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New Practice November #3: cancel a meeting and don't look back

Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 13, 2022

[Week 3 challenge: week of November 13, 2022] 

Sometimes, the hardest actions to take, are the ones that require letting go. After running one-on-ones or status meetings for so long, sometimes they are so much a part of routine that it's hard to think of them as not being part of your work week or month or quarter.

Week 3 challenge - seasonal cleaning.jpeg

Taking a cue from the Ritual Reset Play, remove a meeting from your calendar and don't reschedule it.

  • You can communicate why it's being canceled or ask attendees to consider other ways of accomplishing the same outcomes from the meeting. But, you can't rebook the same meeting for a different time.
  • You can reduce frequency. For example, change a weekly meeting to ocurring just once every other week/month.
  • You can still hold the meeting block for a status meeting, but instead of running a meeting, attendees can async post updates in a chat tool.

After doing this at least once THIS WEEK, let us know in the comments how it went. Describe the situation and how you felt afterwards.

 


About New Practice November 2022:

Each week during November, we prompted this group to adopt a work behavior for that week. At the end of the challenge week, we shared our reflections in the post's comments. 

Even though the prompts for the month are over, feel free to continue sharing your reflections as this discussion will be available well after New Practice November 2022. Thanks to all who have and will participate!

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Pramodh M
Community Leader
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November 13, 2022

Hi @Christine P. Dela Rosa 

I have experienced it a couple of times in fact if I count the sales initiative it's three times!!

In the first instance, it was towards a customer project, where I had status meetings once a week on Thursday, and then went on to become once in two weeks after three months since the project was going well. Later we just communicated the updates through Confluence and by means of Slack channel.

The second instance is similar to the above one

Whereas in the third one, I am also contributing towards sales initiatives in my organization, where I & my colleagues have to provide status updates. In some scenarios, we have to skip the status call because of the customer's call which is important and we provide our comments in Zoho CRM where we manage our leads. We still talk about it in next week's meeting briefly and provide an update if it's an important lead.

There are some instances where the meeting is just required as there are multiple stakeholders involved in the project and we have to run through the weekly progress to let them know we are on track with the progress and on to the next one.

Let me know your thoughts :-)

Thanks,
Pramodh

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 13, 2022

Hi, @Pramodh M Your examples are exactly what we're hoping folks to do this week: to run a retrospective on the meetings they either run or attend and see whether those meetings should actually remain the same.

Let us know if you have another meeting worth re-evaluating this week :)

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Pramodh M
Community Leader
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November 16, 2022

 

@Christine P. Dela Rosa 

Yes, I did try this week as well the same with another project that I'm working on and we provide the Atlassian DC Administration support to the customer. This is where I had skipped the call, and shared my updates prior to the call in the shared channel

Feedback was shared that it's a better idea to share the important updates via shared channel only if they have other priority meetings!!

It's always safe to say, that connecting at least once a day with the team we are working with and discussing the day's tasks once!! It's like a refreshment for a workday to start if the is during the morning when we start the work

When it's a like project update that we need to share which may be scheduled weekly once, this well suits the scenario and we can skip the calls by providing updates either the shared channel, mail, or place where we manage documents such as Confluence.

Let me know your thoughts :-)

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 16, 2022

Great distinction, and in turn, great way to test whether a live meeting is helpful or superfluous.

Tuncay Senturk
Community Leader
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November 14, 2022

This is also a very good post. Thanks @Christine P. Dela Rosa 

I am grateful because after reading this practice post of yours, I saved 6 hours every two weeks.

My calendar is very stretched thin due to regular meetings mostly. I was running one-on-one every two weeks with my 12 colleagues. After a while, this turned into a procedure rather than a meeting with topics to discuss. So I decided to reduce the frequency from fortnightly to monthly, which makes 12 * 30 minutes = 6 hours every fortnight. almost a day!

I am checking for any other opportunities to have even more space. will write here if I work out one.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 14, 2022

YESSSSSSS! If you feel an impact later in the month, would love to hear how it goes, @Tuncay Senturk

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Sedera Randria
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November 14, 2022

I'm on this challenge for several weeks now : I canceled some recurring meetings :-)

Lesson learned: their disappearance did not cause the end of the world :-(

On the opposite, when we decide to have a meeting, it is no longer automatic, but an activity with a much clearer agenda and expected outcomes. Less blablabla, much more participant engagement. And more space in our agendas to be more productive.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 14, 2022

Totally. Automation is great when that behavior needs to be predictable. But for something like recurring meetings, it's tricky when the intentionality can get a little lost. Thanks for sharing :)

Benjamin
Community Leader
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November 14, 2022

Thanks for the challenge @Christine P. Dela Rosa 

Doing it on regular basis, I cancel meetings when not needed. Also, question regular schedule meetings to be cancel or shorten once project has ramped down. I'm glad I'm working in an organization that also mindful of team members time and question the need. Meetings get cancel by team members when there's not much to go over and it's taken directly to slack or teams.

For example, today, a meeting got cancel by a fellow team member because the update would have been the same as last week. So far, the rest of my meetings that need to be there should be there. 🙏

Feels and it is more productive. Can spend more time to focus on the important task at hand.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 14, 2022

Sounds like you were able to participate on the challenge this week, but on the receiving end! I like that it works in the reverse direction where you endorse the concept and participate in letting meetings go.

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Benjamin
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November 16, 2022

Yep! Mostly on the receiving end. I think the last time I schedule a reoccurring meeting was probably back in 2020. I don't usually setup meetings unless I need to demo or need to go over an agenda item that would be done faster than online chat. Time is so precious to me that I tend to be cautious of it. :)

-Ben

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Lauren Allen
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November 14, 2022

I just did this today.  Had a status update meeting and instead gave my info via slack and asked to cancel the meeting as there wasn't really much to discuss. I think we are all happy to have that time back in our day

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 15, 2022

Yes! Hope this trend continues for future meetings-turned-slack-updates :)

Dave Mathijs
Community Leader
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November 15, 2022

I just don't like status meetings, so I canceled a weekly repeated meeting that was just downgraded to going through a list and commenting on it with the actual status.

I told participants to use either a Confluence page with tasks or follow-up on the Kanban board and asynchronously keep each other updated with status update comments.

This is the only way forward! Another meeting off the calendar, yeah!

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 15, 2022

If attendees knew that the statuses weren't necessarily more valuable via live meeting (versus async documentation), I bet they're appreciative of that time back on their calendars as well. Awesome, @Dave Mathijs !

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Mark Cruth
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 15, 2022

After removing that one meeting, now it's time to make the rest of your meetings better! Check out this free course from Atlassian University on creating better meetings. It's < 30 minutes and I bet it will save you that and a ton more! 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaD4FvsFdarS4axXU80htxCwkF7Z_3ZXg

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Andy Gladstone
Community Leader
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November 15, 2022

OOOOHHHHH. I did this at the start of 2022 and it has made a world of a difference! Look at the side by side snapshots of the calendar one year apart. I took 10 weekly recurring meetings and cut them down to only 4. Most were replaced by Confluence pages, and a few were completely eliminated. I had so many meetings, I needed to schedule a Brain Break each day to avoid scheduling MORE MEETINGS! 

Capture11.JPGCapture12.JPG

It was seriously getting to be like this:

62ac05dba4334ac496fffde5_Mzyuvoz1vqb_KdMd7XqKUroxkRCi.jpeg

Now I actually get work done, and so does everyone else that was being dragged in to those meetings! Everyone feels more empowered and more autonomy without needing to report status in person and get permission to pursue goals that they are responsible for. 

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 16, 2022

12 points, @Andy Gladstone! Talking about this and seeing the before/after visual are two different things. Thank you for sharing the impact on your own calendar!

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Summer.Hogan
Community Leader
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November 16, 2022

This is so ironic @Christine P. Dela Rosa because I came back this morning from a couple of days off for my birthday and realized that I have a roadmap meeting every month and since month to month my roadmap does not change that much, I decided for this one to post a couple of brief updates in the MS Teams channel for the meeting and cancelled the meeting. I also asked all the attendees how they feel about cancelling the recurring meeting and instead just reading my update in MS teams every month and commenting/asking questions there. I guess I'll see what the responses are. I am going to take the action of going through my calendar today and seeing where else I can implement this practice! 

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 16, 2022

First and foremost, happy birthday, @Summer_Hogan. And with as much positive energy, I really like that taking that poll with the recurring meeting today inspired a review of other meetings. Keep the momentum going! 

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Summer.Hogan
Community Leader
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November 17, 2022
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Marta Woźniak-Semeniuk
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November 17, 2022

We had a meeting weekly for syncing between the teams - instead of cutting it completely we asked everyone to add their challenges and successes to the meeting notes, mark if they wanted to talk about something additionally and only talked about things that we really considered worth talking about in group - all other info was there for everyone to read when they wanted too. That cut the time from 1h to 30 minutes [times 10 people - that is 5h saving each week :) ]

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 17, 2022

Cutting long meetings down is just as great as cutting short meetings out! Also, I like that your action was interactive with your teammates. It made them participants, active in shortening that live sync time :)

G subramanyam
Community Leader
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November 18, 2022

Thank you for these thoughtful weekly prompts @Christine P. Dela Rosa 

This is a regular practice since an year with less meetings and no reschedules (conditions apply) for our team. My client uses Confluence as a single point of repository, but not to an extent of thought about less meetings! YES, when I stepped in the project, I kept routing the project and business stakeholders to our Confluence team pages with real time collaboration (inline comments, tags, Jira issues status check, report graphs).

And the "outcome", they get what they are looking for with no need of meetings or schedules and "happy customer". About the "no reschedules (conditions apply)" >> it used to be retrospective meetings that were rescheduled given the releases, vendor participations, new management personnel joining etc..etc.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 18, 2022

I feel that, @G subramanyam. It's like an ongoing meeting in Confluence, except async--sometimes by yourself, sometimes with others. 

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Fadoua
Community Leader
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November 20, 2022

This one I definitely tried it. Instead of having the meeting, I created a detailed Confluence page with the steps I was going to describe during the meeting. It gives the attendees time to go over it at their own pace without being interrupted. 

The reason of taking this action, it is because people get interrupted during meetings. They end up being on hold because someone decided to add them at the very last minute to another meeting. 

Then let's save everybody's time and create documents (either word, PP, or Confluence pages,...). It was a win-win situation.

Best,

Fadoua

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 21, 2022

Absolutely, @Fadoua. I think interesting to see which alternate pathway people take here in this discussion thread.

Should a team provide async updates in a messaging chat tool or do you provide updates where there's long-term documentation in a place like Word, PP, or Confluence as you say? I prefer the latter, but it's interesting to see how people choose to do their updates and whether the updates are worth retaining forever or simply used as a momentary update.

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Chrissy Clements November 20, 2022

I'm still trying to train my team out of the meeting for the meeting's sake.  

I've held async workshops (which I find to be more interactive); I've also started using Atlas for status updates.  This fantastic product lets me add attachments to my work so people can see what I've been working on; it allows readers to interact via comments and likes at a convenient time.  

This approach gives them the time to get up to speed when they have the capacity and helps remove the annoyance of hosting events with low attendance rates.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 21, 2022

The status meeting!!! @Chrissy Clements yes those are one of the first targets for finding alternative ways to getting in sync--Atlas and other async tools included.

Mike Hunsberger November 20, 2022

We hold a once a quarter "low meeting week" where we encourage people to cancel meetings and focus on other more important things like compliance training. We also have a "stand down" day once a month where we try to cancel all internal, non-client meetings. It doesn't mean no meetings, it just reduces the number. It is great that everyone is doing the same thing and that leadership sends out reminders about both events and people can look forward to a break.  

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 21, 2022

What a combo of a ritual--a meeting to do housekeeping cleanup, where one small activity impacts many others. I love it!

Rilwan Ahmed
Community Leader
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November 21, 2022

Hi @Christine P. Dela Rosa ,

Thanks for the Challenge. I just cancelled one of the weekly meeting where I was 0.001% needed. I saved 30 minutes of my time and used it for a beneficial learning on my career goals. 

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 21, 2022

Ooh, that's a good use case, @Rilwan Ahmed. You don't have to be in charge of the meeting to remove the meeting from your calendar. As an attendee, we have agency too.

Brant Schroeder
Community Leader
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November 24, 2022

@Christine P. Dela Rosa Two weeks ago we canceled a meeting that we were having weekly because all it had become is a report back to upper admin meeting and not one was attending because of this.  We will be putting together a quarterly meeting in it's place though.  So I went from weekly to once every three months.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 25, 2022

Love to hear that meeting efficiency happen, @Brant Schroeder!

Fabio Racobaldo _Herzum_
Community Leader
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November 29, 2022

@Christine P. Dela Rosa , I recently applied all the suggestion provided by the following course "How to run effective meetings" (https://university.atlassian.com/student/page/1255606-how-to-run-effective-meetings-course-description?sid_i=6)

it was really useful for me and all the other guys in the team. 

Often there are too many uninterested people involved in the meetings or the topics and objectives of the meeting itself are not clear. Action items and follow ups are missing.

Now we will try to put in place your recommendations and we all hope that it will help to improve and optimize our time.

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Taranjeet Singh
Community Leader
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November 29, 2022

I loved this practice idea and reading what other members shared based on their ecperiences. Thank you for sharing, @Christine P. Dela Rosa ! 

Though, I have no basis as of now to cancel a meeting from my calendar, but I will definitely consider this idea if I get a lot of such recurring meetings on my calendar.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 29, 2022

Happy to hear, @Taranjeet Singh !

As for canceling meetings, if you're not the meeting owner, I'm not sure you can cancel the meetings. But, you might be able to decline (RSVP as "no") the meeting. Would that be possible? Or on most calendar clients, clicking on a meeting and then hitting a "delete button" in a popup could work, too, but may require having to communicate to the meeting owner that you won't be attending. Let us know if we can help troubleshoot!

vikram
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December 1, 2022

@Christine P. Dela Rosa 

thanks for the simple thoughts,

We had daily meeting calls,

we changed it to 3 days a week call,(like day after day),

then we reduced to 2 days a call for week,

now we plan to have weekly 1 day.

Yes, it is a good idea to do cancel few meetings.

Vikram P 

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Luis Machado
Community Leader
Community Leader
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December 7, 2022

We recently revamped our internal meeting cadences freeing up a ton of time, it's been great.

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Ronald Hipol December 20, 2022

I used to have 2-3 meetings daily. Now, just one meeting every Friday and most of the times, it is even cancelled. Gives me a lot of time to focus on work. Upper management is seeing what is being done so there is even no need to update them. If there is a need to edit/update/improve any process, it goes to a kanban board - no meeting required.

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Christine P. Dela Rosa
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
December 21, 2022

Love to hear it. Meetings just for updates be gone ;)

vikram
Rising Star
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December 23, 2022

Good Idea, 

We can save lot of time by removing Recurring Meetings, and I can concentrate on Technical work and gives some confidence too.

vikram P 

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Tommy Augustine February 2, 2023

Thanks for this!

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Airyn
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
February 8, 2023

Couldn't agree more!

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Courtney - TechTime
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
February 20, 2023

Such a good idea! I think removing a meeting helps me to think about how I communicate, what I really need to know from my team, and what's useful for them to know as well. Switching things up can lead to being more thoughtful and purposeful in how work is approached!

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