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The "Purpose of a Meeting" Lesson is part of the full, Engineering Management Fundamentals 101 course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Jem discusses different types of meetings and their purposes. The audience is engaged to gather opinions on the purposes of standup meetings, one-on-one meetings, all hands meetings, team meetings, and project meetings. Emphasis is placed on the importance of understanding the goals and outcomes of each meeting and provides insights on which meetings managers should prioritize.

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Transcript from the "Purpose of a Meeting" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> So speaking of meetings, cuz I tell you, I love meetings, we all have them. Let's do the shared exercise together. And cuz I wanna hear your opinion on this and more highlights diversity of of meetings. So let's do it together, you could raise your hand or shout it out, the purpose of every meeting.

[00:00:21] So, thinking critically about what are you trying to get out of things? So, we'll start with a stand-up meeting. Would you say it's a planning meeting, a brainstorming meeting, are you sharing, receiving, or is it morale and culture? Yeah.
>> Stand-ups should be sharing information, receiving information. I mean, at least to discover blockers.

[00:00:45]
>> I agree with that. Anything else?
>> We use it as a morale and culture sometimes to play a game together or just chit chat before everyone shows up to check in and out before doing.
>> Yeah, I like that. You do any planning or brainstorming and setups?

[00:01:07]
>> Feel like you shouldn't be because it should be quick. Depends on the culture of the company, I guess.
>> Yeah, that's fair.
>> That's happened.
>> I would say I've seen it happen a lot. And the question is, should it be happening there? Probably not, maybe they're gonna tell you operate.

[00:01:25]
>> We have parking lots we call them where someone says I have a parking lot topic and so stand up is done. And then you can go into another topic, so it's still a part of the stand up meeting, but if you're not involved you can drop off.

[00:01:37] So, planning and brain surgery, brainstorming happens in those kinds of chats.
>> I like that. Yeah, being intentional. I have seen standups turn into planning and brainstorming when they shouldn't. It should be a quick status update meeting. I like we're all in culture, sometimes you're sharing like, hey, here's what I did this weekend.

[00:01:57] That's a good way of connecting really quickly, but it shouldn't be not every meeting has to have like a really heavy purpose. Stand-up should be light and quick, in my opinion. One-on-ones, planning, brainstorming, sharing information, receiving information, morale, and culture. What do you think?
>> [COUGH] Definitely planning, probably brainstorming, but even a little space for morale and culture seems appropriate here.

[00:02:31]
>> Yeah, I don't disagree with that. Does everybody agree with that? I see some differing faces.
>> Chat says morale, culture, sharing, receiving.
>> Yeah.
>> Does it differ from the side of the one-on-one you're on,
>> [LAUGH]
>> If you're the management or the engineer cuz I think as an engineer, I think it's for sharing information of like, I've planned to tell my manager certain things at my one-on-one.

[00:02:58] Whereas maybe on the management side it is receiving and listening and understanding them around culture and then going from there.
>> I'm glad you brought that up. One-on -ones are the most interesting type of meeting you're gonna be in. And it seems silly, but what you get out of a one-on-one can change so much.

[00:03:22] It's one of the most important things you do as an engineering manager. And as a software engineer, it's one of the most important meetings you have as well, and I don't know, for a long time I didn't treat them as such. And don't forget, one-on-ones are the most varied meetings too.

[00:03:35] Sometimes my one-on-ones are with my skip level. My skip level is the head of the entire organization that I'm in, 160 people. So that one-on-one changes a lot versus the one-on-one with my manager, where they're actually sharing a lot of contacts with me about, here's what's going on, here's what the VPs are thinking, I'm like, okay, interesting.

[00:03:55] Here's the movements on hiring or letting someone go or something like that. I get all that in a one-on-one versus the one-on-ones with my team, I'm sometimes sharing information, but a lot of times I'm receiving information. What's going on? Everything's going, anything I can help with? So I'm gonna go and put planning there too cuz I do that too and one-on-one

[00:04:14]
>> So people's career growth as well or like their goals and things like that and that's a good thing to touch one-on-one.
>> Absolutely, yeah. Yes
>> I forgot about the one-on-one the new CTO, she just came on. She's gonna have a one-on-one with everybody.
>> Yeah, one-on-ones is like a type of meeting, but the category is very broad in what's gonna happen.

[00:04:37] A one-on-one with a partner manager, we often do a lot of planning. What's your team's priorities for next quarter? Cool, here's mine, how can we figure this out? How can we work together? Yeah, Megan in the chat had kind of mentioned the career growth too, the planning and brainstorming aspects being kind of around career growth and then sharing information and morale and culture.

[00:04:58]
>> Yeah.
>> Sometimes it's just a venting session and-
>> [LAUGH]
>> Yeah, [LAUGH] what about all hands? Planning, brainstorming, sharing, receiving, morale, culture?
>> Recieving, right?
>> Definitely, receiving.
>> And shared.
>> Morale.
>> Sharing, I'll put questionable but I think it's fair to say sharing, yeah.

[00:05:27] It depends on which side you're on.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah.
>> There are folks sharing and there are folks receiving and usually it's the same thing for them each time but different for each person.
>> Good way of putting it. Someone said morale?
>> Yeah.
>> Awesome.
>> I guess just as far as, yeah, I don't know why.

[00:05:53]
>> It could be like after a good quarter, the quarterly earnings came in way to go everyone rah rah go team.
>> Yeah.
>> Yeah, so you're right, morale and culture is absolutely time to play for all hands. Celebrating successes of teams that you may not know about is a good thing.

[00:06:12] You wanna see your team's name up there too and you want to really know about it. It's absolutely for morale and culture.
>> Gives you context.
>> Yeah.
>> In your in your big company if you're, [INAUDIBLE]
>> For remote work as well, like one of the things we do in our all hands is like the administrator, the person running the team, will share photos people have posted from the Travels channel.

[00:06:35] This is what other employees are up to. We're a travel company, so that's goods for stuff to show. Or showing a pet's picture just to give everyone a little boost of, look at this cute dog or-
>> [LAUGH]
>> Something like that.
>> It's a great idea. What about team meetings, planning, brainstorming, sharing, receiving, morale, and culture?,
>> It's kind of similar to the one-on-ones that can serve lots of different purposes depending on why does the team need to meet?

[00:07:11] Are there confusions about priorities? Are we meeting to plan an outing together and we need to make a decision on where we're going out to lunch?
>> So, I'm just gonna check all of them cuz that is true. Team meetings are whatever you make them, it's a chance for you all to come together in a smaller group, sometimes you're make decisions, sometimes you're planning.

[00:07:36] Not usually a tremendous amount of planning, but sometimes definitely brainstorming. It's a good time to be like, hey, I have this speculative topic and it can come from anybody, let's talk about it. And you're definitely, I'm sharing information, the team sharing information, and always morale and culture cuz you're a team.

[00:07:51] It's good to come together in a team meeting. What about a project meeting?
>> Planning.
>> Itss definitely planning.
>> For kickoff, figuring out who's gonna do what when.
>> Yeah.
>> I would say brainstorming as well. If you're solutioning or trying to come up with ways to move forward on a project.

[00:08:20]
>> Yeah. Anything else?
>> I've been invited to project status update meetings where it's mostly sharing and receiving information for some kind of project coordinator.
>> Yeah, it's a lot of project meetings are, it's already in flight, what's going on? So there's probably other purposes for meetings, but this is just a narrow list.

[00:08:48] Hopefully this provides some perspective on. There's different things that are expected of you, different things you should be taking away from every meeting. And more importantly, as a manager, what are the meetings you should be focused on based on this list here? I could say one-on-one is absolutely important.

[00:09:04] Team meetings, absolutely important. All hands, probably not as important, I don't think you should focus as much on this. Project meeting is also important. And stand up if you have it. My team doesn't do stand up, we report differently, but also important too. But just a different perspective on meetings.

[00:09:24] It's a wide world, the fascinating world of meetings.