Having a weekly meeting is increasingly important to keep everyone on the same page, especially for teams who are distributed or are remote-first. Over the past months we’ve written about things to cover in weekly meetings as well as specific items to discuss in weekly product team meetings.
In this article, we’re going to over the benefits of the weekly meetings, and what are different types of weekly meetings product teams can have. On top of that, we’ll include a very basic agenda you can copy and paste to encourage engagement and productive meetings.
The problem with meetings
Before we start, and this is a sentiment we hear quite often, is that meetings are a waste of time. We couldn’t disagree more but we agree that most meetings are wasted. Whether it’s a lack of preparation or context, technical glitches, and lack of follow-through, many meetings feel like they’ve wasted and hour of your time which you’ll never get back.
All hail the Hybrid Meeting. One of the issues we’ve often seen is too many people are invited to meetings they don’t need to be. In other cases meetings are just monologues which could have been avoided or even written in an email.
Internally at Clearword we use a combination of “sync meetings” and “async meetings”. The rules are quite simple, if you’re going to present for more than 5 minutes, you are talking “at” people that’s a “async” this should be recorded, and shared for others listen and catch-up in their own time. Examples of async meetings can be anything from company updates, to product demos, to customer feedback.
The real value, the human value, comes from the sync meetings. This is where we talk “with” people instead of “at” people. In our case instead of having an hour long meeting, we share an “async meeting” with others, and only set a follow-up meeting to discuss what was presented.
In both cases, what really matters is that the meetings (async or sync) are actionable and have either decisions or actions items so that every meeting moves the product, the company, the team forward.
Agenda and Topics for Weekly Team Meetings
There’s no one-size fits all when it comes to people and teams. Some teams might prefer meeting more than once a week, some might prefer longer meetings, etc.
There are however two things which are undeniably important when it comes to meetings and it is: An agenda will help you guide the conversation in a more productive direction, and strong actionable meeting summaries and notes will help you move the product/project/discussion forward. If you are interested in not having to write notes after a meeting and have the action items, key decisions and summaries created for you, have a look at Clearword.com and sign-up for your free trial.
In this post however, we’re going to investigate and give you some ideas on the type of agendas for various weekly meetings.
Agendas for weekly Team meetings
Brainstorming Meeting Agenda
Bring everyone together to generate new ideas and solutions. Brainstorming meetings can last from 30 minutes to many hours. We’ve tried to include some times but they are only suggestions.
Example of Agenda:
- Introduce the problem or goal (5 mins)
- Encourage everyone to share their ideas (15mins)
- Build upon others' ideas (15mins)
- Record ideas to follow up on later (0 mins with Clearword, 30-45 mins without)
Progress Update Meeting Agenda
Check in on everyone's progress and adjust goals if needed.
Internally at Clearword, as described above, this is typically an “async” meeting which is recorded and shared across the team. Then we can have a progress discussion meeting to ask questions and dig deeper into what the progress has been and what issues moving forward may be.
Example of Agenda:
- Each team member shares progress on their work (1-2 mins each)
- Identify any challenges or roadblocks (5-10 mins)
- Discuss possible solutions (5-10 mins)
- Review goals and adjust as necessary (5 mins)
Decision-Making Meeting Agenda
These are important meetings, the meetings where a decision has to be made. Internally at Clearword those meetings can be interesting as we follow a concept similar to Gitlab’s Directly Responsible Individual concept. If you haven’t come across the DRI before, I suggest you have a look at it.
Example of Agenda
- Present the decision that needs to be made (5-10 mins)
- Identify any relevant information or facts (5-10 mins)
- Encourage open discussion and opinions (15 mins)
- Evaluate pros and cons of each option (5-10 mins)
- Take a vote, come to a consensus, veto, anything but make a decision and move to execution (2 mins)
Planning Meeting Agenda
A planning meeting is used to identify the purpose and goals of a project, determine the resources needed, assign roles and responsibilities, create a timeline and milestones, and discuss potential risks and how to mitigate them. Goal? Alignment.
- Identify the purpose and goals of the project (5 mins)
- Determine what resources are needed (5-10 mins)
- Assign roles and responsibilities (5 mins)
- Create a guiding timeline and milestones (15 mins)
- Discuss potential risks and how to mitigate them (10 mins)
Training Meeting Agendas
This is another example of one of our hybrid meetings from above. The first part is done in an asynchronous manner (recorded and shared), and the second part is collaborative.
Whether you are training a department on how to use the new expense software, or you are giving a product demo showing how to use your own new features, here is a little bit of structure on how we do it.
Items to discuss:
- Introduce the new skill or process (5-10mins, async)
- Demonstrate how to do it (5 mins, async)
- Give everyone a chance to practice (In their own time)
- Encourage questions and discussion (15 mins, sync)
- Plan follow-up training or support (5 mins, sync)
It’s important to remember to have a clear agenda for every meeting to ensure everyone knows what to expect and how to prepare. Encourage participation and teamwork, and make sure everyone leaves the meeting with a clear understanding of what was discussed and what the next steps are. By bringing a little more meeting hygiene to your org you will directly impact the bottom line, as well as everyone’s morale.