I’m all for eliminating meetings… but focusing overmuch on eliminating meetings is just as harmful as the mindless meeting culture. Meetings have their uses. I contend that if we focus on having purposeful, effective meetings, the number and frequency of meetings will automatically be reduced. There are really only three kinds of meetings, because there are only three reasons to have a meeting:
- Conveying information
- Making decisions
- Solving problems through collaboration
If you’re clear on what the purpose of your meeting is, and there isn’t a better way to accomplish that goal, then have that meeting. The very exercise will result in fewer, better meetings.
Meetings that convey information
Status meetings are by far the most common meeting in this class. Stop that. The only useful status meeting is a Standup, and then only if it’s run properly. The vast majority of status is much more effectively communicated through text or images that can be explored and referenced at people’s own pace. Status meetings typically occur when people are bad at contributing to a status document or database of some kind—but using a meeting for accountability is harmful in the extreme. There are other management tools available to hold people accountable for communicating status.
Announcements are valid things to hold meetings for, but only if it’s important that the vast majority of affected parties receive the information at the same time, or if a Q&A session will be profitable. For example, announcing ...