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Lean Coffee Staff Meetings

by Alex Pukinskis, 28 October 2013 | The Agile Blogosphere

This post is from Agile Development Blog: Scaling Software Agility by Alex Pukinskis. Click here to see the original post in full.

I’ve seen a lot of bad staff meetings over the years. Everyone feels compelled to attend because the boss called the meeting. The boss sets the agenda but sometimes doesn’t have time to think it through. There are urgent issues that everyone else knows the group needs to discuss, but they aren’t front-of-mind for the boss, so they’re not on the agenda.

What if your staff meetings always focused on the most burning issues? What if you were able to resolve five to six issues rapidly? What if everyone was deeply engaged in the meeting? At Rally, we’ve been using the Lean Coffee technique to transform staff meetings, and it’s spreading throughout the company. Here’s how it works.

First, we gather topics for the meeting. Since we’re distributed, we collect topics all week tagged #leancoffee in Flowdock. On Monday afternoon, I move the topics to a voting spreadsheet. Each meeting participant distributes three votes across the topics they want to discuss. Thus, at the start of the meeting, we know what the most burning issues are.  

If your team is co-located,...

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