Meetings can be an effective way of garnering feedback and input from members of your team, unblocking a team or team member, or simply staying aligned. Some meetings are recurring on a daily or weekly basis and require attendance from the entire team or a subsection of the team. Other meetings are organized on a case-by-case basis to address ongoing tasks or make decisions. Keep in mind, whatever can be done asynchronously (or β€˜async’) should be done asynchronously.

When part of a call, please make sure to make sure your camera is on when possible. Talking to a picture or a name label isn’t fun and makes conversation feel less intuitive. Also, when your camera is on, using the β€˜blur’ feature can minimize distractions and keep team members focused on you.

When to call a meeting

Meetings can be called by any member of the team provided there is a strong enough justification for doing so. A good rule of thumb is, if you’ve gone back and forth more than twice and haven’t come to a decision or agreement, a quick five minute meeting may be required. If something requires active feedback and input from multiple team members and cannot be addressed during a working session, a call can be scheduled to do so. Always make sure to go into meetings with an agenda and come out of them with action items.

Working sessions

Working sessions are daily blocks of time dedicated to workshopping with the greater collective. For example, the product strategy team may want to perform a prioritization activity using the MoSCoW method (Must have, Could have, Should have, Won’t have) to determine overall strategic direction. The goal of a working session is to unblock teams and help them make progress asynchronously. Any activity that requires attention from the entire team should default to a working session.

Sprint planning

Sprint planning is a weekly meeting dedicated to organizing the upcoming sprint. This meeting always requires attention and input from the entire team and should be facilitated by the strategy team and a scrum master. Representatives from each department can use this time to catch everyone else up on their progress and determine direction moving forward.

Sprint retrospectives

Our team processes are imperfect and often require shaping and molding on a weekly basis. Sometimes we are satisfied with how a process has been carried out and want to replicate it moving forward. Other times, we may feel a process needs to change. Retrospectives (or β€˜retros’) are a time for apprentices to communicate these thoughts. There should be minimal leadership in attendance so as not to influence the discussion being held and all thoughts and outcomes should be prioritized by the strategy team for future implementation. During sprint retros, you will focus on:

  • What you liked - ****Here you’ll focus on the aspects of the sprint you enjoyed and would like to highlight or replicate.

  • What you learned - We all take something away from our experiences. This is a chance to discuss what may have been for you.

  • What you longed for - No process is perfect and we often wish we were able to do something differently. Talk about that here.

  • What you needed - Did something really block your progress during the sprint? Talk to the team about what could have helped you get past that blocker and how everyone can access that solution.

Happy hours

All play and no work. This meeting is a non-meeting. It is entirely up to team members as for when they’d like to schedule a happy hour but once on the call, no work talk is allowed. Apart from that, the sky is the limit.

Recording meetings

Meeting recordings are incredibly useful when multiple teams should have access to information discussed during call (i.e. a client demo). Some meetings such as client demos should be recorded by default, whereas others should be recorded only if needed. Keep in mind that they require a significant portion of our resources (storage space in the cloud) to hold onto. A good set of meeting notes and action items can often go a much longer way to keep a team productive and moving.

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