A behavior I noticed is I was having a bunch of meetings and I had no idea if they were useful or a total waste of time. Too many of them certainly felt like it, as did many others I've talked with, outlining how their calendars were full of meetings they had no idea what they were about. At that point I heard my own advice echo in my head, the same that I give startups, CEO, COO and teams in the enterprise alike - come up with a metric, give it something that says "this was successful/meaningful if".

It also forced me to think about why the meeting was important, and why it needed to happen.

I ran the experiment, because why not? Not only because remote work has created an amazing surge of meetings, I felt like giving a meeting some metrics would add merit, answer the reason why its necessary and what we expect to get out of it more than just an agenda. Typical agenda's I see (by looking at my calendar, right now) is "Agree on Roadmap", "Identity impacts", and other goals, but not things we'd like to get out of it. Is the roadmap already done or do we need to add 3 months to it? Are we already looking at impacts and what are we doing to make those happen? With this, I decided to dogfood my own idea.

A good example was a recent meeting I had with a decent sized group working a pitch deck. We knew finishing it wasn't realistic, but making progress was on the agenda. So how would I know it was successful? The presentation was way too big and it was clear it needed cleaned, shortened and focused. It was also unrealistic to finish it, at least to a point of "complete enough". Ok, that's what I want, how can I measure that progress? Here's what I came up with.

  • Finish 5 slides
  • Settle on 3 Talking Points (for the entire pitch)
  • Remove/consolidate 2 slides
  • Schedule next working session within 1 week.

We weren't able to "finish" the five slides, but we did consolidate four of them down to one. The talking points are now five (down from ~10?) and the seemingly easiest one... well, we scheduled it out 8 days. Close enough.

Even though we missed a few, the next meeting will be way easier to keep focus, and some carry over directly. We need to finish 5 slides, and remove two talking points. I may throw a new one in, "Pitch doesn't exceed 12 slides" but we'll see.