Dan Naden

Status meetings: Value-add or productivity drain?

A group of co-workers stare down a deadline. How will the project get done? This project has huge expectations. If this one fails, we’re all doomed.

The struggle: How to keep all stakeholders involved and engaged?

Are you tracking to a date or a destination?

The typical answer: the status meeting.

On a recent flight, I happened to be sitting next to a woman who was painstakingly drafting meeting minutes from a recent status meeting.

I wasn’t deliberately peering into my seatmate’s laptop, yet I happened to steal a glance as I looked out the window. When I saw the meeting title: Status Meeting I did a double take? Did people conduct status meetings anymore? Was this a concept that people still believed in for true team accountability and transparency?

For the past 5 years, I’ve been fully engrossed in the world of agile, and I hope to never go back.

In agile, there are no status meetings. They’d be considered a waste of valuable time and resources.

A major upgrade from the dull, dry status meeting is the daily standup, a daily, short, focused meeting that centers the team to answer 3 questions:

  • What have you completed since yesterday?
  • What do you plan on completing today?
  • Is there anything that’s impeding your work?

Who wants to sit in a room and get status with 10 other colleagues? Conversations drift; people stare at watches; (when will this end?)  Disengagement lingers; morale plummets.

Stop the status meetings. Look into agile. It’s not a scary, scientific concept. Bottom line: it drives results for you, your team, and your business.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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