Making Meetings Productive

I recently stumbled onto this article, Read This Before Your Next Meeting, (which is itself about the book, Read This Before Our Next Meeting) that really resonated with me.

I’ll start out with my favorite quote (of a quote):

Every meeting costs a fortune. Spend it wisely.

And two excellent bits:

Create an agenda and send material in advance for everyone to be prepared.

A meeting should only focus on two activities: Resolve conflict and to lead coordination of action.

ProtoShare is integral to our development process. We use it in the design of every new feature. One thing I love about it is that everyone can review the prototypes on their own schedule, creating and replying to topics independently. It saves us a ton of time because many topics are resolved without ever needing to get together in a meeting.

Sometimes, however, a prototype generates significant confusion or disagreement. I suppose we could work through these issues offline as well, but at a certain point it becomes unproductive. It’s much easier to resolve contentious topics face-to-face, instead of keyboard-to-keyboard.

When we do get together, these topics have already defined the meeting agenda. Before coming to the meeting, each of us reads through the others’ replies. That allows us to spend our time in the meeting resolving the conflicts and deciding on our next course of action (sounds familiar, right?).

When we design ProtoShare, we try to answer the question, “how can we help our customers move their projects forward?” As much fun as it can be, your goal throughout this process is probably not to make wireframes. More likely, your goal is to build something else entirely. Your wireframes are a way to raise questions, and your meetings are a way to answer them. The review process is purpose-built to help move your project forward.

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