Between Meetings
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Between Meetings

Are Product Managers Wasting Their Time with Meaningless Meetings?

Photo by NoWah Bartscher on Unsplash
  • I don’t have time to do my work. I’m in meetings the whole day.
  • Please find a slot in my calendar if you want to talk to me.
  • I’m all over the place. I’ve got more on my plate than I can handle.
  • Context switching is killing my day.

We cannot remain victims of our circumstances. We must act.

Only when we learn can we improve. I want to share an idea of something I am missing at the moment—analytics for virtual meetings. Then, I’d like to invite you to share which questions you would like to get answers to.

Measure Success

As Product Managers, we long for data for everything we do. We don’t create solutions without evidence for feasibility, viability, and usability. We are creative in figuring out how to get the data we need to progress. Many tools help us navigate, Google Analytics, mixpanel, Amplitude, Hotjar, etc. We are curious to experiment and learn from our end-users.

Without accurate data, Product Managers are powerless.

Successful Product Managers start with the end in mind. They know what they want to achieve, and together with the team, they figure out how to get there. We know how to build products, but do we really know how to lead engaging meetings? We are flying blind because we have no data.

Do you know what defines a successful meeting?

You may evaluate a positive result as:

  • Progress towards a common goal.
  • Decisions made related to a critical topic.
  • Clear agreements on the next steps of a project you’re working on.
  • A plan on how to tackle a specific challenge.
  • A list of assumptions to validate.
  • Context switch: How many different topics a day do you handle?
  • Team’s performance: How do meetings impact the team’s performance?
  • Cost of opportunity: What are the participants not doing to attend their appointments?
  • Segmented work: How do meetings contribute to fragmented work?
  • Motivation: How motivated are team members after sessions?

Flying blind cannot be the only option we have.

How Could You Move From Pointless Meetings to Meaningful Ones?

I think every person has a secret recipe for a meaningful meeting. Let me share mine with you:

  • Timing: ensure the time is suitable for all participants. Finding slots isn’t enough.
  • Agenda: be mindful of your colleagues. Tell them your motivation, which goal you want to achieve, and how the exchange will occur. Don’t send invites without agenda.
  • Preparation: a meaningful exchange requires preparation. Tell in advance what you expect from the participants and inform them if preparation is needed and what to do.
  • Participants: only invite people you need to achieve your goal. Virtual meetings can have unlimited participants, and that’s a trap. Be mindful about the other’s time, do not invite someone just for the sake of doing it. Ensure only relevant participants are there.
  • Tune In: In all meetings I host, I start by saying the goal I have, connect to the agenda, and then as the participants, “how do you come in?” This is an important question because you give a chance for people to arrive at the meeting and then understand if something needs to change for the exchange to be effective.
  • Participation: during the exchange, monitor who contributes and who is silent. Strive to give everyone a chance to be heard. If someone isn’t participating, either the person is mentally absent or has nothing to do with your topic.
  • Next steps: you need to finish the meeting with a clear outcome. Ensure you agree on who does what until when and who is a person, not a team.
  • Tune Out: leave around 10 minutes in the end, to evaluate how people leave the meeting. Ask a question, “How do you leave?” This will show you how people perceived the discussion and help you improve.



Collection of posts on how to manage remote, back-to-back meetings, project work, and tools to help you along the way. Written by project and product managers, agile coaches and people passionate about meeting tools.

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