Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meeting Management: IPAD


In my earlier post on meeting management I wrote on how to keep meetings shorter and frequent to get the most out of meetings.  Shorter meetings bring a sense of urgency.  Remember people will work their butts off to ship a product on time.  In this post I want to talk on other aspects of how to get the most out of a meeting.  There are many issues related to it but I will just focus on three of them and they are very simple to remember.  

The principle is known as IPAD principle.  Ok.  Very simple just remember IPAD.  It is very simple.  IPAD means I will come to the meeting Prepared with an Agenda and leave with a Deliverable (read outcome).  These three aspects of meeting (Preparation, Agenda, and Deliverable) are very important if you want to get something productive out of a meeting.  So what do I stand for?  It stands for Responsibility.  It means I will be held responsible for not having these things done.  That is why I have written it as an Oath.  I feel that if these aspects of business meeting are not met then it is not business meeting, it is just a hangout. 

Preparation
When someone comes to the meeting unprepared without having any clue as to what is going on is such a frustrating experience.  It wastes everyone’s time and energy.  If everyone comes prepared to a meeting then conducting a meeting goes effortless.  Sometimes you might even get solutions to problems even before you have a meeting.  Your team mate might even email you the solution.  Everyone contributes to a higher level if they are prepared. 

Agenda
Walking into a meeting without an Agenda is like wandering in a Jungle where you don’t have a clue where are you going.  Having a fixed agenda which has definite outcomes at the end of the meeting is very important.  A good agenda should have definite outcomes also known as deliverables assigned to specific individuals.  Sometimes meetings go on forever and they seem to achieve nothing.  Another thing to include in an Agenda is a quick overview of last meetings deliverables being met or not.  If your team doesn’t have agenda then volunteer to create one and send email to everyone requesting inputs and review them.  Send agenda in advance. 

Deliverable
As mentioned above Deliverable or outcome is a must after you have conducted meeting.  A deliverable will give a to-do-list to your team to work on.  Each deliverable should be assigned to a team member with a deadline.  Otherwise people would land up with sentence, “Oh, nobody told me”, “I don’t know what we were supposed to do”.  Be relentless in your approach to reach to a definite outcome of a meeting.  

Always remember the IPAD principle for meeting management and PDF principle for general management.