stop making meetings on friday
14 September, 2021 - 5 min read
STOP MAKING MEETINGS ON FRIDAY
In consulting no different than life only more so, time is everything.
As consultants, rarely if ever in one’s whole career, will a project be the perfect amount of time, with the perfect amount of resources, blended with the right knowledge and attention from the client.
Something always falls out of whack, squeezes you in one area or another, thus thrusting time back into the spotlight.
I’ve always loved that. The challenges it creates tends to force new ways of thinking and working.
Like a stream that’s suddenly blocked, given the right amount of pressure and it’ll quickly reroute and create new grooves.
For me, this has taught me to look at business days differently, and how best to utilize a ‘feel’ framework to each of the week days. Prioritizing some days as beloved periods of intense heads down work-- while others, recognizing that people seem to just have a hell of a time paying attention.
"I do like swimming upstream, but I’ve come to realize that such efforts demand a lot of energy and it’s best to save it for when it’s able to create the biggest impact."
Take meetings as an example.
Like many things in life, I have a dualistic love|hate relationship with them.
"A well formed meeting can leave one refreshed, with a new sense of what’s possible and the satisfaction that comes with productivity."
Throw in some pleasant dialogue and you can have have a wonderful human experience. The other side of that dualism however, can be rough.
Meetings can be dreadful, seemingly never ending vortexes that suck all life, thought, creativity and sensibility out of a group of people.
"The banality of evil has its root in meetings."
At some point, the intersection of the coin flip of meetings came to connect with my theory of daily ‘feels’. Out of that clash of titans, came my Thursday roundup.
At any given time, I may be working with several different teams, multiple different project across business, functional and technological roles.
I may have to meet with an executive to understand their long term strategy. Huddle with my developers to better understand the challenges they're going through. My designers to relay some of these changes, and find smart ways we can visualize it. All the while popping in and out of meetings with business experts to understand their needs, and likely try to charm them to make some changes.
To maximize my mental capacity and that of my teams, I’ve implemented a weekly cadence where each of the teams meets once per week to do a broader status and check in.
Prior to the meeting they send out notes and update trello, or whatever we're using to track, as to their status, pacing, questions and problems.
Then after a short informal ‘how the hell are y’all,’ we review where everyone is through a demo of the product, or a team lead presenting status. We answer problems / questions / feedback, before everyone goes off after and digests it.
This gives the leadership and product members, or the client, the ability to critique what’s presented, but also gives the team an extra day to work through any critiques. Those of you familiar with agile, it's a ritual that has it's roots in that methodology.
Communication and knowledge should have been set in such a way, that no critique or issue takes longer than a day to fix. If it takes longer, then that should be a giant waving a red flag that there's far more under the surface going wrong.
THIS IS HUGE
What this means, is that issues, fixes and the like, all get solved while everyone’s minds are fresh and able.
No more Friday status meetings and trying to work through updates in a Monday meeting, after everyone had their brain whipped over the weekend. Where no one remembers where they individually were, let alone what the feedback was. Or everyone rushing to get work done before getting to their weekend commitments. Or worse, having to cancel them altogether.
Everyone has Friday to structure as they want, take the time to get caught up on all the things that they had to keep pushing off during the week and if they get done early, or want to start late, they can do that for themselves.
And when we do have to have a quick check-in on a Friday, it'll be a one on one call to coordinate or collaborate, giving much room to be able to just converse as people. Because a team that's friendly with one another, works better and is happier. It's a truth and a paradox, that sometimes taking time to chat and not do work, makes the work better and done quicker.
I’m also one for being very picky as to when and what days have certain meetings, but, I’ll save that for another day.