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What's the biggest motivation killer in any team ?
What about meetings ? Can you recall a moment where you're not able to skip a meeting where 2 colleagues are discussing a topic which is totally unrelated to the work you need to deliver by 5pm this evening.
Even the most disciplined among us get into such situations where a meeting derails into something totally lacking the point because anything is being discussed in any order.
Remember this Atlassian video ?
By focusing the discussion to single topics we can improve the effectiveness of the meetings. These don't need to take long and only the team members that can contribute will attend. The reality is that the intent to limit the discussion to a single topic needs a bit of discipline (to stay focused) but also a way to park discussion items which pop-up during the gathering.
We therefore decided to define some flavours of meetings such that anyone can decide for him/herself if it is interesting enough to attend.
A content meeting is basically a brainstorm discussion about one specific topic - such as What to do about flipping tests, What entity relationship do we need to implement these requirements, How should that API work. Whenever we start to discuss about something which is not directly related to the topic, we take note in a 'to be discussed' log on our confluence.
We continuously improve our way of working. As we grow as a team - we get a better understanding what works and what doesn't work. By changing the way we operate we get more results faster - but then we need to get everyone on board. During a process meeting we get together to discuss items such as 'how to track tasks during code reviews', 'how to do meetings' ...
Planning meetings are about estimating amount of work, sequence the tasks to deliver a functionality, understand the big picture of a release.
We improved our meetings tenfold by explicitly parking 'out of scope topics' and logging them on our wiki. When the team feels the urge to discuss about process, content or planning, we review the list of topics, decide how much time we have to meet, prioritise and take the top one first. We avoid to schedule repeating meetings (except for one) to ensure we gather around a very specific topic.
There is one meeting where we touch all types of topics (planning, content, process), and which is scheduled every day, but we limit it in time (15min/30min) We use this meeting to formally sync where we are on our release path, what's going to happen next and to highlight problems - the so called YTO.
Note: would you like to get some additional tips to increase your productivity? Then have a look at the following topic I covered earlier: