This is not a technical topic, but one I find myself very passionate about. An article today at NPR brought it to the forefront. As my organization matures, like every organization, rampant movement is slowly replaced by more controlled but slower movement. Notice I used the word “movement”. As Hemingway said, “Never mistake motion for action.” What maturity in an organization often brings is a better ratio of action to motion. We do a better job of working on only those things that really matter, not going off on adventures that may never make their way to production. Or developing with a ready, fire, aim approach. But it also wraps that action in more red tape. It’s a trade-off that every organization encounters.
Anyway, meetings are a highly visible part of that red tape. And the article covers the topic pretty well. I just have one thing to add. It’s a little math that I’ve always kept in the back of my mind at every meeting. Here’s the formula:
Px = T * W
Or, Productivity Lost = Time of the Meeting X the number of Workers at the meeting.
If you are running a meeting for 6 knowledge workers for 2 hours, assume that you just lost 12 hours of productivity. Was that meeting worth those 12 hours? It might have been. But that’s the trade-off. Remember, everyone’s time is valuable.
So, if you have any control over meetings at your organization, please keep that formula in mind. I always do.