Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Bit of Structure To Guide a Meeting

Have you been in a meeting where many ideas are discussed? Are there lots of possible solutions, but there's also many different blockers or reasons why a solution wouldn't work? After 5 or 10 minutes everything is a a large mess and no one remembers the different approaches.

Here's a basic framework that can help guide your meeting.

Create a shared etherpad and document the following items. The documentation is key, it's too hard to keep everything in your head.

  • Intro
    • What is the problem we're trying to solve? Why is the meeting happening?
    • Does everyone agree on the problem statement and why they're here?
  • Brainstorming
    • What are the options we could use to address the problem?
    • For each option:
      • What are the positive to this approach?
      • What are the potential blockers / concerns to this approach? 
  • Decision Making
    • Which is the best option of the ideas just discussed? Remember, there is rarely a silver bullet approach that won't have at least a few concerns or considerations.
  • Actions Needed
    • What actions items are necessary to achieve the agreed upon solution? 
      • Assign these to specific people with specific tasks and deadlines.
  • Follow Up
    • When is the next meeting to discuss progress? 
      • Make sure someone is assigned to schedule this meeting (preferably before leaving the meeting).


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