A meeting mapping is a visual exercise that helps participants align on their shared ceremonies and identify waste.
Throughout all my years involved in the Agile community, the techniques to which I gravitate have an element of visualisation.
Visualising is magic.
It is a human taking a slice of that intricate web of connections of his brain and putting it out in the open. It is powerful no matter the scenario. Doing it in “single player mode” gives you that powerful (imaginary) sidekick with whom you can discuss, criticise, and collaborate on an iteration. When it’s done in “multiplayer mode”, people can easily align and collaborate multiple people in a short interval.
Meetings: We all want less of them, but what are we doing towards that?
So, it’s not surprising that applying visualisation techniques to handle the “too many meetings” problem yields great results.
Meetings are hard to tackle because meetings is an ecosystem. For me to have a meeting I have to invite someone. Very often it is not just one person but a handful. If you try to avoid meetings and shift it all to async communication methods, you end up with a filled inbox, tons of Slack messages, WhatsApp bankruptcy.
The other part of the problem is that we are not great at facilitating meetings. Sticking to the allocated time? A thought-out agenda? Clear inputs and outputs!? Please! I’ve got a job. Actually, given the amount of time we spend in meetings, we should probably include meeting facilitation training in schools. Hell, what about a meeting permit? Tokens?
The meeting mapping idea is a dead-simple idea that attempts to visualise the meeting ecosystem.
List as many meetings as you can think of. Note down – on one meeting per card:
- title of the meeting
- who attends (name functions, not persons)
- artefacts needed for input
- which artefacts it transforms (aka output)
Create a space to arrange all your elements.
- meetings on top, artefacts on the left
- connect the meetings’s inputs and outputs
With this meeting map, you can now schedule a meeting with your entire team to try to identify opportunities. Interrogate each meeting to see if it deserves to exist. Which meeting:
- the output is not clear?
- no artefacts are transformed (aka pre-meetings for another meeting)?
- could be combined with another one?
We created a template in Miro board for you to use: