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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights of any kind. All opinions included here are mine and do not represent the opinions of my employer or any of its other employees.

Edgardo Vega's Blog Making it through the day one post at a time

From my experience, most projects are already in Meeting Hell. So the next few posts will be focused on stopping meeting hell. These experience will hopefully not only come from me, but from the rest of the blogosphere. Remember to leave a comment or contact me, in order to share your stories.

I have gone into several meetings and have had Person A giving their status report and then Person B raises an objection to the way Person A is implementing a feature. Soon it evolves (or devolves in my opinion), to a large discussion of what exactly is being done and why. Then Person C (who really just wants to leave the meeting and get some work done) says hey why don't we have meeting on this (knowing full well they either won't show up or wont be invited). Everyone thinks that seems like a reasonable idea and the PM is left with scheduling another meeting.

This scenario seems to play itself out at least once during a meeting. The trick is to just say NO (just like smoking again). Either as a member of the team or as the PM, suggest that the two people with the problem meet at one of their desks, talk through the issue, come to a resolution, implement the resolution, and give a status update at the next meeting. I know I just suggested having another meeting. I have used this in meetings several times and it seems to work.

Another meeting with the entire group has now just been avoided . That alone is a big win. Everyone is happy that they don't have another meeting scheduled and everyone can actually get work done, keeping the project from slipping. Everyone is also equally relieved that the meeting can continue.

Now it is true that two people must now meet, but they are meeting on less hostile terms. Conference rooms full of your peers can be intimidating and everyone seems to be just a bit tenser (another reason discussions seem to spiral out of control). By having these two people in a more relaxed setting, seems to get the issue resolved faster than if you had another meeting or let the meeting continue on. Finally the two people show up at the next meeting, with a quick status update on what has been done to resolve the conflict and everything is good to go.

Please leave a comment or contact me, so that I may share your stories.



Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2005 8:24 AM Meeting Hell | Back to top

Comments on this post: Meeting Hell Part 2

# re: Meeting Hell Part 2
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I've found that if you disagree with every single point made by anyone in the meeting, they tend to not invite you back. Of course, credibility suffers some... but you're left alone to do your work.

The danger of this... is if you work somewhere that everyone thinks you are the smartest one on the team, they assume you're right and invite you to even MORE meetings.

Then they "promote you" to system designer or architect... and you find that coding is no longer one of your responsibilities. Then you're stuck in meetings all day, every day until review time, when they realize you have accomplished nothing and they fire you.

or maybe not... :)
Left by Chris Williams on Sep 01, 2005 9:44 AM

# re: Meeting Hell Part 2
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Oh Chris, that sounds awfully familiar. At one point I was the "Architect" on 7 projects at one time. My solution for meeting hell was to jump to a company doing Agile development (flat team structure, more collaboration, better communication channels). Meeting hell is a major process and organizational smell. If you really have to schedule meetings just to get to talk about an issue with your teamates, you're team is inefficient (I've been there).
Left by Jeremy on Sep 01, 2005 1:45 PM

# re: Meeting Hell Part 2
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"If you really have to schedule meetings just to get to talk about an issue with your teamates, you're team is inefficient" Agree
Left by Bandolino Shoes on May 24, 2007 3:53 PM

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