Joep Schuurkes

making meetings work

my slides are available at
Sisyphus by Titian

we struggle with meetings

tweet: If you feel you do all your work outside of meetings, you're meeting wrong.

how bad is it really?

Simple Sabotage: Field Manual (CIA)

Pointless work meetings
'really a form of therapy'

BBC News, 15 November 2019
De Staalmeesters by Rembrandt

we know how to do meetings

If a meeting is essential, it will have an agenda. It will have minutes. It will have a list of action items, and someone will manage them so that people are accountable for their action items.

Modern Management Made Easy
Johanna Rothman

and there's plenty more

remote meetings by Esther Derby
IDOARRT meeting design tool
research summary by Ethan Mollick
twitter advice thread by @tef_ebooks
notes on effective meetings by Daniel Carral

more techniques
is not the solution

The School of Athens by Raphael

what is a meeting?

synchronous collaboration
with a purpose

you already do this

daily stand-up


brainstorm session

With Mob Programming, our entire day is a working meeting, and more like a workshop than a meeting. We are working together, not merely “meeting”.

Mob Programming
Woody Zuill and Kevin Meadows

Daily Ensemble Session

with Elizabeth, Lisi, Simon and me
Wednesday 16:40 - 17:55
Thursday 15:35 - 16:50

so problem solved?


to see what's going on

to define experiments

more explaining
is not the solution

meetings are something
that happens to us

Prisoners' Round (after Gustave Doré) by van Gogh

to metamorphize - for a little while - from mere attendants at a meeting into
vibrant participants in an evolving endeavor

Orbiting The Giant Hairball
Gordon Mackenzie

No More Feedback

Carol Sanford

three core capabilities

internal locus of control

external scope of considering

personal source of agency


creating an environment
where everyone can contribute
to solving the problem

Jerry Weinberg

start where you are

as an individual

as a team

as an organization

Why do people have long breakless meetings, when everyone in the room dislikes it, and everyone in the room knows it doesn't work very well?


25 or 50 minute meeting

decline a meeting

suggest a break

leave the meeting


ask to zoom in

write/draw and share

ask for a document upfront

move a chair, open a window


amplify others

give credit

express appreciation

small things done consistently
beat any grand changes

the paintings
Sisyphus by Titian
De Staalmeesters by Rembrandt
Scuola di Atene by Raphael
Las Meninas by Velázquez
La ronde des prisonniers (d'après Gustave Doré) by van Gogh
La persistencia de la memoria by Dalí
Bal du moulin de la Galette by Renoir
Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow by Mondriaan
Trois Danseuses by Degas

thank you!

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