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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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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.

Enjoy!

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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. ^_^

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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?

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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

THIS MEETING HAS COST $XXXX SO FAR!!!!

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Cheers!

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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!

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I like it!

by Babs_1957 In reply to Not only boring but unpro ...

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.

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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.....

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