Action Engineering Agile Mindset: Meetings

The Action Engineering team embraces an Agile mindset & Scrum practices in our work.
This series shares tips & coaching opportunities that work well for us.

If you poll your office, it turns out many people absolutely despise meetings. (Raise your hand if you’ve laughed at – and considered purchasing – the coffee mugs that say “this meeting could have been an email.”)

Now reflect back on how many times you’ve attended a meeting where you were absolutely not needed. Maybe there wasn’t an agenda, so you weren’t sure what was going to be discussed. Maybe you thought the meeting was going to cover three topics, but topic #1 ran over, so topic #3 was never discussed. Maybe the meeting was productive, but a final decision couldn’t be made because one key player wasn’t in attendance.

As a meeting organizer, sometimes it is hard to know if truly everyone is necessary. It feels easier to just slap a few extra names on the distribution list instead of getting called out for leaving Bob from Accounting out of the loop.

There are two questions you can ask at the start of a meeting to ensure you have the just the right players in the room:

  • Do we need everyone who is here now for this meeting to proceed?

  • Should anyone else be in this meeting?

Try starting your meetings with a 1-minute ‘Escape Hatch’ exercise from Stanford’s Ritual Design course. As soon as the meeting begins, announce what will be covered, then give everyone an immediate 1-minute coffee break. Anyone who realizes they don’t need to be in the meeting can respectfully leave – without any judgment from the rest of the team. When everyone else returns, you can begin the meeting with only the people who need to be there.

Too often, meeting FOMO (fear of missing out) kicks in and we attend meetings where we know we aren’t really needed. Build a culture where it’s okay to not attend meetings when the participants won’t add or receive value.

This does not mean zero meetings… it means attending the right meetings. While we may still dislike meetings, meetings that have the right people in the room – or on the Zoom call – are worth having. And once your team realizes your meetings are productive and valuable, the more likely they are to attend and engage.

Want to chat with us about how your team is practicing Agile in your MBE journey?
Send us a message!

Emily Cosgrove, Agile Team Lead


Agile Team Lead
Certified ScrumMaster®


Kate Hubbard, CMO


Chief Marketing Officer
Certified ScrumMaster®

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