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Effectiveness of Meetings in Development Process

| by Savita Pahuja Follow 2 Followers on Oct 16, 2014. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Software development initiatives include a number of different types of meetings across the whole development process. The participants’ attitudes and cognitive process also play an important role in decision-making activities in these meetings. But are all the meetings productive? Don't we really need to focus on the effectiveness of meetings? 

Some ways to check the effectiveness and cost of meetings are mentioned by Marie of the Mobile Orchard blog, in a blog post as:

1) Time is spent for the meeting before, during and after:

Most employees use up to four hours of their workweek just to prepare for their regular meetings. According to an Atlassian study, as many as 45 percent of employees felt overwhelmed because they were attending so many meetings in a short period of time. This can lead to additional stress that could be avoided if companies start requiring employees to attend only the most important meetings. That’s why some companies opt for cost effective meetings via platforms like Blue Jeans Network to check the cost associated with each meeting.

2) Brainstorming may not actually rain down ideas:

If management ask participants to brainstorm during the meeting, they may actually restrict the thinking process by trying to restrict the thinking in a timebox. Being forced to come up with creative solutions on the spot can be intimidating for your employees, according to Market Wired.

3) Lack of engagement during the meeting:

Most employees multitask during meetings, which shows lack of engagement in the meetings. Therefore meetings end up being less productive. Marie shared some statistics to support this:

At least 92 percent of employees are guilty of multitasking during a meeting, according to Fuse. At least 73 percent of people admit to doing tasks that are unrelated to work or the meeting they are in, states Atlassian

Marie said that this lack of engagement could happen because of long meeting durations.

There are some tools which anyone can use to calculate the cost of the meeting. These tools are helpful in finding out the effectiveness of meetings in terms of financial figures and help management in finding out ways to make meetings more fruitful in terms of time and money.

MeetingKing is a tool which calculates the cost of the meeting just by asking some basic information like number of participants, average salary of participants and duration of meeting. Research done my MeetingKing shows that if managers use meetings appropriately they can reduce the time spent by 25%.

Marie mentioned that we should try different tools to remain focused in meetings. Only having phone calls is not sufficient, if we can arrange video conferences then seeing each other’s body language, people will most likely pay more attention.

Meetings can be useful, but only if they are utilized properly. The first step in preventing unproductive meetings is identifying and admitting that these problems exist in the first place. Many of these problems can be resolved by setting clear expectations for each meeting.

Try alternatives, or better yet, see if you can do without a meeting at all. If meetings are held only for the most important topics, and involve only the most crucial key people who can actually do something about the problem at hand, then you will get more value for your company’s time and money.

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