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Best practices for weekly all-hands meetings?

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Hi all,

As our team grows, we are trying to put in place a few weekly habits that help us keep up-to-date with what everyone is working on. Beyond sharing quick snippets about what we've worked on, goals for the week, things we need help with, are there any other practices you've seen that have worked particularly well and don't get boring? Anything that is also morale boosting (e.g., sharing something positive a team member did?) is especially welcome!

Would love to hear your thoughts or be pointed to other readings about this topic.

Thanks so much!
Christina

12 Replies

John Wallace
1
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John Wallace Entrepreneur
President at Apps Incorporated
I'm a huge fan of Scrum.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_(software_development) Although it was originally intended for software development, we've used it for all of our departments.
Joe Mellin
3
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Joe Mellin Entrepreneur
View My Learnings
Our company moto was GST (get sh*t done) and we made a GSD trophy.

Basically each week the person who received the trophy last week, would look for someone in the office who was getting stuff done, then at the weekly meeting, they would give the trophy to that person and say why.

Then this repeats each week.

It was fun. Not sure if it scales but people liked it :)
Tom Maiaroto
1
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Tom Maiaroto Entrepreneur • Advisor
Full Stack Consultant
Pair your people up, have them show each other what they've done and then have them present each other's work. Encourage positive criticism a little bit too. You'll be doing a few things -

#1 you'll get everyone on the same page of course (no different than what you're doing now)

#2 you'll have people with a deeper understanding of what's going on so that you gain cross coverage on things.

So this is really important for two reasons. First, your meetings can proceed with a faster pace and not get in the way (like your meetings probably do now), but when there's one other person that gets a deeper dive...You gain this cross coverage. So if one person is out sick or no longer with you let's say...You now have coverage.

Nothing is perfect, but it sets you up for less risk and it also helps keep things interesting. It also helps with learning...Because if you can teach someone else how to present the work you've done, then you are reaffirming your knowledge in it and you're also helping each person grow individually as a teacher.

In fact, this helps position your entire company as a good thought leader on specific subject matter. Think about maybe combining certain research with a company development blog, etc.
Tom Maiaroto
0
0
Tom Maiaroto Entrepreneur • Advisor
Full Stack Consultant
PS. I'm not a huge fan of scrum --- but only because people get too religious and rigid about something that was intended to be flexible. Most people have defeated the entire purpose of it. So be careful. I think you just want to encourage an exciting and nurturing environment. Building things is exciting! It should be educational and entertaining. Otherwise it doesn't matter what flavor of the month project management styles you apply to your work environment. When you lay out confusing and specific procedures with scrum and agile development you're creating more of a challenge and actually your productivity (and interest level) can decrease.
Tom Maiaroto
0
0
Tom Maiaroto Entrepreneur • Advisor
Full Stack Consultant
Oh and Joe brings up a good point too. I worked at an agency where we used to do "employee of the month" - it was some silly trophy that stayed in the office and migrated from desk to desk. However, the person also got movie tickets. So it was fun. What happened over time was everyone got a turn so it became a bit meaningless and just got roped into some of the other nice things our bosses did for us. No one strived toward it =) They just randomly got it. However, it is a good fun practice now and again if you can properly motivate people.
Erin-Michael Johnson
2
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Erin-Michael Johnson Entrepreneur
Principal Software Engineer at Shelvspace
I also think that the Scrum Ceremonies can be wielded very effectively across all disciplines in an organization. As Tom pointed out, there are plenty of Scrum ideologs out there that can do much more harm than good by rigidly enforcing its principles. If you go the Scrum route, it takes a "grown mindset" team and a real buy in from everybody. When it works, its beautiful and certainly worth trying.
Jan Sauer
0
0
Jan Sauer Entrepreneur • Advisor
Do > Say | Digital Transformation | Design Thinking | Lean Business Building | Growth | Innovation
Hi Christina, check out david Cummings and Kyle porters blogs on Rockefeller habits and daily meetings.Best, jan - Sent from Mailbox for iPhone
Boris Liberman
0
0
Boris Liberman Entrepreneur
Senior Software Engineer at VisionMap

I am not big fan of Scrum. Scrum is technique for lean manufacturing process - people each take 1 min tops to report what they've done and what they're about to do. Such a thing can hardly be used to boost morale or foster a jelled team.

What I might suggest is to have periodic meetings where a team member would prepare a lecture on a subject (normally related to work, but sometimes it can be something entirely different, e.g. if you spot that your team has developed an interest in some hobby, game, film, whatever outside of their working interests). A lecture could last like 30 mins and they people could engage in free discussion for another 30 min.

When our company was smaller we used to have these meetings and they were fun. One would either learn something, engage in an interesting conversation, etc.

John Wallace
0
0
John Wallace Entrepreneur
President at Apps Incorporated
Scrum has three phases. First is a planning meeting where you decide what you will do over the course of the iteration. Next are brief daily stand ups where you describe what you did yesterday, what you are doing today, and any blockers. And finally there's a retrospective where you review what you did over the iteration to understand what went right, what went wrong, what you can do to improve the process.

I find Scrum to be a lot more enjoyable than most team-organizing processes. The planning meeting is about the same as most planning meetings. Nothing new there. It's the stand ups and the retrospectives that make Scrum pretty neat. The stand ups are brief. All too often people turn daily meetings into chat sessions. I hate those. Instead with Scrum the idea is to give the team (and especially the product owner / project manager) an idea of where you are at. An astute product manager uses that for course correction if need be. And it also gives you a chance to setup a side meeting if you need to collaborate with someone. The retrospectives are where you'll find team building. When things go right, you want to celebrate those. When things go wrong, you want to learn from those. When someone has an idea about how to improve the process, they get a chance to bring that up so that things can improve and they can get stuff off their chest.

So Scrum maps well onto three things groups need to do: plan, give status, and review/improve. And like any process, someone could become fanatical about it (which I think is a loss, and counter to the flexibility the scrum.org coaches recommend), but it's a nice jumping off point for creating a process that works for your organization.

BTW: there's more to Scrum than that, like the whole pigs vs. chickens things. I don't find that very useful. Scrum also leans away from a project-manager/leader kind of organization. To me that's like having an orchestra without a conductor, so I don't find that useful either. But parts of Scrum I find very useful indeed.
David Hauser
1
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David Hauser Entrepreneur
Young Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder of Grasshopper and Angel Investor.
Having a meeting rhythm has been critical to successful growth at a number of companies I have been involved in. Every person is in at least one daily standup up (5 to 7 minutes), a weekly meeting (60 minutes), a monthly meeting (60 minutes), quarterly all hands. This process and discipline was taken and adapted from Verne and his book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Rockefeller-Habits-Increase-Growing-ebook/dp/B005J386GS/

This rhythm keeps everyone in the know, solves problems weekly and provides opportunity to align goals and celebrations as a full team. This works for both remote work environments and when everyone is in the office or a hybrid.
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