Do a quick search on Google for how to conduct effective meetings and you’ll be deluged with links. Some of them contain great advice. Others, not so much. But almost all of them miss the most important advice of all.
I was browsing through LinkedIn today and came across this graphic:
On the face of it, sounds good! Lots of great advice in there. But if, like me, you’ve ever had to attend meetings that involve the Government, or Military or, worst of all, the Civil Service, you know that there’s a much more important rule that you should be applying: Is Your Meeting Really Necessary?
In the early part of my career as a scrum master, I was working at an organisation that had decided not to use product owners. They wanted to keep on using project managers instead. Needless to say, I was working to convince the organisation of the case for using product owners as described in the scrum guide.
One morning I received an email from the programme manager. Frustrated by the lack of control he was experiencing, he had decided to call regular meetings with all of the scrum teams so he could get a handle on things. I quickly realized that this was a pivotal moment. I asked the scrum team not to respond and went in search of the programme manager.
I explained that the meeting he was calling would deliver no value and it would pull the scrum team away from doing the important work of the sprint. He was unsympathetic. I tried explaining that the work he was doing would normally be handled by the product owner. He was unmoved. I wasn’t getting through. I needed to speak his language.
So, I went away and calculated how much the meeting would cost the organization. Turns out that the annual cost would pay for the salary of three and a quarter product owners. Finally, I had his attention, if only to avoid the embarrassment of the organization finding out how much this was costing!
Meetings Are Expensive. Ensure They Deliver Value
Each and every day, in organizations up and down the country, people are calling meetings. From CEO’s downwards, people are playing fast and loose with the organizations money. Meetings can be eye-wateringly expensive (and I’m not talking about the cost of the chocolate biscuits, here). Are you truly getting value from that meeting?
Is YOUR meeting really necessary?