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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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10.4. How to run the non-annoying meeting

Here is my meeting confession: I do not like regularly scheduled meetings. I'm convinced that unless there is a force keeping them lean and tidy, they will eventually slide into slow, bloated, frustrating, dysfunctional wastes of time. However, if there is that force in place, meetings can be energizing, centering experiences for everyone in the room. The challenge is that whoever organizes and runs the meeting needs to know what he's doing.

For starters, understand how expensive meetings are. If a meeting lasts an hour, and 10 people are there, that meeting costs 10 person-hours. Instead of fixing bugs or closing issues—two guaranteed forms of progress—the entire team is locked up in a conference room waiting for something to happen that is worth the expense of their time. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn't. So, I think programmers and others are justified in complaining about meetings; relative to the value of time in front of a computer, time in meetings doesn't usually score well.

However, if the meeting requires participation because important ideas or decisions are on the table, reveals information that changes everyone's post-meeting behavior, or conveys inspiration or understanding for what's going on across the project, then the value of the meeting is much higher. Instead of a chore, it becomes a way to consume or exchange information difficult to obtain through other means.

10.4.1. The art of facilitation

Years ago, I remember ...

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