As you can tell by the title, this is a little rant on meetings. I thought I would share this based on the popular meme from our good friend Xzibit. If you don’t know what I am talking about, check it out here.
Now that you had the laugh, let’s talk about the issue at hand; meetings.
With the amount of meetings I am in lately, you would think that is what gets the work done. I’m not kidding, I have:
- Meetings about the work
- Meetings about the scheduling of work
- Meetings about the meeting schedules
- Meetings about the meetings about the scheduling of the meetings scheduling the work…………..
- Meetings about why work is not getting done…………………………
I’m not touching thisso we can get stuff done
So what is my point with this? Meetings are overrated and for the most part, highly ineffective. Now, some will argue this with me (usually the ones not doing the work but organizing the work), some will defend meetings and some will agree. No matter what boat you are in, you have to admit:
- Meetings have their place in the work flow, just not at every step
- If you need to meet about the meeting for the work, you might be doomed
- If it takes that many meetings with that many people to get a single task done (say, patch roll-out to the enterprise), you might want to rethink your strategy
I’m not truly dead set against meetings as this post might make it, but as I sit in my 5th meeting of the day about the same subject (no joke), I am beginning to question why; why it takes so much to get such a small thing done (removal of a rogue patch across 5000+ servers in three different flavors) and why are we spending more time in the meeting discussing the meeting then the processes, procedures, back out plans, etc… that will help.
Realizing the size of this project and scope and all of the players affected does give it some perspective. That being said, there are better ways to do this. If you find yourself in meeting Hell, here is a few suggestions:
- Project mgt: Get them involved and unload the meetings to them; they live for this stuff.
- Oversight committee: If the project is truly Biblical in size and demands it, then it needs oversight, not a layered sandwich of meeting garbage
- Project work sheet: MS Project, Open project, PrimaVera (for the truly epic projects), etc… Get to know them and use them. Then you can break meetings down to status calls; much less painful
- Keep your meetings on track: Don’t be afraid to cut people off and tunnel vision the call so the agenda doesn’t get derailed by that single time stealing person (you know who you are….we don’t care, we don’t want to hear about it now….)
And with that, I leave you with the kind words of wisdom from Xzibit…..Enjoy