I recently came across this rousing article about meetings actually killing productivity on LinkedIn and I could see why the subject rings true for many. I dug deeper and I think, the un-productive meeting is the outcome of a more intrinsic unproductive process - the lack of Multitenancy in the project management architecture. Big words - huh? Let's see what that means.
Traditional project execution cycle
Below are phases as a typical scenario working in spread out teams across geos. What is missing from this completely normal project cycle? Let's look closer:
- Gatekeepers: For e.g., the Document author and editor are different people, creating role based bottlenecks. Phases have an order and cannot be more agile/scaled up.
- Disconnected: Starting off with emails, you almost always run aground with it being a non-transparent technology. A name on an email thread can never introduce people - A human disconnect.
- Info consistency: Even if you've compiled the latest and the greatest data from 32 versions from 6 users's and 50 emails, what would you name it? ver 32.a.b.1.2 ?
How can you expect a bi-weekly meeting/con call with people playing different roles, with different personalities and expectations, not mutually familiar, meet for 30mins or 1hr and have a success out of it?
Add to the mix a situation to work among cross-teams in your org and, maybe with vendors outside your company!
Do you see why participants would either have nothing to speak (shut themselves off) or you'll have chaos (when it is the only chance they've got to sync)? - the result, an unsuccessful/non-productive meeting. You're not alone - The above cycle typifies the challenges created by the traditional processes.
Multi-player Project execution mode
Online Collab has to happen asynchronously round the clock in and out of your meetings.
1. Get your online team space
A Social group (Private or Secret) has been the success formula for many Big initiatives, like the The specified item was not found. initiative which has successfully socialized how customers submit ideas about their favorite BMC products.
This one step alone takes care of all the limitations we cited in the traditional system (above).
- Not only does that give you one place for Documentation + Build + Reporting + Team building. Everyone has a profile and identity.
- Online collab all the way - One Document, multiple players! No more role based rigidity, one living document with backed up versions removing your data-mining and Version control nightmares.
- No need to email: No more confusions as the communication piece is integrated with content management.
2. Blog post - Please refrain from emails
We've just removed any need for emailing. Progress and other announcements like a meeting invite, key achievements, should be a Blog post.
Let me share another catalyst: Blogging also gives you a chance of introducing your team, roles And recognizing people. Don't miss this chance. If you are new to blogging, check out these great tips from Eric Tung.
3. Face to Face
Now that you've taken care of having people introduced and feel included, this is another setting you might consider. Whenever it is possible, if you can't be in the same meeting room. Video team meets are key to working scrum-style. Google Hangouts accommodate up to 10 participants who can face to face from across the world and have fun. It is free!
Other 1-1s should definitely be video whenever possible. There's just a natural magic when we face to face.
4. Have standups
We've seen enough on why meetings could be stale. Now it's time to rock-em. By following the social 'multiplayer' process you'll be able to define your Agenda better.
You can separate the brainstorming and collab (that has happened asynchronously online after you last meeting) parts from the presentation part. The meeting can now be like a Actions & status updates scrum standup meeting. Everyone walks in braised of the latest developments, know each other as a person, speaks about their items and you stay true to the original meeting plan.
You make the choice
I call this extending Multitenancy to your Project lifecycle where you create champions out of participants and bring about this F1 like teamwork and agility in the process. There is Huge cultural shift happening, check System of Record to a System of engagement (Forbes). I'll be happy to show you a lot of cool, Social successes on BMC Communities right from this methodology.
So next time you want to kick start your project, you have the finger on the start button - Which cycle do you want go for?
Comment below to let us know your thoughts and what would you choose?