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Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is a successful meeting?

Meetings are everywhere.  External meetings, internal meetings, individual meetings, group meetings,  team meetings, daily sprints, sprint reviews, retrospectives, etc.

Often, people claim a meeting is successful. There are meeting notes distributed too. But, what determines a successful meeting? I am not focusing in conducting an effective meeting on meeting etiquette but evaluating the success of a meeting.

I recall a great book on How I raised successfully from failure to success in selling that gave the tip. A successful meeting is one that has the next meeting identified.  But, wait a minute, is that it? So, if recurring meetings are set, then isn't all meetings successful?

There lies the myth. The successful meeting is the one need having clear action items identified with action owners and due dates so that the next meeting serves as a follow up. The follow through happens in between these two meetings ensuring incremental and iterative progress closing the sale, improving processes, updating progress, identifying risks, lessons learned, and removing obstacles.

If follow up meetings are proving to be action owners not providing updates or providing vague updates, then it is time to evaluate if the right owner was identified or if the owner is capable and having bandwidth. Identify escalation paths if necessary. Of course, this is true when that action item is still applicable.  If a solution is identified or closure is recommended,  then it is also important to ensure collaborative commitment and if any additional follow up would be required now or later.

Would you look at your meetings and evaluate if your meetings are successful?  What other criteria would you add outside of meeting etiquette to evaluate the outcome of a meeting?