TOT 004:

Save time and Money with these 10 Rules to Run the Perfect Meeting for Technology Professionals

John Barker
Aug 13, 2023
Read Time: 4 Minutes

Managers are meeting happy. It’s a way for them to show their value to a company.  They’ll gather their entire team into a conference room and force all of the remote people to sign in, just to check in.

The problem is meetings most meetings have no value. The weekly update meetings are trivial and can report in a written format. The cost of the meeting outweighs the outcome of the meeting.

A series of meetings can go on for so long that no one even questions their purpose. It’s on the calendar so it’s “what we do”.

Before we even get to the meeting rules let’s determine the cost of having the meeting in the first place. There is a simple formula to use: (meeting time * salary of attendees + opportunity cost) = $$$

The total value of the outcome of the meeting = $$$ (Time and Money)

You need to understand the value of the outcome of the meeting. It’s worth having the meeting to avoid a true million-dollar mistake. But if the meeting will cost you $10,000 to host it and the problem-solved value at less than $10,000 it’s not worth it.

There are more efficient means to update and fix minor issues.

Quick Story: It was my first day with a new client. I sat in on a meeting. There were 8-10 people around the table talking about one of the projects they were working on. I was listening but was not sure of the scope of the project they were dealing with. Someone starts talking about the size of the project after 30 minutes.

I interrupted the meeting and asked how much the value of the project was worth. They said $200 PER MONTH.

I did a quick calculation in my head. I estimated we burned through an entire year’s worth of revenue in this one single meeting.

One person should have handled these tasks.

Here are 10 Rules for Every Meeting You Host

1. If You have No Agenda–No Meeting

Do not wing it. You have zero purpose or direction if you don’t take the time to develop an agenda.

2. Your only Attendees are the ones that need to take action

Inviting unnecessary people to your meeting increases the risk of bad meeting outcomes.

3. Your other stakeholders keep updated via dashboards, slack, email, Trello, etc.

Non-action-oriented stakeholders can track progress via online dashboards and leave comments as necessary.

4. Your meetings have a firm time limit.

This is the Golden Rule.

5. Every one of your Attendees has a speaking part.

Every attendee that is actively working should have something to contribute to the meeting. The agenda you developed will communicate the needs of the meeting.

6. Each speaker limits themselves to 3 update types if you have a regular status meeting.

What they accomplished, what they are working on, and what help they need.

Keep the format simple for everyone in attendance.

7. Each of your attendees should track a key metric. Limited to the 3 most important metrics.

Metrics are the only way to determine progress.

8. The most important metrics to you are tied to a financial or time component.

This metric is usually based on the amount of money or time that is budgeted and how fast you are burning through it.

9. If anyone identifies a major risk that will de-rail the project you are working on it gets priority. Don’t sit on it.

People don’t like to give out bad news. They are afraid of the messenger getting punished.

Don’t punish the messenger. It is a surefire way of getting bad news when it’s too late to take action to reduce the impact.

Encourage an environment where when bad things happen they are reported as early as possible. This will prevent things from spiraling out of control.

10. A good meeting ends earlier than the scheduled time. A meeting that overruns the time is death.

Don’t schedule a meeting for 90 minutes that you know should only take 60 minutes. Schedule a 60-minute meeting that ends in 50 minutes. Schedule a 30-minute meeting that ends in 25 minutes

That’s all for this week.

See you next Sunday.


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John Barker

John Barker

John has over 25 years of technology experience and earned a Bachelor’s in Business Management & MBA.  He also holds CISSP and PMP certifications.