Weekly team meetings can be a waste of time. After discussing this process with other teams, we’ve decided to share how we do them. Our agenda is the result of several iterations as our company matures. The agenda has the purpose of touching all important aspects of the Megacool weekly journey.
The Megacool weekly team meeting is every Friday at 5pm. There is usually beer and dinner involved. This is provided by the moderator. During the meeting we summarize the week, discuss important topics more throughly and make decisions together.
The moderator role is rotated between each team member. This is to ensure that everyone participates and take responsibility for the meeting. The moderator makes sure that everyone prepares for the meeting, moves it forward, facilitate discussions and that we stay within one hour.
Goal of the weekly meeting
We don’t have meetings just for the purpose doing meetings. Thus, all our meetings have a goal that we measure against at the end of the meeting. The goal for the weekly meeting is to: Summarize the week, discuss specific topics, make decisions and bring everyone up to speed.
The agenda is structured into four status parts: Product, Company, Misc and Culture. Discussion items under Product, Company and Culture are usually the same, while the Misc section varies.
One or more team members are responsible for each discussion item.
It’s important that everyone has updated their areas of responsibility before the meeting starts. We skip all empty discussion items.
Without proper time management, meetings can easily take up a lot of time. Thus we time each topic that is being discussed. This allow us to be mindful on what we spend time on, and evaluate whether certain topics need a separate meeting or workshop due to its length and complexity. We aim to avoid discussing items for more than 5 minutes, and end the meeting within one hour.
We refer to our product status section as: Megacool SDK. During this status update we address each part of the product, e.g. each SDK, backend, database, website, partners, and marketing.
In the company status section we address more long-term elements to the business, like hiring, fundraising and administrative updates. This is also where we are likely to make decisions during the meeting.
The misc section is where we add discussion items specific for the given week.
We are striving for a great company culture. At the stage we are at, each team member's health and well-being is super crucial for our success.
This as a marathon, not a sprint.
One important lesson learned from our previous startup journeys are that it’s easy to forget the things you want to improve if it's not addressed on a regular basis. This increases the chance of actually following through.
You can including this section for small teams up to five people, but it doesn’t scale well from there. As your team grows, we recommend testing this section within smaller teams within your company. For larger team meetings (5–12 people) we recommend you have to reduce the culture section by removing individual reporting.
We want to celebrate all the good things that we achieve from our hard work! All recently reached milestones or those within reach are listed here. Examples are:
- product reaching new stages: open beta, public launch,
- number of GIFs shared, re-engaged users and installs, and
- company stages: number of employees, new office location, and closing fundraising rounds.
Lucky balls thrown
This is directly translated from the Norwegian phrase: Flaksballer kastet, where the purpose is to leverage serendipity. We try to encourage doing many small efforts that may result in huge outcomes for yourself or the company. Examples can be to talk to someone new by the coffee machine, engage in twitter conversation with someone you admire, help a friend of a friend, or say hi to random people you commute with. You never know what can result form it. Maybe asking someone about their awesome t-shirt can lead to your next investment! (This has actually happened to a startup we know!)
Learning / New knowledge
Generally we are all good at learning in vacuum. With this discussion item we aim to be open and share learnings from the week. It can be a specific methodology or technology you work with, smart APIs, an article with valuable marketing insight, life hack, etc.
Challenges / Mistake of the week
In addition to celebrating the good times, it’s important to celebrate the bad times too. At Megacool we strongly believe in failing fast and learning from failures. Share what went wrong and what needs to change in the process leading up to the mistake. That way everyone can help each other to avoid making the same mistake in the future. We are currently discussing whether the title should change to “The lucky opportunity to learn” after listening to Brian Wong’s experience on sharing mistakes within his team at Kiip.
Activity / Exercising
When we started Megacool we made being active a priority. Don’t neglect the energy and focus you get from physical activity! Usually we can correlate the level of activity with our mental well-being. Help each other prioritize this!
Meditation / Reflection
It’s important to spend time being mindful and reflect over our accomplishment. There are several ways to do this. Personally I write a reflection before going to bed.
You are more aware of your learnings when you put words to them and share them with others. We wouldn’t be where we are today without knowledge from the entrepreneurial community. We believe in sharing our knowledge with others to help learning both ways. Blogging is one way of doing this at a scale. We are still working on improving our blogging efforts, so this is a step in the right direction.
Socializing & making US friends
We started our social network from scratch when moving to San Francisco and quickly realized how comfortable it was to just hang out the three of us. We include this discussion item to help us broaden our network and make local friends.
Discuss agenda for next week
Together we review the calendar for the upcoming week in case there are things everyone needs to be aware of that was not addressed above.
As mentioned earlier, we don’t have meetings just for the sake of having meetings. Thus we have to evaluate whether we found this time well spent, did we meet the goal, and what will make it even better? We update the agenda template with changes for future meetings. A recent change to our weekly meeting was to add the Time column.
We always end the meeting with some laughter. This is very important as people will leave the meeting with a smile on their face.
There’s a lot of prestige in providing the best fun, and it’s a role that the moderator need to take mega seriously.
This post is written to all fellow structure and process nerds out there. If you are reading this and thinking: “WTF, that’s totally stupid. You should do it like this/why don’t you do this instead.” WE WANT TO KNOW! Tell us how we can improve further and you will forever be considered a Megacool person.