This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution. We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.
An efficient agenda-less meeting format.
All attendees gain equal opportunity to produce ideas and give input on the importance of agenda topics. This allows all attendees to essentially become co-owners/responsible for the subject matter of the agenda.
- Firstly, give all participants two minutes to write down discussion ideas on sticky notes. There should only be one idea per sticky note.
- These notes are then reviewed collectively, and dot voting is used to determine a collective consensus on which topics are most interesting/important to the group.
- Allot time per topic. As a general rule, you can streamline each topic to a two minute introduction to kick the idea off.
- Starting with the topic that got most votes, begin the meeting discussion on this idea. The person that presented the idea could choose to lead if advantageous for productive discussion.
- At the end of the allotted time, conduct a simple vote to decide whether to continue discussing the current topic, or to move on. This could be done by a show of hands, or a thumbs up/thumbs down system.
- Once all important topics have been discussed, elicit any key take-aways or actionable points from the group.
Utilizing a Kanban board approach aids the productivity of this exercise. The discussion topics can be sorted into four columns:
- To discuss. This is where all topics deemed of interest (via dot voting) will be placed.
- In discussion. When a new topic begins, the corresponding topic sticky note should be placed here to keep everyone focused on the discussion at hand.
- Done. After discussion ends, the topic is then moved to this column, and a new topic is placed in discussion.
- Action points. If any actionable tasks are decided upon and/or assigned to a team member, these should be noted on a new sticky note and placed in column 4. This will provide a clear outcomes list which can be photographed for reference.
For virtual Lean Coffee meetings, a chairperson could simply use a team management software (we use Bloo.io), or Miro.