Plenty of people sit in meetings and don’t listen either.
Jason Fried
33213

I agree with much of the content of this article, but moving status reports to a written form (a good idea, IMO) doesn’t mean that eliminating all face-to-face team meetings is also a good idea. I was a project manager and turnaround specialist in the tech industry and I actually did eliminate status meetings on a project— granted it was before the days of Basecamp or Slack. Did it achieve the benefits the author claims? In some respects yes, but there were side effects.

Turns out that all those people on your team are human beings, and humans are social animals. When I eliminated status meetings, we saved team members’ time, but we lost something too. Call it a sense of camaraderie or team spirit; I simply sensed that team members didn’t quite feel that they were part of something cool any more. (Not to mention that my conservative managers didn’t like it at all.) How much did that loss of team spirit and management support hurt the project? Not much that could be measured, but I think it made the company and my project a less fun place to work. Had I continued with that approach I think turnover might have become an issue.

Interestingly, when Agile development came along, with its daily (but very brief) standup meetings — we never actually stood — even the most introverted members of the team stopped complaining about their time being wasted in status meetings. I also found people don’t complain about being an active participant in problem-solving or brainstorming meetings.

My conclusion: putting status reports in written form that that all stakeholders can see is, as I opined above, a good idea. Eliminating regular team gatherings that engage team members and are respectful of their time, probably not so much.