Meetings are Bugs, Not Features — Here’s How You Squish Them!

TL;DR: Meetings are for decisions

  1. If a meeting isn’t recorded, then the information/discussion is ephemeral and only known by the people who heard it.
  2. If a meeting is recorded, the information/discussion is not easily discoverable or searchable without watching 30min+ of video.

Step #0: Start with a doc

  1. You are at an impasse, or
  2. People who need to weigh-in aren’t

Step #1: Invite only the minimum needed number of people

  1. The decider
  2. The disagreeing parties
  3. People of whom the decider might reasonably need to ask questions in order to make a decision

Step #2: Actively run the meeting

  1. A short presentation objectively and evenly summarizing the current state of affairs / impasse, or
  2. Allowing the attendees to read/re-read the relevant doc.

Step #3: Decide!

The 60/40 Planning Rule

  • What will you monitor to know quickly when something is not right?
  • What level of “problem” signal will you tolerate before you will definitely decide something is wrong?
  • What are your best 2–3 choices if you need to quickly course correct?

Step #4: Document the decision

  1. The date/time of the meeting
  2. The decider
  3. What the decision was

Success Criteria

  1. Individual contributors spend (on average) 1hr or less per day in group meetings.
  2. Managers spend (on average) 2hr or less per day in group meetings (ie. not 1:1s or interviews).

Conclusion

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Dave Rensin

Dave Rensin

Distinguished Engineer - Google