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Weekly team meetings are an essential part of any Development Team. Especially when team members are working on different projects and multiple locations. Keeping these meetings relevant and informative is crucial – people are busy and no-one wants their time wasted. I recently sent out an email expanding on the types of meetings we have and how people can participate – perhaps they will help your team when they get together. 

We have always had two general types of meetings.

  • Catch Ups – a chance for me to communicate messages to the entire team and for them to ask me/others questions
  • Learning Stuff – the remaining meetings are dedicated to sharing knowledge amongst the team – these meetings are hosted by individuals in the team (not just me) and are a great way for people to help and learn from others.

Here’s the email (almost verbatim :-))

Hi All

As discussed at last weeks meeting here are the categories of sessions we are going to have. A couple of important points.

  • No Agenda No Meeting - if we don’t have an agenda there won’t be a meeting. I will let you know as soon as possible if the meeting is not on.
  • The order of sessions will vary – for example, there’s no reason we can’t have 2 Project Showcases back to back.
  • Session Times – we don’t have to use the full hour. If you have something to present and it only takes 15mins that’s fine.
  • Preparation – in most cases you shouldn’t need to spend too long preparing for a session. If you don’t need slides – don’t use them.

Project Showcase

These sessions are intended to showcase a specific aspect of a project you are working on.

  • Preparation Time - typically shouldn’t take more than an hour to prepare – you are already familiar with the topic and could simply turn up to the meeting, remote desktop to your machine and start talking…
  • Informal - keep the session as informal as possible. Only use PowerPoint if you really need to. Encourage discussions and feedback.
  • Keep it Real - show real solutions to real problems using real code.
  • Make it Relevant – choose a topic that you think has general appeal.

New And Cool

These sessions are all about helping the rest of the team keep up to date with the latest and greatest technologies around.

  • Preparation Time - typical prep time should be less than ½ day (work time). Usually you will have been playing with the technology in your own time and only need to put together some slides (if you really need to) and structure some examples (it’s often easier to use downloaded demos instead of conceiving your own)
  • Make it Relevant – the main criteria here is that the topic has the potential to be useful to the work we do – it doesn’t have to be ready for use now, for example you may be presenting a beta product or an upcoming version of a product we currently use.
  • Show the Passion – of all topics this one is where you can get everyone excited about something that’s really cool. Make sure you work everyone into a frenzy!

Tips and Tricks

These sessions are all about Tips and Tricks on things that will make you more productive in your job. For example, nifty utilities that you have used that make your life easier.

  • Preparation Time – less than an hour and probably zero. These are tools, tricks and utilities that you use now and find invaluable. You shouldn’t need much preparation at all.
  • Not only Technology – think beyond technology too, you could present on things like Estimation Techniques, Time Management, Dealing with Clients etc.

General

These sessions can contain one or more of the following.

  • Leadership Update – a chance for me to let you guys know what’s going on
  • Team Message – a chance for me to send out any team wide messages
  • Inter-Team Get Together – a chance for all the delivery teams to get together and share ideas
  • Ask the Experts – a few ‘experts’ sit up the front of the room and you get a chance to grill them
  • Round Table – an opportunity for you all to discuss what’s going on with your projects – the good, the bad and the ugly.
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