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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Catalog of Meetings

We all participate in far too many meetings.  I thought if maybe we could catalog and number the different kinds of meetings we participate in, it might help us prepare better for them.

  1. About the Recent Crisis:  This meeting includes every possible stakeholder, and is called by leadership to yell about the current crisis, and scramble to try to solve it.  If you are busy solving this crisis, skip the meeting, because what you are doing is far more productive.  However, it is considered good form to send a nice e-mail to all involved letting them know why you won't be present.  To avoid a command performance, it helps if you misspell the meeting leaders e-mail address in your response.
  2. The Weekly Status Meeting: Judy and Tom will spend half the meeting time having a conversation they should have had in the hallway before the meeting started, while the other six of you check your e-mail, read your RSS feeds and respond to urgent requests.  Tim's presentation which is planned to occur at the end of the meeting will have to be delayed until next week because we ran out of time. Everyone else, please be sure to respond to your manager's latest e-mail on being sure to complete whatever it was before the close of the quarter.
  3. The Kickoff Meeting:  That new project that everyone has been preparing for over the last three weeks is now going to be officially kicked-off by management.  That means all time is now billable. We will have 45 people packed in a room (or on a webex) while the leaders present slides that those of us who have been around a while have all seen at least seven variations on.  This meeting is mandatory for everyone.  This is a good day to take some personal time off for that Doctor's appointment you've been meaning to have.
  4. The 15-Minute Stand-up Meeting: Delayed due to technical difficulties, and for some reason, Mary didn't get the e-mail, so could someone go track her down?  Oh, and we need Jim today too, can you see if he is on Skype and let him know to dial in?  Oh yeah, the meeting number, isn't it in the e-mail?  Sure, let me read it off to you.
  5. The Quarterly Report: Things are going OK (or getting better), we did about as well as could be expected in this market, and for the most part, senior leadership thinks they will earn their bonuses for the year.  Thanks to George and Liz who worked really hard closing that last really big deal we should have had at the beginning of the quarter, for saving all our butts.
  6. Replanning: The sky is falling, the project is late, how are we going to deliver on the original schedule?  We need to double down our efforts and improve our efficiency to make this better and reassure management that we know what we are doing and that we won't be late.
If you should need to schedule any of these meetings with me, please simply order it by number, and I will respond appropriately.


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