Regular status meetings are boring: everyone
goes around the table and rehashes what they did in the last week or month. No
one really cares. If the project dates are slipping, the team wants the meeting
to be over with so they can get back to doing something useful.
But status meetings can be fun!
Yes, I know, it's a strange concept. But I've
seen it happen. I was doing documentation on a software development team. The
team was implementing agile development practices, and they were planning to do
a release every month. This meant a big meeting with marketing, sales, the
whole development team.
It was important for the project lead to
include the whole company in that project. She felt that it would bring the two
worlds of development and marketing/sales together, that it would help people
understand the other side.
Since everyone had things to do in the
project, I suggested that we make something visual, like a board, to monitor
out progress. The rest of the team thought I was crazy, they humored me. So I
built this huge board and pasted a giant photograph on it. It was about the
size of 6 letter-sized pages. Then I cut out squares of colorful cardboard and pinned
them over the picture, so I was the only one who knew what was behind the
Each one of those pieced of cardboard
corresponded to a task in the project. It could be a feature, or finishing
documentation, and even the first sale was there. So developers, marketers and
sales reps all had at least a square or do to "unpin" from the board. The first month, when we did the first "unpinning,"
people thought it was really lame and corny.
But something happened. People
kept their pieces of cardboard and pinned them on the walls of their cubicles.
Those pieces of yellow and purple cardboard became trophies.
On the second monthly meeting, people were
clapping those who got to "unpin" and there was a feeling of pride in the room.
The board was displayed at the entrance of the R&D department. It gave a
very visual impression of how far along the project was.
And so people came to like those status
Making status meetings fun means changing how it's done
Status meetings should not be just about reporting what happened. They should be about accomplishment. They should be there to reward the people who did good, and motivate those who are having difficulties.
If no one wants to go to the meeting, what's the point of having the meeting?