Description: Meetings are unproductive, cause complaints, or are poorly attended.

First, review the Full Scale agile™ (FuSca™) section on “Meeting Facilitation” with the team and align the team’s practices with it.

If the issues continue, use the statements and questions below to diagnose and address the problem.

  • “We have too many meetings.”
    • Is work being done in team meetings that could be done by subteams or individuals?
    • Are issues being discussed that could be handled via e-mail or other means?
    • Is it time to cut back on the schedule? Regular meetings are important. But if you are meeting simply because a meeting is scheduled, reconsider the schedule. Also, agree on criteria by which a regular meeting can be cancelled (such as, no critical action items are due, and no new issues have been raised that require quick responses).
  • “Our meetings go on too long.”
    • See the first two items under “too many meetings.”
    • Are other time-wasters occurring in the meetings? If so, develop rules and enforcement methods to address them per the “Meeting Facilitation” section.
    • Would it be better to meet more often but for shorter periods? Consider adding 15-minute “stand-up” meetings each day for status checks.
      Note: For a suggested format, see the related FuSca section for Scrum standups.
    • Download the Meeting Agenda Template from the “Meeting Facilitation” section, and update and follow it for each meeting.
  • “We do not get enough done at meetings.”
    • See the first two items under “too many meetings” and the items on “time-wasters” and the meeting agenda above.
    • Make sure you are starting on time and holding to your break schedule. This makes the maximum use of your time, but also helps to keep people focused.
    • Enforce the rule of “Silence or absence equals consensus”; in other words, do not wait for certain people to be there to make decisions.
    • Assign actions to subteams and individuals, then move on.
  • People are frequently skipping, arriving late, or leaving early.
    1. Ask them why this is happening.
    2. If applicable, refer to the questions/statements above.
    3. Otherwise, determine if:
      • The meeting time needs to change.
      • Individuals need help with their other job requirements in order to attend the meeting.
      • For project teams, the project manager needs to speak to the members’ functional managers about priorities.


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