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A 96 hour meeting

I didn’t think about it this way, but it made perfect sense after I read an essay. Recently my team at my day job had an offsite gathering for brainstorming and evaluating our group’s place in the company. We met for two days away from the office, and 6 of us were in a meeting room for 8 hours a day.
That’s not a two day meeting, or a 16 hour meeting. It was for me, but for the company that was a 96 hour meeting.
Just think about the loss of productivity from that two days. Across 2 major sites, that’s a lot of work lost. True we did get some things done, and we had the chance to each hear what the others think of their business and how to improve it. However it also added a lot of stress. In addition to the need for me to work nearly twice as hard for the time of the meetings (2 days), I also had to take more time to prepare for the meeting, in my case, about 3-4 hours, which was twice as long as I presented.
That’s stress to be prepared for the meeting, but that meant that essentially the 2 hour meeting time for me meant a 6 hour increase in work. Two hours of work, two hours of extra work to handle things, and two hours of prep.
Imagine how many meetings you have in your company, even in small companies. Taking a couple hours of each day for a meeting between 2 or 3 people and it’s no wonder that 12 hours days are needed to get many companies going. That lowers creativity, adds stress, and doesn’t necessarily accomplish a lot.
What can you do instead?
What I’d recommend is that you empower people to make more decisions. Don’t require meetings to get things done, and when you do need people to get together, make it minimal. Schedule time and limit the number of people, and solve things quickly. Don’t take a half hour for a meeting. Start on time, get the issue out there, debate it and make a decision in half the time to allotted.
Then go back to work.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by Jason Brimhall on 8 April 2010

I really like meetings that aren't meetings.  I hate meetings that are setup to plan the meeting.

I agree on starting on time.  I would add that an agenda must be present at the meeting and all involved in the meeting are equal (no titles please).

Posted by Anonymous on 8 April 2010

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