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Say Goodbye to that Expensive Meeting

WowBack in August (2010) I wrote about attending a $17,904 meeting.  It was painful to watch the PMO have a 3 hour meeting every month that seemed to cost so much but deliver so little value.  As a follow-up post, I wrote about the value proposition for the expensive meeting.

I am happy to report that the meeting in question has been cancelled indefinitely.  In one year alone, the cost savings is $214,848.  Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of money added to your budget?  I want to be clear that I’m not being a hater of meetings.  I’m being a hater of waste.  Time and money are precious and I strongly believe we need everyone to communicate more.  But it’s about communicating effectively.  I can facilitate the communication of more strategic information, without saying a word, by using a enterprise level Kanban.  I can facilitate the communication of more tactical information, by having Daily Scrums or Stand-ups.

Though the cancellation was months in the making, I commend those who finally made the difficult (but necessary) choice.  It’s easy to complain about things but accept the status quo.  It’s hard to ask why and then act on it appropriately.

Drawings by Pictofigo

 

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

5 Responses to “Say Goodbye to that Expensive Meeting”

  1. March 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Excellent result. I have taken over more than a few projects with standing meetings that made no sense. I avoid the battle of canceling the meetings by ‘reorganizing now that we are in a different phase’. This always results in fewer and shorter meetings.

    • Anonymous
      March 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks, Perry!
      I usually just recommend a more efficient way to have the same meeting, with cancelling it as the last resort. In this case, it took a change in leadership and a constricting budget to make them take a fresh look at what meetings offered value to the organization.

  2. Anonymous
    April 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    It’s always nice to stop doing things that add no value to the people participating. But I caution you to check your thinking about the cost savings of canceling that meeting: are those people going to bring $200K / year additional revenues now that they don’t have to attend this meeting?

    That said, it is important to realize that people’s time is important. Only spend it in meetings that actually bring them together for a good reason.

    • Anonymous
      April 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      This meeting was very unique in that a slide deck was circulated before it would happen and no extra information was provided during the meeting. It was merely a briefing. If there has a dialog, it would have been a more difficult decision. So, in this unique case, everyone get 3hrs a month back to do other things. Some of us will still be reviewing the deck for accuracy but we were doing that anyway. That review was not part of the original calculation. I don’t want to cancel a meeting, merely for the sake of canceling. But, I do want to make sure there will be value in it, before having it.

      After we went back and asked “why” we were having this meeting, nobody could see a reason OTHER than it was listed as a required contract deliverable. It was within the program’s control to no longer make it required.

  3. Anonymous
    April 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Ouch! That was either a big auditorium or an auditorium full of big salaries. Either way, they discovered a more efficient way to deliver the information, why cancel it?

    You definitely win the biggest wasteful meeting award.

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