Let’s Have More Meetings

Let’s Have More Meetings 150 150 CloudGovCo

A Microsoft study of working at home has found a 10% increase in meetings. Yay! Just what we need. More time to socialize and catch up on the water-cooler, err, food-court gossip. I’m sure, like me, you’ve been to too many useless meetings with too many uninformed people sharing their opinion.

A Harvard Business Review study has found that the most productive meetings have fewer than eight people; although you can go as high as 18 if you’re brainstorming. Interestingly 3-8 coincides with the approximate number in an Agiile Minimum Viable Team (MVT).

Metcalfe’s Network Law shows why. There are 56 possible communication paths between individuals in an eight-person team:

paths = n(n-1)

If you’re a project manager you can also find this formula in the PMI PMBOK.

If you’re in a daily scrum of 17 people there are 272 possible communication paths. So, of course, everyone will simply report their status to the scrum leader. There will be no meaningful interaction. Even so, if everyone speaks for 5 minutes the daily scrum will take 1 hour and 25 minutes, hardly a productive usage of time. In contrast an MVT is self-organizing, so it doesn’t need a scrum leader. It just needs an objective.

For a meeting you should invite the right people,  and only the right people. And have an agenda, and publish minutes.

Yay!