Meetings are not what most people are looking forward to. And those who do, well, as Taleb says:
Anyone who likes meetings should be banned from attending meetings. (Heuristic)
But we still need meetings and we are going to have some, so I wanted to address something that is not often talked about: What happens after the meeting?
There is a lot of information and tips out there on how to run meetings. The Modern Meeting Standard is certainly one of the best and shortest resources out there. Recommended.
I’m going to borrow some quotes from the book and comment on how these tie into TightOps. If you fail to do what follows, your meetings will be pointless and frustrating to you and your team. The good news is, it’s rather simple.
All we need to know is the decision and the resulting action plan. […] The plan should include at least the following:
- What actions are we committing to?
- Who is responsible for each action?
- When will those actions be completed?
The answers to these questions, the action plan, has to be restated at the end of the meeting, to get agreement and avoid misinterpretations.
Now let’s see how that is reflected in Tight Operations. What goes where?
The first question from above will give us a list of tasks, which go to our task manager and get assigned to someone (second question) on the team. Further, a due date is set, so we can plan accordingly.
As for (internal) team meetings, this much is necessary and sufficient.
When I have meetings or calls with external people, e.g. my lawyer, a client, etc., I also include a bullet list of what we talked about and what information was shared. Even though these meetings often lack a formal agenda, I try to come up with one as we go along and take short notes of what we came up with. Usually right after the meeting, I send all participants these notes via email as I don’t share a task manager with them. This is where the responsiblity is divided up and each one can use the provided notes to fill their own to-do lists.
End the meeting the in the proposed way and it will unavoidably affect your meetings in a very positive way. Once you get used to aiming at the action plan, the meeting has a direction and is ultimately more satisfying and productive.