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Minimising and maximising meetings

Eliminating activities that don’t generate value for your customer or your bottom-line are the primary tasks of the Lean methodology. While getting rid of them completely is nearly impossible, implementing effective waste systems can help you be a more efficient continuous improvement leader.

There is one key element of every workplace that can benefit immensely from the implementation of lean principles: meetings. One of the best ways you can help your team to prevent the generation of unnecessary waste is to adopt a daily meeting routine that is time efficient and effective. The stand-up or ‘scrum’ meeting structure is an enhanced form of the typical roundup meeting that is an inevitable part of each team’s activities.

Unlike long, unproductive team meetings that can require hours of debate, note taking and follow-up, the daily stand up has a few distinguishable features that encourage teams to improve constantly. It is the perfect meeting tool to assist your teams to become more focused on continuous improvement each day.

First of all, it is called a stand up because it is held on foot. During the meeting, every member of your team must present answers to three short, easy questions:

  • What did I accomplish yesterday?
  • What’s on the agenda for today?
  • What is blocking me from achieving my goals today?

Secondly, these short, snappy questions don’t require your team members to prepare long agendas or notes to combat long meetings. Instead, the continuous improvement meeting structure is designed is to boost information sharing between your team members, inspiring camaraderie and therefore improves collaboration between team members. With the ideal length of such a meeting being between 5 and 15 minutes depending on the size of the team, it is not a space to be taken up with gripes or excuses – this is a space to talk about what you’re doing and how you’re going to get it done.

The scrum style of meeting is a great way to keep everybody synchronised, but its format is unsuitable for in-depth analysis of your team’s activities. When it comes to discussing strategy or larger issues management, weekly WIP meeting should be set aside for those longer discussions.

Have any further ideas about how meetings can be improved? We’d love to hear them!