Design Team Status Meetings

28 Sep 2005 - 8:59am
8 years ago
5 replies
1575 reads
Gerard Torenvliet
2004

Do any of you work on design teams that conduct really good weekly
status meetings? I've been tasked with designing a weekly status meeting
for our group of design consultants (who all generally work on different
projects), and I'd like some tips on things that make for a good status
meeting. Also, any advice on things to avoid is appreciated.

Thanks,
-Gerard

Comments

28 Sep 2005 - 9:56am
Mauro Cavalletti
2005

Hi Gerard,

When working with a group of people dedicated to different projects, weekly
status meetings are good tools for knowledge sharing, for cross-pollination,
and for receiving feedback from our peers.

In my experiences they were/are very helpful, keeping designers updated on
insightful developments, tendencies, and new ideas generated by their
colleagues. It is also helpful in building some shared principles that will
help you guys develop your own design culture.

I think you really want to avoid un-structured meetings. You also want to
bring new information to the table every week, and give some time for
preparation to whoever is showing work.

Good luck,

M

Mauro Cavalletti
Creative Director
Organic, Inc.
New York
212.827.2212
www.organic.com

28 Sep 2005 - 10:28am
Pradyot Rai
2004

Gerard Torenvliet <g.torenvliet at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Do any of you work on design teams that conduct really good weekly
> status meetings? I've been tasked with designing a weekly status meeting
> for our group of design consultants (who all generally work on different
> projects), and I'd like some tips on things that make for a good status
> meeting. Also, any advice on things to avoid is appreciated.

You can avoid the status meeting completely, and do something else. Lately,
status meeting has become tool for micro-management. Often, the issues with
project should only be discussed with those who are involved in the project.
Any issue with individual should be dealt with one on one. When you try to
sort out those in status meeting, it works as means for punishment.
Managers primary role is to elevate teamwork and motivate people doing the
work, and status meeting often becomes detrimantal to those very objectives.
Many people are proud of sharing their achievements, but are not keen on
discussing their problems. If the sole purpose of status meeting is to
figure out who is doing what, and keep them reminding of their role, then
probably there's a better way. Status meeting works for software Project
Management, for the reason that they rely on work which is very quantifiable
and measurable. For a design team, tasks are very tacit, and if you expect
people to verbalize it in terms of status, many a time it is humiliating.
What you can do instead, is, figure out issues with projects before hand
("status" as you may call it) and have the team meeting to have discussion
on those, by involving larger group. It is important to have face time with
your team, but you have to figure out that it works for everybody.
Thanks,
Prady

28 Sep 2005 - 3:36pm
ldebett
2004

Gerard,

While I'm on a design team now that is working on the same project, we're
each coming at it from different disciplines. Nonetheless, we structure our
meetings such that the manager updates us on what's going on in the rest of
the company/project/team for about 20 minutes first and then we do a round
table and each get about 5-10 minutes to give highlights of what we're doing
and project status. We also have the opportunity to give a head's up to
other people in the group about upcoming work like, "I'd like to chat with
'Sam' tomorrow about graphics I'll need for XYZ", etc.

When I was in a department with designers all working on different projects
(similar to your consultants), we used this meeting to also allow other
people to chime in with past experiences like, "Oh, I worked on a project 3
years ago that was similar to what you're doing on project ABC. I can show
you what research I have and see if it helps you..."

In either case, it is important that there is an umpire who manages the
"ramblers" in the group; those people who go off on tangents and lose track
of time. They compress the time for the remainder of the team to speak and
tend to make the people at the end less pleased with the meeting. When
there's someone who will manage the time per person, people seem to be less
anxious about the meeting.

Good luck!

~Lisa

28 Sep 2005 - 4:46pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

At 09:59 AM 9/28/2005, Gerard Torenvliet wrote:
>Do any of you work on design teams that conduct really good weekly status
>meetings? I've been tasked with designing a weekly status meeting for our
>group of design consultants (who all generally work on different
>projects), and I'd like some tips on things that make for a good status
>meeting. Also, any advice on things to avoid is appreciated.

Gerard,

Is *status* the goal? Or is *sharing*?

We have several clients who avoid status meetings but have regular sharing
meetings, where a team member shares their work in case study format. They
present the project goals, the work done so far, discuss the current
challenges, and pose any outstanding issues for group discussion. The team
members each take turns, spending each entire meeting on a single project.

This is different from status meetings where people bring up short snippets
out of context for things that are barely relevant. In the sharing
meetings, they can delve into a given project in-depth and can real
knowledge transfer can happen. With a team of 4, a weekly meeting keeps
everyone up-to-date on each project's status while really giving team
members opportunities for collaboration.

Jared

Jared M. Spool, Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering
4 Lookout Lane, Unit 4d, Middleton, MA 01949
978 777-9123 jspool at uie.com http://www.uie.com
Blog: http://www.uie.com/brainsparks

29 Sep 2005 - 2:44pm
mprove
2004

Hi,

we have a weekly team meeting (news from the top, roundtable for
approx 90min) and a design meeting every other week with at most two
topics. The latter is the best place to discuss design proposals and
to brainstorm on future features.

Matthias
/ Sun / StarOffice

--

User Experience and Interaction Designer :: http://www.mprove.de

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