Deep Six the Weekly Status Meeting

Laurent Bossavit posts a discussion of the reasons to deep six the status meeting.

The problem ? A status meeting’s traditional format has the person who convened the meeting, a manager usually, work through a list of items. They are items of importance to the manager – not to the people attending the meeting as a group. Each item is usually about the work of one or more subordinates, who report their status to the manager for each item which concerns them.

Such a meeting is a waste of time to the persons not concerned by each item. It is humiliating when it is primarily arranged to demonstrate the manager’s power over others; when it serves to show wasting other people’s time as a manager’s prerogative.

I met a manager who was looking for a way to make his two-hour status meetings more interesting… he had noticed that people looked bored. When I asked about using standup meetings in conjunction with one-on-one meetings, he replied that it was more convenient for him to hold one meeting.

I’m not sure he had the conscious intent to show his power by wasting people’s time in status meetings, though I can see how it feels that way.I suspect (but do not know) that this manager was not aware, and had not though about how it might appear to others.

I suspect that most managers are repeating what they have seen done before. They are following the time-honored (if mistaken) tradition of the weekly status meeting. Perhaps managers who stick to the old ritual of boring status meetings do not know there is more effective way. Perhaps it’s a lack of imagination.

Short project focused standup meetings are for the benefit of the team.

Managers usually get more useful information — and can do the feedback and coaching part of their job — in one-on-ones.

(As I’ve said before.)