E6S-032 Meeting Between the Lines - Actions Between Meetings

Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, your source for expert advice on Lean, Six Sigma, and performance improvement methods. In this episode number 32, “Meeting Between the Lines,” we give specific advice to Project Managers to keep projects moving forward consistently between team meeting and discuss the best days of the week to hold team meetings. Here we go. 

***Meeting Between the Lines***                                                         

Objection 1: I don't have time to babysit actions during the week. People just need to meet their scheduled times for each meeting.

Counter 1: If meeting your project deliverables on time and in-scope requires "babysitting," you should make time for "babysitting." What else is a LSS Project Manager good for?  Do bank on anyone taking your project as seriously or as high a priority as you do, except for your Champion, if you're lucky. You'll need to keep consistent push until it can move under its own momentum

Objection 2: It's customary in my place of work to schedule tasks to align with meetings.  It's the norm, and most convenient.                                                                             

Counter 2: Norms and convenience are no substitute for effectiveness, schedule and budget.  Push the norms and keep the momentum moving.  It may be uncomfortable for your team, but it will lead to faster and better results.                                                                                   

I         Meeting Between the Lines with action items

a.       How to meet between the lines with action items.

i.      Make "next meeting" actions due before the meeting in order to be on time before the meeting.

ii.      It's better to use actual completion times for action items instead of "Meeting Times" increments.

b.      Why is it critical?                   

i.      If you schedule only increments of your meeting schedule you automatically expand timeline beyond the need for the task, and then if they miss the deadline because they forgot or started late, you tack on another week (or so) before anyone knows the deliverable                                                           

II         How to meet between the lines when there are no in-between actions.

a.       Between meeting communications.

b.      Team member 1:on:1 meetings, even if unofficial/non scheduled. (A best practice).  Treat them like they’re temporary direct reports.  

c.       Spot checks.

d.      The same actions you’d take create/maintain a stakeholder relationship.                                                      

III      What is the "best" for the regular team meeting schedule (the “lines”), and what to avoid?                       

a.       Hmm, that’s a tough one… Once a week? Twice a week?

i.      You Already lose the weekends

ii.      On Mondays people are busy trying recover from the weekend, and get back into the week, and catch up on any late Friday or early Monday actions (especially if dealing with overseas partners).   Many holidays also land on Mondays.,

iii.      people often take Friday's off… Leaves Only 3 other days to choose from….

iv.      Tues, Thurs? then you only have one day in between to make progress…..

b.      Aaron Recommends Tues & Friday morning, before people check out mentally, even though people often will take Friday's off to eat up vacation. 

i.      They can schedule as a running meeting on those days, but you can be flexible and negotiate when necessary.

ii.      If you absolutely can only do once a week (which we don’t recommend), choose a Tues, Wed, or Thurs, and avoid Mon & Fri)                                                                                   

Outro: Thanks for listening to episode 32 of the E6S-Methods Podcast.  Stay tuned for episode number 33, “Fifty Shades of Black,” where we debate the issue of Lean Six Sigma commoditization.  “Will the real Black Belt, please stand up?”  Subscribe to past and future episodes on iTunes or stream us live on-demand with Stitcher Radio. Follow us on twitter @e6sindustries. Find us on LinkedIn to join a discussion. Outlines and graphics for all shows are posted on our website, www.E6S-Methods.com. “Journey Through Success”