TL;DR: Pick a single person to lead the Project/Task. Use collaboration tools (Google Docs) to share information (Risks/Assumptions/Issues) about the Project/Task/Meeting. Share Project doc with stakeholders ahead of time.

  • Download Project Initiation Template (Google Doc Template)

  • Download Example Newslinn Project ‘Txt/SMS’ Document [1] (Google Doc)

  • Download Example Newslinn Project ‘Tell your Story’ Document (Google Doc)


Preamble

Startups can attract a lot of characters - this mix of personality types is what sets your startup apart and the innovation that comes from it.

A lot of the problems that come from mixing startup folk together stems from communication -> group communication -> ego's fighting for recognition -> -> ultimately from meetings.

This post isn't about fixing 'people problems' - it's about making meetings more efficient, creating a culture of knowledge sharing and reducing the time that the 'people problem' friction can occur.

Article Focus

Starting a 'pre-meeting' process that encourages knowledge sharing, asking questions, openness about understanding BEFORE having an actual meeting.

Article Prerequisites

  • Understand loosely that projects have different phases. We will cover 'data' collection' via RAID in this post. [2]
  • Understand loosely that teams can waste more time coming to 'an understanding' than they do making a decision on how to act.
  • Understand that you can redirect people with egos wanting to be recognised into something far more productive -> by forming a culture in your startup of 'helping people' as the thing that gets someone recognised (not covered in this post).

Kill Meeting Culture

...or how to scale knowledge sharing in your startup

Hi all, I've been working in startups for the last 20 years - mostly as a developer, sometimes as a manager, other times as a technical lead - in total I've calculated that I've been in about 8,320 hours worth of meetings (not including the Scrum ceremony ones).

Distribute info ahead of time

Use Google Docs (online collaboration tools) to share info ahead of time on the topic. [3]

Why? Meetings tend to waste a lot of time with getting people to The Understandings - or the common phrase - 'to be on the same page'

Pay Attention to 'Meeting Agendas'

If an agenda exists it's a 'meeting smell' - it means there's too many things to discuss -> which means lack of communication in some part of the organisation.
Especially true if a startup is using Scrum then the 'meetings for work' are built into the Scrum ceremonies (Stand-ups/Planning/Grooming/Demos).

There are always exceptions to the rule - but watch out for meetings with agendas that are for 'conversation'. [4] It shows that there is a lack of proactiveness in the organisation which is a characteristic of organisations not empowering their teams. ie. team members need to 'discuss' items instead of presenting the solutions or being able to provide updates via Scrum meetings.

Footnotes


  1. courtesy of Newslinn Technologies LTD. ↩︎

  2. http://www.expertprogrammanagement.com/2010/10/raid-risks-assumptions-issues-and-dependencies/ ↩︎

  3. https://medium.com/@mitchellharper/reduce-meetings-by-80-here-s-how-4d5dce9dbeed ↩︎

  4. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/young-entrepreneur-council/5-subtle-differences-betw_b_8085696.html ↩︎