Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meeting Management: Keep Meetings Short And Frequent

Time is the most valuable, scare, underutilized, and wasted resource on earth.  And very few are able to understand this fact depending on how much they see value in time.    

Time and time again we have been to endless meetings resulting into huge waste of time for everyone present there.  Everyone forgets that even though it's one hour meeting in reality it's not.  For example, if four star developers are scheduled to meet for one hour with one business analyst then let's start counting how much time is wasted.  We will assume that our fictitious meeting turns out to be useless.

First let's put 5 hours straight since they all could have worked 5 hours on their projects.  We are talking about star developers which are far more productive and produce less bugs than the average developers.  So now we are talking even more hours wasted.  Let's put 30 mins extra for each star developer.  7 hours wasted and counting.  Ok we are still not done yet.

Developers work in the zone so if you pull out them from their zone for just one hour then they cannot get back into zone quickly.  Since we have assumed that the meeting has turned out to be useless and emotionally challenging, our developers are disturbed and they cannot put their focus back to work quickly.  Put another 30 mins per developer.  9 hours wasted when we only scheduled the meeting for 1 hour.  And many times meetings go beyond 1 hour so you can do the math on a specific situation. So let's round the number to 10.  

If all five of them earned $100/hour then 1*10*$100=$1000 is wasted every hour.  Of course when you have to conduct meetings then you have to.  There is no way out of it.  In that case you will try to minimize the damage as much as possible by keeping meetings as short as possible.  Read this article from Harvard Blogs on Extreme ways to shorten and reduce meetings and another one from 37signals on Meetings considered as harmful.

There are many companies which implement strict rules managing meeting times.  Keep it short and if required conduct more meetings but keep track of outcomes from previous meetings.  

Monday, August 08, 2011

You Don't Watch TV on Moon

If you landed on the Moon for the first time then will you watch TV?(assuming it is there)  No.  Right.  Who cares about TV on moon?  If your are exploring a place for the first time, then will you waste time watching TV inside your hotel room?  Nobody would do either.  That's right.  Then why people watch TV everyday and that too for hours?  There are so many things to do besides watching TV and wasting precious time.  All the happenings on TV are already crafted anyway and they are catering to a specific audience then why so much craving for it.  There is no reality on TV except your TV itself.

There are more interesting things going outside that 42 inch screen.  5 PM to 12 PM everyday is enough time to do something that will change your life dramatically.  So what about family life, kids and all that stuff?  I think there is enough time left just by not watching boring TV.  It is about managing one's time more effectively.  So I would be more busy by doing extra work right?  Yes why wouldn't you be?  If we aspire to do something different and big we will be busy in the future anyway.  Because of economic pressure we are doing more work and because of gloomy prospects we even learn new skills.  Since there is uncertainty over everything then why not do something that will be there even if you lose your job.

There are many small projects that you can do during your TV time and who know with those ideas you might turn into an entrepreneur.  Experimenting with new will give new dimension to your life.  If we never do anything different then we should not expect to get different results.