boss loves meetings and talking big words. So short of duct taping his mouth shut, we get 2+ hour meetings every Friday morning at 9 am sharp. At least they serve breakfast. Gotta go get ready for Friday’s big meeting. Wake me up around 10:30.

    • #3383424

      Reply To: Weekly Meetings

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I used to be the manager of a group of six developers and we had a meeting every Monday morning to say (not discuss) what we did the previous week and planned to do the coming week. The entire meeting was limited to 15 minutes total (we would actually set an alarm) and we found it very useful. The key thing is to enter the meeting with the right mindset. The meeting is not primarily to share information, or even for planning. It is primarily to plan to plan, i.e. to make a list of items that need to be addressed in the coming week, possibly by other meetings. Afterwards, I as the manager would arrange any followup meetings, each with only the people that would need to be there. That made all the meetings much more efficient and productive.

      At that same company we had a weekly managers meeting with the president (a micro-manager to the max) that was an example of how not to do things. The meeting consistently lasted 2-3 hours and we discussed every issue in detail. That was a huge waste of time because for any given issue most of the attendees were not involved.

    • #3383418

      Define why you are meeting

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Need to have a clear purpose for meeting, as well as have an agenda printed up.

      If the organizer can’t answer the following, you shouldn’t be having the meetings.

      1) Why are we here
      2) Why this often (do events change that much?)
      3) What is the VALUE to the company
      4) What would happen if there were half as many meetings?

      I am now down to two meetings a month.

    • #3383485

      Hold On! It?s Nice to Attend Meetings!

      by youraveragemanager ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      From the IT employment search perspective lets stop for a moment and focus on simply having the opportunity to provide any valued contribution to the organization.

      First, if the organization is in a position to promote meetings that are focused on socialization, what a great opportunity to learn about people. If the meeting is operational, then do your best to listen, stay engaged, and contributing helps.

      If the meeting does not have a strong chairperson to guide it, present the advantages of rotating that responsibility so that others can learn and grow. If it is productivity that you are after, ask that people consider not having a meeting if no meaningful agenda (purpose) can be created. So, if you propose a meeting, do your homework and send the agenda out before the meeting. When invited to a meeting, I would contact the individual and request a copy of the agenda. At that point it is an opportunity to educate or receive an agenda. Occasionally, not having an agenda is an opportunity to decline.

      The number of participants in the meeting matters. Small groups are best for working out concepts and problems. Large groups are best for decision announcement or yes/no decisions, for confirmation or education. Ask yourself in the meeting if there is any way I can make this better for everyone right now. When people disengage during a meeting and we all can see this when it happen, it takes leadership talents to bring them back. Have a little fun, and give it a shot when you see this happen.

      And, don?t take it all too seriously, it is nice when meetings are productive, but even when they are not, it beats some of the other alternatives.


    • #3383480

      Let’s sum it up…

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      …before this becomes another one of those threads that goes on forever. Looking over the postings, the objections to meetings focus on the following. 1. Meeting is held too often. A good manager can stop and judge how often is right. Sometimes backing off from weekly to bi-weekly is all it takes. 2. Meeting is too long. Ninety minutes is the human maximum, sixty is better. Use the well-known but little-practiced methods to make the meeting more focused and less boring: agenda, facilitator, scribe, one person speaking at a time, shut down off-topic discussions, take items of interest to only a few attendees offline — heck, pass a “talking stick” if it works for you. No chairs? For us older folks, standing in one place for even 15 minutes can give us a backache that lasts until tomorrow. Employees have a right to assume that “office work” is done in a sitting position. 3. Too many meetings on the calendar. Someone higher up in the organization should be looking at this. If not, the various meeting organizers should have the management skill to reach a compromise when my meeting impacts your project. 4. Meetings are boring. Well sometimes they are, that’s life. But many good suggestions have been made here to liven them up. Every meeting should have at least one agenda item that is guaranteed to be interesting to most attendees even if it is a stretch from the group’s mission. Be creative and chalk it up to morale-boosting if necessary, that is a legitimate objective. 5. Manager won’t take any of these suggestions, insists on weekly meetings, talks too much. Your manager is obviously not well-suited for their job, and/or has not taken any recent management training classes. In fact, this may be the reason for any of the previous problems as well. Bad management is difficult to deal with, especially since there’s usually someone up their reporting chain who is just as bad, or they simply wouldn’t be getting away with it. But there are surely some far worse consequences of their bad management skills than a few long, boring meetings — consequences that are much more evident to project stakeholders. Look for something ELSE that is a big problem for somebody ELSE, somebody with a little POWER, and make them your ally. A little subversion is sometimes your last resort. Just make sure that it’s really the meeting that is the problem and not your own attitude. ^_^

      • #3383344

        One final thought ..

        by general ·

        In reply to Let’s sum it up…

        There is a lot of good content in this thread. One thing I have had the opportunity to learn about that was not mentioned here is learning theory specialist. They are people who analyze how people learn, what’s retained etc.

        They have discovered that the more stimuli provided in a meeting the better the retention. For example the use of color in the meeting material, squeeze balls on the table to play with (or some type of toy), food (always a good one) provide different stimulus to our senses therefore making the experience a more interactive one and more memorable.

        Anyway try some of these variations and see what happens worse case scenario you’ll end up playing catch or having a food fight eh?

    • #3383342

      Open Execs eyes

      by ozi eagle ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Many years ago my boss had an idea to show his bosses what meetings cost, in hard dollars. At the time it was impractical, due to PCs and laptops not having been invented.

      His suggestion was to have a device at the entry door into which every person attending the meeting entered their annual salary as they arrived. The internals of the device then calculated the incremental cost of the meeting based on the salaries and time spent by all the attendees.

      Today it sounds like a job for a laptop, displaying something like


      in big letters.

      Maybe the message will get across:- keep it simple, keep it to the point and keep it short if the meeting is absolutely necessary.

    • #3383326

      keep it short by . . .

      by a contractor ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Keep these kind of meetings short by having people stick to the basics, high points of what they did, problems they are having as to solicit ideas, and plans for the coming week to see if they have a conflict with someone else. Then get’em back to work.

    • #3383324

      Let’s take a different approach!!!

      by yule ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      First off, during the weeks before your turn at bat, try to keep a record of all the email spam, viruses, and dumb jokes you recieved in your email. Good jokes don’t count. Next, track all the stupid phone calls you received, Add a list of stupid memo’s and junk mail. You have just discovered your topic – “Why I didn’t get as much done as I could have!!!” Augment the concept that this meeting also should be applied.

      Next item – -If your a little shy about the first idea, on a meeting day you don’t have to speak, take about a half dozen small nerf balls to the meeting. When you notice cohorts dozing off – – Get them!! As the jolt awake, remind them that they have to stay awake and take there dues just like you do. Ad lib as needed.

      Third, It’s obviouse that someone needs to know whats going on in the department – – like your boss!!! Sooooo – – let’s get techie about it – – – Get the folks to create internal BLOG pages – that way you can insult the Boss and everyone can read about what your doing – – and not doing – – like meetings!!!

      Nuff said

    • #3383322

      How my PM did meetings

      by pyggi ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I assume you’re involved in a project that requires weekly meetings and your project manager might have come up with this idea to get everybody together in one room and keep one another in the loop. I had a PM who followed this procedure to keep weekly meetings concise & to the point (we had Wednesday meetings & a common, baseline schedule for discussion):

      1) PM sends out next week’s agenda on Friday via email to all team leaders

      2) Team leaders view & update agenda (takes only 5 minutes) & reply by email to PM

      3) PM sends out final, expected agenda by Friday end-of-day to all teams

      4) By Wednesday, everyone knows what’s going to be talked about, so we usually end up discussing updates from Monday or Tuesday activities after the first 10 minutes, which then makes the meeting more interesting & engaging for the next 20 minutes or so.

      Any team can even excuse themselves at some point in the meeting if they find they cannot contribute anything further to the current & subsequent discussions. Sometimes a team would excuse themselves altogether from attending the meeting (they make up for it in the next meeting). BTW, only team leaders or lead developers are required to attend.


    • #3383321

      Not only boring but unproductive,,,

      by txgold ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      It makes more sense to have each developer send a short synopsis to the project manager who can distribute this to everyone before the meeting. Then the meeting can be used to discuss any hot “issues” or problems or questions that anyone is having and wants the participant’s opinion on. If no issues, then the re-iterate the current deadlines to the group and adjourn so people can work. Just a suggestion that has worked for me in the past. Short and sweet!

      • #2691827

        I like it!

        by babs_1957 ·

        In reply to Not only boring but unproductive,,,

        I like your suggestion TXGold. I too think that meetings, even status meetings (I’m a PM), should keep to the exceptional items (i.e., what is worthy of recognition, what is worthy of special attention). There are way too many meetings scheduled to “watch the grass grow.” It is frustrating as an attendee and as one who chairs the calls. Some meetings are inevitable and necessary. Making them count is the real challenge.

    • #3383307

      New products or technology

      by achoiyl ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      It is suggested to ask all participants to discuss about new IT products, trend or technology that they found in the market e.g. seminar or magazine. The speaker(s) may be rotated by individual or group. It will make the meeting more productive, interesting and dicussion…..

    • #3383277

      Meetings Bloody Meetings

      by halltalk ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      Get the video! John Cleese – is great!

    • #3383246

      Let’s have a meeting

      by ian ( chicago ) ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I’ve heard people come from meetings that were over an hour long and say “what a waste of time”.

      How do you conduct a meeting that achieves it’s objective?

      First, the host must determine what they are trying to achieve by scheduling the meeting(s). Is it an exchange of information? Is it to understand a problem? Is it to build a team’s morale?

      Then have an agenda. Stick to the agenda as best as you can. Put time limits on each subject. If the subject continues for longer than scheduled then take it off line – reschedule a new meeting for that particular subject with those individuals.

      If the meeting is a long one, over an hour, have coffee/tea served for an interval. Put the break in the schedule. People will return to the discussion refreshed and willing to continue.

      The bottome line is “don’t waste people’s time”. Make sure you come out of the meeting with the objective achieved.

      • #3383221

        I see that the thread won’t die…

        by dc_guy ·

        In reply to Let’s have a meeting

        …despite my best efforts. ^_^ Hey folks, there are just a ton of resources out there on how to plan and conduct meetings that have the maximum probability of turning out to be worthwhile. Training films, books, articles, even actual *gasp* classes! If you’re really having a problem, don’t just vent it here, do something about it! I’m pleased to see that someone else echoed my praise of the John Cleese training film “Meetings Bloody Meetings.” Just show that at one of your meetings and watch morale improve.

    • #2681088

      Meetings need to be well planned and structured

      by gbeh ·

      In reply to Weekly Meetings

      I think it is true to say that most of us techies do not really enjoy all the meetings that we need to attend. Unfortunately, and especially if you work in the corporate world, face-to-face meetings are inevitable. A couple of ideas that I can share are:

      1. Try to hold as many of your regular weekly meetings at the beginning of the week. I have my regulars scheduled over a Monday and Tuesday leaving the rest of the the week to [hopefully] focus on the real work.

      2. Every meeting MUST be properly planned. Do not go into a meeting without an agenda (even a high level one will do). I make notes in the relevant calendar entry in my diary throughout the week so that come my meeting I have all my points prepared. You should share these at least a couple of hours before the meeting.

      3. Encourage interaction by insisting that each team member give an update of key issues. These could be a)what the individual has been working on since the last week b)successes c)issues/problem/fixes encountered. Question those who don’t volunteer any real input.

      4. I have also tried to rotate the responsibility of leading each week’s meeting among the Team so that each individual gets a chance to prepare the Agenda, make room bookings, organise coffee, biscuits, etc, prepare a presentation and to prepare the minutes after the meeting. This works well and can add to the individual’s career development. It is a little bit of an admin overhead because as the IT exec or supervisor you need to remind the individuals of what needs to be done and to give them the guidance, especially if they have no experience in hosting a meeting.

      5. Do NOT meet for no reason but you will find that with proper planning a weekly meeting will go a long way to opening up the communication channels and strengthening team morale.

      Good luck!

Viewing 40 reply threads