Posts Tagged “meetings”

Okay, what I’ve done here is taken a practice that is necessary but lame and have tried to make it new and cool by slapping the word agile in front of it. You know, like agile modeling, agile development, agile analysis and agile DBA. But, really, this is more than just that … really.

Sometimes you have important meetings — such as department meetings or one-on-ones — that really can defy any form of standard agenda. One way to deal with these meetings is to run them in an organic, ad hoc fashion. The manager marks the start and end points of the meeting and people throw out and devour topics in between. That’s a bit chaotic and, in my opinion, inefficient. Another approach is to compile an agenda in advance of each meeting, where someone collects each discussion item via email, IM, hallway conversation or carrier pigeon and posts the agenda prior to each meeting. That’s a bit cumbersome and, quite frankly, medieval.

The agile agenda provides a simpler option, in just three steps:

  1. Prior to the start of the meeting, the manager writes “Agenda” on the whiteboard and adds underneath it any discussion items of which he or she is aware
  2. Meeting members call out any additional discussion items and those get added to the agenda. This can also be done more informally, where individuals add their own discussion items as they come in the door.
  3. The meeting starts. The manager or the group decides the order in which the items are discussed. People can add additional items to the agile agenda if they think of them during the meeting.

The meeting is over either when the group is through the agenda or the team has run out of time.

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Meetingpalooza — if only it were half as cool as it sounded.

Meetings inevitably strike when we are deepest into the productivity zone, abruptly jolting us away from half-implemented solutions and half-formed inspirations. Worse, for some of us, numerous meetings crater the landscape of the day, forcing us to repeatedly stop what we are doing and toss away an hour of productivity (or, at least, that’s too often the way it feels).

Meetings, none-the-less, are an essential tool for communication and collaboration. They can be the fastest way to build consensus around an issue, to quickly solve a problem, or to plan the next two weeks of work for an entire team. We use meetings quite a bit for purposes such as this on agile teams.

Assuming you are already attending the meetings that make you and your team more productive, here’s a list of techniques to use to thin down the time spent in meetings that make you less productive: Read the rest of this entry »

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When transitioning a new team to a highly iterative planning process (where we plan and complete work in weekly Task Cycles) one question I always have to ask is: “When do we want to start and end the weekly Task Cycle?” The answer I almost always get is, “Monday and Friday,” to which I typically reply: “How about Wednesday?” Read the rest of this entry »

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