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Related ArticlesThere is a psychological explanation for all of this.After decades worth of evidence showing how unproductive routine meetings can be (estimates range from 300,000 hours to $300 million lost to meetings for the average big business), managers seem as addicted to them as ever. Many continue to hold group “think” sessions that lack clear agendas and status meetings with no time limits.
So, what are routine meetings?Routine meetings are scheduled discussion and group planning sessions. They’re typically not impromptu and are usually informal. They can occur at any time interval and maybe monthly progress reports, discussions, project reviews, one-on-ones, annual reviews, or comprehensive updates. In order to be productive, they must be organized and follow an agenda. Whether you hold weekly team meetings, daily stand-ups, or sprint reviews, all exhibit formatting patterns. A meeting consists of two parts:
- Information Sharing: updates, announcements, shout-outs, sharing project progress
- Collaboration: decision making, resolving blockers, outlining goals
How much time do routine meetings take up?According to statistics from Doodle, Ovum, AskCody, ReadyTalk, Atlassian, National Bureau Of Economic Research, and WSJ, since 2000, the time spent in meetings has risen by 8-10% annually. This is possibly caused by a variety of reasons like a shift in work culture. Companies are increasingly less hierarchical and employees are increasingly self-directed. Employees’ voices are being heard and meetings are the perfect medium. Another reason is the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the landscape of meetings, transitioning once mundane in-person meetings to online meetings where you could log in to Zoom, turn your camera off, and make pancakes in the process all while petting your dog. In 2020, the number of meetings attended by a worker rose by 13.5%. However, researchers found a 20.1% decrease in the average length of meetings. Researchers also found the average meeting count rose from 5.9 meetings (from before the pandemic) to 6.9 meetings. Other interesting facts:
- 36% of a meeting’s duration was around 30 minutes, while only 20% of meetings lasted for an hour.
- For 31% of all meetings held, the second most common meeting length was 15 minutes.
- 44% of the group meetings in 2020 were limited to 4 to 7 people while 25% of the meetings held fewer participants ranging from 4 to 5.
- 1.25 hours in stand-up meetings
- 2 hours in departmental meetings
- 3 hours in weekly one-on-one meetings with 2 different managers
- Daily stand-ups (1.5-2.5 hours/week)
- Sprint planning (2 hours every sprint period)
- Sprint review (2 hours every sprint period)
- Sprint retrospective (2 hours every sprint)
- Department meetings (1-2 hours every week)
- One-on-one meetings (1-2 hours every week)
- Company all-hands meetings (1-2 hours, once or twice a month)
- Keep close tabs on what members of your team are working on.
- When work is mundane for that week, but a meeting is scheduled, managers feel an obligation to fill the time with the meeting regardless of its necessity.
- Emergency meetings solve a problem, but routine meetings can sometimes add to the problems–making problems where none exist.