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Lean Meetings

What if we used Lean principles to plan meetings?

When planning a kaizen event, I use a trick to judge how well a leader knows his or her processes. I simply ask for a list of the cycle times. If the times all end in nice, neat numbers (:00, :15, :30, :45), I know they are just estimates, and there is almost a guarantee that a thorough time study has never been done.

I had a thought that I don’t tend to hold people up to the same scrutiny in regards to meetings. Why do all meetings get scheduled for nice, round times? Somehow, it has become acceptable to make a meeting fit a time window, instead of planning it around goals.

Perhaps a way to schedule Lean meetings would be to do an agenda with estimates of the time it will take to accomplish each step, and schedule the meeting for whatever time that planning says it will take. I have to say, I’d be more confident in the planner if she scheduled a 47 minute session than if it was a full hour.

Scheduling for an hour likely means that there is fluff in the schedule, and yet most meetings don’t get out early. Or it means that something is crammed in when it should take an extra seven minutes.

Of course, if you really wanted to run Lean meetings, you’d have to countermeasure why things took longer or shorter than expected.

What do you think? Does scheduling nice, round-numbered meetings serve a valid purpose, or is it a shortcut in planning that we have all grown accustomed to?

By the way, if any of you have a meeting planning process you are willing to share, I’d love to post it. Send it to me at Info@Velaction.com. Just one request: please let me know in the email that you have the legal right to authorize me to post it on my site, and give me permission to do so. In return for your generosity toward my readers, I’ll put a link back to your site letting them know where it came from.


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