Staff Meetings: Finding a Productive Balance

Here at Fabled Solutions, we value productivity. We always have several web development projects as well as internal initiatives on the go, and so we focus on staying on task in order to meet our deadlines. Although we use Slack to communicate throughout the day (read more here), Trello to keep our projects organized (read more here), Harvest to track our time allocation, and have the ability to walk over and ask each other questions as they arise, we enjoy our staff meetings in order to check in with each other and get a more formal update on what we have been accomplishing. In order to keep our staff meetings short, sweet, and to the point, we have come to utilize two different types that we find work particularly well for our team.

Daily Stand-up Meetings

To get our day started, we gather in our boardroom and spend 5 minutes letting each other know what we’re going to be working on that day. By spending this small amount of time communicating our to-do lists, we are able to set ourselves up for a productive day. These meetings also provide us with the ability to schedule time with other team members if necessary, and quadruple check that all tasks are being completed.

Focused, Weekly Staff Meetings

Our weekly staff meetings are very structured, and we cap them at one hour. We each take time going around the boardroom table and sharing what we’ve been working on over the past week. Each person gets 2-3 minutes to present something they’ve worked on, followed by 2-3 minutes to talk about a challenge they are facing. Once everyone has had their turn, we choose one of the presented challenges to solve as a team. We find this meeting layout beneficial for several reasons:

  • Awareness – First, all of our team members are more aware of what each other person has been up to. One of our developers could have set up multiple databases and developed several intricate features for a system, while our designer may have deployed a website and created wireframes for a different client. This check-in allows our project manager to ensure we are on track to meet project deadlines and gives us a chance to congratulate each other on the great work we’ve been doing. It also helps us focus our social channels on topics that are relevant to our work environment.
  • Problem Solving – One of the best parts about working with a team is all of the different backgrounds and knowledge bases. What one team member may see as a challenge, another may see as a strength. By announcing something that we are struggling with, we open the door for others to step in and help either by providing different perspectives, advice, or even the solution!
  • Collectivity – Another positive outcome from these meetings is having our team feel like more of a collective. As mentioned before, we have a very focused office, and so having a reoccurring opportunity to listen to each other and work together strengthens us each week. Some team members may never get to team up on projects, and so working together to solve a weekly challenge prepares us for the day those said team members do need to work together. No one gets left behind, and we are all willing to help if someone is in need.

Although our organization develops online applications and software and thrives alongside technology, we still find face-to-face contact and communication vital to our organization both internally and externally. Even if we plan to conduct most of our business over the phone with a particular client, we will normally in the least have a kickoff meeting in person. Some clients even come in monthly for functionality requests and check ins! Productivity is our focus, and so communicating effectively, in an appropriate time and place, and in a timely manner is something we strive for.

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