Aaron’s Rules for Better Meetings

Meetings are Toxic.

One of the most shared links among tech teams. In general, developers realize that meetings are not the place to get work done. In order to make meeting suck less, I’ve come up with a few simple rules. I generally define a meeting as something on my schedule for me and at least two others. I don’t include one on ones or impromptu discussions in my meeting rules.

  1. Meetings have agendas. There should be a specific list of things that need to be talked about and that should be sent out ahead of time. People should have the opportunity to gather information before the meeting so they can be productive participants.
  2. Does this meeting even need to take place. This questions isn’t asked often enough. Is the meeting only serving one person and not bettering the team/organization? Maybe it needs to be retooled. Maybe you should be sending out email updates or posting more in a chat room
  3. Meeting start on time, no matter if everyone is there. I’ve started meetings where I am the only one in attendance. When people came in late, they jump in where the room is at, no matter if the item they most wanted to discuss has passed.
  4. Anyone can all the Tangent Police. Sometimes you get off topic. When that happens, someone in the room needs to recognize it and just say something. It’s better for everyone.
  5. GRIPI Check. If conflict is arising, I try to work through and find the root of the conflict. Is there a goal that everyone agrees upon already? Does everyone understand there role? Does everyone have all the information they need? Is there other information that could help solve the problem? Are we doing the right process? Is there a way we could be going for an answer that would be better than what we are doing? Is the problem actually Interpersonal (hint: it probably isn’t)?

Those are my go to rules for meetings. How do you run effective meetings?

One thought on “Aaron’s Rules for Better Meetings”

  1. I learned an essentially identical list of rules for meetings about 10 years ago when the company I then worked for graciously sent me to a project manager boot camp weekend. It was probably the most valuable thing I learned that weekend and the thing that stuck with me most. Any time someone calls a meeting without an agenda, without a defined goal and without leadership I want to slap them… I usually don’t, but man I want to.

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