After reading Tim Rodgers’ blog on staff meetings, I was re-energized to have a purposeful staff meeting. Many of our test teams use agile management methods, so they say so it was interesting to see that although they think their projects are agile, the company itself works under different standards.

We started off the meeting talking about why we hate meetings. Here are the top 3 reasons:

  1. Nothing gets done
  2. Waste of time
  3. Nothing changes

I brought up that the purpose of a meeting is not necessarily to get things done, or make changes. As Tim said, there is value in collaboration and in talking to each other. I think that was the main point I wanted to get across is that just talking to each other, all together, is a good thing. I think that additionally, when you discuss something in a meeting it brings up or magnifies the importance of a problem and can create more urgency.

With email communication and now with texting, FB, and all those other social channels, it seems people have forgotten that there is some value in face to face communication, even if you don’t solve a problem.

I brought up that the first step to solving a problem is defining and understanding a problem and that face to face communications and meetings are good for that. For everyone to give their ideas and angles on the problem, thus helping the get a grasp on what the problem is, and possible sources.

One of our biggest problems brought up was recruiting and I found that holding the meeting brought up the urgency of the problem we are facing. Finding good people is tough. There are always tradeoffs in trying to find the right people that will fit with our culture and work ethic. What I found funny was that one of the project managers said, “yes, I’ve been working very hard on getting people and doing recruiting directly, but it’s not my job”. I said, “Well, don’t you manage an agile project? We need you to be agile! No one has roles, we are all striving toward the same goal and if you have to do some recruiting than that’s being agile!” Many of the other PM’s looked at him, smiling. And we all kind of laughed. It turns out this PM was actually doing a lot on recruiting but I guess he felt his time was spent better elsewhere, and perhaps that is true. Which I guess is another problem for discussion at the next meeting!

I think that agile management methods are not just for projects and can be used for many other aspects in management. Many times, people put themselves and others in boxes, when all we need to do is jump in and get it done, regardless of who does what.