Meetings are not evil

A post on “toxic lies about start-up culture” by Shanley Kane really got me to thinking about our company. One of the lies she challenges is that meetings are evil, so you should have as few of them as possible.

Meeting Our staff spans seven cities in three states, so getting together in person is not feasible.  However, Maria and I have had a weekly marketing/ management meeting practically from the day she was hired.

This week, we are starting team meetings, with our artistic, cultural education and administrative teams meeting bi-weekly. (If it seems like technical staff is missing here, that’s because there are only two of us doing the programming right now and we have offices in the same house, one upstairs and one downstairs. That is the topic of another post.)

Talking with Ronda at the Getty

There are crucial differences between a GOOD meeting and just talking.

Meetings aid organization. If a meeting doesn’t have an agenda, I won’t attend. Often, when preparing an agenda, or reviewing one for a meeting, my attention is drawn to things that should be a priority and I get them done.

Meetings should have results. Out of our meetings come commitments that Mr. A will do X and Ms. B will do Y and they will have X and Y done by the following dates.

Meetings provide accountability. All of our meetings have minutes. At each meeting we review the minutes of the last one and look at what we signed up to do and whether that actually got accomplished. Those minutes serve as needed reminders because like at all start-ups, we each have a hundred things to do. Our full-time staff are all doing two or three different jobs and our contractors are all juggling work for us with other contracts. At 7 Generation Games, we think words mean things and we expect our staff to act like grown-ups. If you said two weeks ago that you would have that animation done by September 1st, when that date comes around, we’ll have a written reminder to ask you about it.

Meetings provide clarity. Because we had animation on the agenda and in the minutes. We told you in the past and present when that work was required. During the meeting, we can discuss the details and when you’re busy, you can refer back to those minutes about what you need to do.

Here’s the deal – yes, I’d rather be writing code than in meetings, preparing for meetings, following up from meetings. Our artists would rather be doing artwork. Our education specialists would rather be teaching. Part of being a grown up is not doing what you want to do, but what you need to do.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to working on our Fish Lake game, which is exactly what I want to be doing.

Random – I found this post so thought-provoking that I wrote about another one of the toxic lies, hiring people who fit in, on The Julia Group blog.