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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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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.).

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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 http://www.usfamily.net/web/wpattinson/otr/batman/shoriddl.htm Riddle against Batman.
Thanks.
NHM

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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.

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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.
Tips
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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 chris@gallaghercommunications.com and put FREE COPY in the subject line.

Check out our website to see how we can help you -- www.gallaghercommunications.com

Thanks,
Chris

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