Meetings are meant to be focused on a specific topic, event, or initiative. More often than not, though, meetings are found to be a disruption during the workday. Because of this stigma, most people work on other projects during meetings.
73% of people work on other things during meetings. Not only does this take away from the meeting’s focus, but it gives half-handed effort to the other work attendees are doing during the meeting.
This unfortunate reality results in unfocused work across the board, not allowing dedicated time on any specific project or task. The main reason for this behavior is attendees aren’t given meeting agenda with goals ahead of time, resulting in wasting most of the meeting getting everyone up to speed.
This snowballs into more unproductive behavior. Because there isn’t a dedicated place where attendees can prep for meetings, there most likely isn’t an area where attendees can find meeting minutes templates for recaps or next steps, either. The default is usually an email sent out with notes, but then there’s a lack of accountability for follow-up.
We spoke with two leaders in the tech industry who’ve combatted this common behavior around meetings. By changing the way they’ve approached meeting preparation and follow-up through meeting best practices, they’ve encouraged productive behavior that’s resulted in eliminating 15-20 minutes of unnecessary meeting time.
“Having a tool to use [for meetings] has influenced human behavior.”—Roger Deetz, VP of Technology at Springbuk
Roger Deetz is the VP of Technology at Springbuk, a leading-edge Health Intelligence platform. He and his team first found success with using a dedicated meeting management tool for 1:1’s. His personal management style is informal, encouraging dedicated time with team members to be collaborative. He and his team use Docket to add topics to meeting agendas ahead of time, so they don’t forget what needs to be prioritized.
What’s more impressive is what followed next with a completely independent group of engineers that started to have regular meetings for a project they’re working on. Without any mandate from management, they started using the online management solution to build agendas and action items. This has allowed them to manage deadlines next steps efficiently.
“Having a tool to use has influenced human behavior [across the company]. Docket in and of itself lets you set agenda, take notes, and define action items. [We’re using] it to make behavior easier to maintain.”
—John Vernon, COO at WebTeks
“We have seen daily stand-up meetings go from 30-60 minutes down to an average of 10.”
John Vernon is the COO at WebTeks, a company focused on digital transformation by creating web and mobile apps for businesses to scale and grow. Because the core of the company’s value is centered around optimizing technology to scale high growth, Vernon and his team recognized immediately that their current meeting practices were cutting into productivity, instead of enhancing it.
“Before Docket, we used a combination of Confluence, Google Docs, and individual contributors (paper notes). Having several silos of information was a huge problem, and we often had to rely on memory as the notes were not typically centrally combined or available.”
Leveraging technology solutions to eliminate these types of silos is a welcomed practice at a company like WebTeks, so using an online meeting management tool was a natural decision. By using Docket as a central, digital place for all meeting information, Vernon shares, “[We] spend less time managing after actions, notes, and communication and more time collaborating on the right things up-front—and following up on the right things when done.”
Having a dedicated space where meeting notes, prep, and recap has not only helped the flow of the meeting, but it’s given back a significant amount of time:
“Our meetings no longer require us to have pre-meetings to spend the first portion of the meeting reviewing ‘old business’. Now old business is just part of the flow. This has eliminated an average of 15-20 minutes per meeting.”
When it comes to daily stand-up meetings with teams, Vernon shares that meetings have been getting done in a third of the time they were, and have even cut 83% of meeting time in some instances:
“We have seen daily stand-up meetings go from 30-60 minutes down to an average of 10. This is entirely due to having the ability to surface blockers in the meeting notes prior and moving these issues to breakout sessions that only take the time of those that need to help resolve this blockers.”