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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ship It! - 3.3 Coordinate and Communicate Every Day

Each team member briefly shares what they are working on and what problems they’ve run into. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than one to two minutes per person. Remember that this meeting has the entire team tied up, so be mindful of the burn rate; keep it short and to the point.

Tip 16: Use daily meetings for frequent course corrections

How to Get Started:

  • Be sure everyone knows the format (which questions you want answered).
  • Everyone must answer the questions. There are no passes, and no exceptions.
  • At first, be lenient on the time restriction. A lot of new information is exchanged in the beginning, so you must allow communication to flow freely.
  • Hold your meetings at the same time and in the same place, every day. Make daily meetings a habit, not a chore to keep track of.
  • Post topics that are discussed during daily meetings on a web page  or plog (project log).
  • Pick a person to start the meeting, and then move clockwise (or counterclockwise) through the group. Randomly picking one team member after another is more apt to make them feel ambushed. 
You're Doing It Right If...
  • Are the meetings useful? If no one in the group is learning anything, the reports might be too terse. If more details are needed in a particular area, push those topics into a side meeting with a smaller group. However, the two-minute rule is a guideline, not a law. You may find thirty seconds is just fine, or you may need three minutes.
  • Are meetings consistently held the same time and place every day, or do they fluctuate? Having daily meetings at the same time and place makes it easy to remember. Meetings can move occasionally, but avoid mixing things up frequently.
  • If you stopped holding the meetings, would people complain? They should! The team should come to depend on the daily meeting to stay “in the loop.” If the meetings can be dismissed, then they weren’t providing value. The team should rely on the daily meeting as an invaluable resource.
I've never participated in daily meetings but I have worked in environments where people worked in a vacuum.  I'm thinking short, daily meetings is the way to go.

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