Wait, you want to do what now?

You’ve hired the team. You’ve agreed to the budget. You have a bunch of documents that seem to suggest everyone knows what they are talking about. Now you get to work. Time goes by.

Then you get an email that has this subject line:

We need to meet asap. The project is not going the way we discussed.

Oh no. You think to yourself, “But this is going really well. We just had a meeting to talk about XYZ. What happened?”

Just because a project starts well, doesn’t mean it will go well. And it doesn’t mean, no matter the level of documentation or lengthy review meetings, that everyone knows what everyone else is saying.

Eventually, something will go off. The longer it takes you to figure out that you are NOT on the same page, the larger the gap of misunderstanding becomes. At the least it’s frustrating. At the worst, it can kill a project.

Introducing the 15-minute check-in.

Something we’ve used is the 15-minute check-in. It’s a once a week chance to correct course and make sure everyone knows what is going on. However, it can’t just be a nice meeting where you chat and discuss how the week is. You need to have a specific agenda that keeps driving the project forward.

  1. Each person shares what they completed last week. 30 seconds to 1 minute each.
  2. Each person shares what they will be doing this week. 30 seconds to 1 minute each.
  3. Each person shares a road block that they are facing right now.

You’ll notice there is no time for discussion. And at most, this meeting can’t have more than 10 people in attendance. If you do, you’ll start to lose focus quickly. We try to keep it to about 5, maybe six. And we go in that order. We start with the completed session, everyone goes around. Then the up next session, everyone goes around. Then the roadblocks session. Doing it this way helps keep people focused and prevents them from rambling.

If there are issues that need to be addressed based on what comes up in the roadblock section, those are addressed AFTER the meeting with only the folks that need to participate to solve the road block. The name of the game is to keep this efficient, clean and moving forward. Addressing roadblocks can happen RIGHT after that meeting or it can happen a few days later. BUT IT MUST HAPPEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Because roadblocks are keeping folks from working. You can’t wait a week or more to address them.

You will still need review meetings, creative meetings etc. However, I think you will need fewer meetings overall if you take this approach. And, week by week, you’ll have a greater chance of staying on the same page. Which is the point.