By default, we are an asynchronous team and communicate via our mailing lists or GitHub issues for anything that involves discussion. We also do ephemeral communication on Matrix.
But sometimes, meeting synchronously is the fastest way to get something done. Here’s how you should approach meetings.
These steps should definitely be applied to any meeting with more than two people, The general mindset should also be helpful for 1:1 meetings.
1. Think about whether you need a meeting.
Meetings are costly, e.g. a one hour meeting with five people costs five hours of people’s work + whatever time it takes to context switch before and after.
The outcome of the meeting should be worth the time spent. If a one hour meeting with five people saves six hours of back and forth on email, then it is barely worth it (and might not be, with context switching costs taken into account).
2. Determine the desired outcome for the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting should be clearly stated and written down.
At the end of the meeting, every participant should be able to clearly determine whether the outcome was achieved.
3. Designate a Meeting Owner.
The Meeting Owner is responsible for:
If you’re scheduling a meeting, this is you.
4. Determine Attendees.
Make sure this list is the minimum set of people that actually need to participate in the discussion. If someone just needs to be informed of the outcome, then the notes should serve that.
5. Handle Asynchronous Preparation.
6. Create an agenda with time boxes for each topic.
You can now schedule the meeting. Make sure to send the agenda and asynchronous preparation checklist to all attendees.
We have a HackMD template to make this easier, you can use it like so: