The radical strategy that could save your work … and company

Software is a social activity, or at least, we must conceive it in this way.

You will agree that modern and competitive companies require a high level of interaction between individuals if they want to achieve a common goal.

What if you could make a single change in your organization that would bring high benefits and support the survival of your strategy? Would you consider it?

Keep the answer in your mind and keep reading…

What if the solution was easy to deploy and no additional training was required?

Again, keep the answer and continue reading.

There is a pandemic, every organization we visit, with each person we talk to, we find exactly the same problem … there would seem to be a direct relationship between the number of meetings and the person’s position in the company. As a child I do not remember having more than one meeting every 3 or 4 months to evaluate my school performance, although in some cases, it could be more frequent if my behavior was not what was expected.



How many of your company meetings do you think are productive? What if you ban them all? (With the exception of those coming from the Scrum Framework)

Bain & Company found that an average boss loses 1/2 day a week in nonproductive meetings, while a senior executive loses 40% of their time. This does not count the preparation times or emails to be sent after the meeting or the chain effect produced by finishing the meeting later.

You might think about not being radical and focus the first week on making sure that no meeting can exceed 30 minutes (however, keep in mind what the article is all about!). Good choice … lowering the times will improve the information flow and cadence in your company (queuing theory).

“Hello, from today we will do an experiment where we will not be able to carry out meetings of more than 30 minutes”

Bain & Company said a manufacturer for which they conducted a study saved the equivalent of 200 jobs just by limiting the number of people to seven and cutting the duration from 60 to 30 minutes.

Some additional ideas you could use here:

  1. Carry out all meetings in standing position
  2. Always make them optional
  3. Use a strict agenda for the meeting and adhere to it
  4. Use a visible stopwatch and stand up when the time is up, warning people 5 minutes before this happens.
  5. Ensure that no problem is solved during meetings if there are a huge number of people; Simply identify who will take responsability for doing this after the meeting.

If I have not convinced you yet … How many hours do you think you invest in non-productive meetings a month?

Atlassian found that, on average, 31 hours were spent in unproductive meetings per month per person. Researchers Alexandra Luong and Steven Rogelberg went a little further:

  • 91% of the attendees agreed to be constantly thinking about other things during the meetings; are you one of them?
  • Only nonproductive meetings cost US companies $ 37 million in a year.
  • They also found that at least 31 hours were lost in nonproductive meetings

The data also indicates that companies have too many meetings and are mostly inefficient.

There is also a side effect that we have personally seen at Innova1st … employees are asked to work harder to compensate for “lost” time during meetings. And if you use the Scrum framework, it seems to be exacerbating the problem. Has it happened to you?

Did you know that it takes a software developer 23 minutes to return to the flow point where he was before interrupting his work? Just by having 3 meetings a day, those 31 hours are transformed into 51, or what is the same … almost half a week of work lost per month!

But you’re not alone if you decide to cut it out … Intel Corporation has not canceled meetings, but has banned those without a clear purpose. Lenovo made a radical decision … the company empowered any employee so that he can cancel a meeting if he sees that it leads nowhere. Project eMT, Semco and Fishbowl have abolished all meetings as organization policy. A Weekdone team decided not to take more meetings and sent the following poster to anyone who asked for one:


Facebook, highfive and Asana (established by the facebook co-founder) do not allow meetings on Wednesday. Movieline, an online removal company, does not let bother teams on Tuesday. Not only does this make it easier for employees to focus on their non-meeting days, but it is easier to schedule appointments for the rest of the week.
In case you use a digital calendar, here is a viable option for you … just block all day to cancel all meetings.

Another alternative is to use the The Law of Two Feet (we use it in self-organizing conferences such as OpenSpace):

  1. You are learning or
  2. You are contributing
  3. If you are not doing any of the 2 things, then as a responsible person get up and leave

However, few employees dare to withdraw from a meeting where there is a superior, so I do not recommend the latter in an organization where people do not feel safe.

Make your decision now, go to the calendar and delete all the meetings where you do not bring value. Do you feel good? Now continue with those you do not know exactly what you are looking for. Better not? Continue now with the rest that the good comes after …

You will see how people will manage to be on constant alert in order to have micro-interactions with you during the day, now that they can not schedule meetings, which will favor a strong flow of information and decisions, which will support your compan’s growth and help adapt to the current times.

If you need to know more about boosting Scrum and Agility teams within your company, visit our website.


Thanks for listening,

PS: Today it has been 10 years since the last time we used an electronic calendar with our clients!



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