PRODUCT MANAGERS: EFFECTIVE MEETINGS FOR PRODUCTIVITY

Time management is one of the skills you need to acquire to become a great product manager. Product managers spend a huge part of their day organizing and attending several meetings with the aim of being productive.

There are no doubts that there are reasons product managers are involved in so many workweek meetings. These meetings range from one-on-one sessions with key team members, demo sessions, sprint planning sessions, meeting with stakeholders, etc. Some of these meetings or sessions are indeed necessary for the successful development of a product.

With that set-up, It is pretty much evident that their calendars are usually booked up at all times. Meetings are effective ways to set up plans, make decisions, and take action. They become ineffective when you see them as time killers. You find yourself doing important things by attending those meetings but you are also lacking in achieving your main tasks.

As a product manager, one of your goals is to get the best value out of your time and have more effective and productive meetings. Let’s dive into some of the best practices.

Define the purpose

When organizing a meeting, it is important to define the purpose. This means you need to clearly state the goal of the meeting as this will ensure that the right attendees are well prepared for the topic. Meetings will end up long, boring, and ineffective if there are no clear agendas as to why it was scheduled.

Remember, the focus of the meeting should be on making decisions, having a common understanding, solving a problem, and adding value. If they do not reflect on those points then there is no need for organizing one.

Example of meeting goals:

  • Gain approval from stakeholders on the product roadmap.
  • Review action plans from previous meetings.

Once an agenda is clearly stated, it makes attendees ready and prepared which allows for more efficient use of time.

Invite essential attendees only

Having so many people in a meeting is not a prerequisite to achieving success in that meeting. As a product manager, you need to decide who needs to be there and who needs not to be.

By limiting the attendees to people who are meant to be there, you do not have to go through the stress of bringing everyone on the same page and sharing information they know nothing or care less about.

According to Jeff Bezos 2 pizza meeting theory, small group meetings are also more advisable than large group meetings. This will help lead to more productivity, progress, and efficiency.

Time limit

You need to be time conscious at all times when setting a meeting. There are different meeting sessions during the workweek and the time frame for each of these sessions should not be the same. At least this should be dependent on the urgency of the discussion or the type of meeting.

Setting a general time limit for your meeting is effective, but it will also be more effective if it is time-bound for every discussion or item on the agenda.

This will encourage your attendees’ to remain focused, stick to the point of discussion, and not deviate.

Remove or don’t hold the meeting

As earlier said, time management is a necessary skill to acquire to become a great product manager. To have a bit of freedom for yourself and manage your time in achieving more important tasks, you need to eliminate meetings you do not need to be present at. Just simply decline!

Also except if the meeting sparks for urgency and has a clear goal or purpose, you do not need to schedule or hold a meeting. Some information can be easily passed across through an email or any virtual communication tool like Slack.

CONCLUSION

  1. An agenda should always be created and sent out before every meeting.
  2. Only the right attendees should be invited to the meeting.
  3. Schedule and attend only important meetings that add value to you and your team.
  4. A follow-up to ensure actions were taken based on decisions made.

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