We all love to hate the weekly meeting and unless you are a black belt project manager often time is wasted with status updates and little time is spent making decisions and agreeing actions.
I've been using Chatter Customer Groups with partners and customers and helping new chatterati use the tool in their own companies, in doing so there are a couple of habits that need to be unlearned.
Here are 6 simple tips to transform your weekly meetings from boring to inspiring, just using Chatter Groups.
1 - Create a home for your initiative in Chatter
You can use a group "Project X" or better yet use an actual project or initiative object (more on that another time). If using a group clearly define the group purpose and provide links to frequently used resources in the sidebar.
2 - Establish rules / etiquette
Every tribe has its rules and the group definition and sidebar is the place to set yours
Roles & Responsibility: John (Rythymn), Paul (Lead), George (Bass), Ringo (Vibe)
Next Meeting: Wednesday 4pm 1800 000 000 x 12345#
Billing Code: XTeam
Target Date: July 1
3 - Meetings are not for Status Updates
Make sure your team gets their status updates posted at least a day before the meeting. Members can give input and provide feedback and avoid taking up meeting time. Use the meeting time to summarise and confirm the decision, action, owner and timeframe.
4 - Turn Meetings to Huddles
This is less about timing and more about energy and style. Physical presence in a huddle adds weight to your digital voices. Spend time celebrating successful interactions by the group during the week. Topic owners summarise the conversation and push for decisions, owners and timeframes. Time box discussion and if you max-out take it ONLINE back to chatter.
Try running your slides on an iPad from chatter and have your scribe post actions in the chatter app on theirs.
5 - Rethink "Minutes"
Minutes are important, they formally record progress and offer a digest to those who are not following the full conversation. I like to use slide format its easy to read and forces summarisation, slideshare shows they are also more likely to be read. Dont be a dill and repost duplicates, use the upload a new version feature if you make revisions.
However action items are clear candidates for separate posts as they have a specific assignment and create a natural thread for subsequent updates.
6 - Trim your Attendee List
This falls in the category of no FYIs and no Drive-by Carbon Copies, if people want to know they can +Follow in chatter or Search. If they need to know @mention them, but make sure you spell out why you do so and your intended result.
@Ringo see @Paul's rewrite above, you need a new beat as he wrote it on acid.
Chatter customers are finding they need 27% fewer meetings, in my opinion they are halfway there, with a good collaborative structure I'd love to hear how you are beating meeting-centric corporate cultures.
For the blackbelts, check out the host of great project management applications on http://www.appexchange.com which are starting to leverage the chatter platform.
Got a tip for fixing the weekly meeting, let me know in the comments or @derektweets