Thoughts about meetings, process etc.

Two things I’m thinking about:

1) Use of blog & wiki – I was moved to send out e-mails to all of you because I thought if I posted on the blog/wiki you’d be unlikely to see the posting (about the survey) quickly. Is this true for some of us anyway? I feel like I get lost in the non-linear nature of the communications & yes – I know we can search, should be set up to get notifications of new postings etc. etc. but I’m not feeling this is completely sucessful.

2) meetings & agenda. I think that a useful discussion between 8 people on almost any topic is going to take longer than 10 minutes. Understanding that time is passing & meeting time is limited, do you think we should break into smaller groups to discuss different topics? That seems to me the only way to be able to cover the agenda items so quickly! If agenda items regularly have to be pushed to the next meeting & we always are rushing I’m not sure that we will do the best job.

Barbara

9 thoughts on “Thoughts about meetings, process etc.

  1. Jessica Isler

    Re: 1):
    Even though I was away last week, through my subscriptions, I was notified of all the Blog and Wiki updates shortly after they occurred. When I got back today, I found it very practical to have everything in those places, as opposed to having it jumbled together with all the other hundred or so emails that had amassed in my absence… Barbara, I know you used email several times last week because you wanted the quickest way to contact everyone, but as I went over the information, having to go away from the Blog and Wiki to get your messages and to try to put them in context created the kind of fragmented approach to communication I think we would like to avoid. Personally, I think if at all possible we should stay focused on the Blog and Wiki, and perhaps if we have a time-sensitive item, we can/should alert the group in our meetings to keep an extra-watchful eye on the sites or our feeds for whatever the time-sensitive item may be… Surely we can discuss this item in 10 min. or less at our next meeting? ;-)

    Reply
  2. Ian McBride

    1.) The RSS feeds from the Blogs/Wiki won’t get you instant communication with the team, but (I have to say), I don’t want to be required to instantly read our communications during the day! I’ve got the feeds for the blog, the blog comments, and the wiki set up in Google Reader, which updates the feeds each hour with any new information. I feel I was able to keep up-to-date with what was going on while I was out of the office. Viewing the communication through a feed reader makes it a lot more linear, more like email. I admit I’d get completely lost if I were just refreshing this blog page for updates.

    2.) We should only include items on the agenda when we have questions or concerns about them. For instance, I’m scheduled to talk for 10 minutes on Wednesday about the current LIS website IA. Does anyone have any questions about this? Is there anything to say? If not, I’d be happy to yield that time to discussing the project timeline or other topics.

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  3. Elizabeth Whitaker-Freitas

    My thoughts on #2:

    “Time – Quality – Money” are the trade-offs in any project.

    Based on our charge and deliverables, we know that time is not negotiable. Adding more “Money” (additional resources) may only complicate things and make it more difficult to make decisions. Given this, we have to accept or expect that quality may be a trade-off. We can only deliver the best we can do with the time and money available.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind some of the basic principles that Fred talked about in no particular order:

    1. Manage time efficiently
    2. State your opinion once
    3. Depersonalize issues
    4. Take risks, be raggedy, make some mistakes-then let go
    5. Put your stake in the ground and be willing, eager and able to move it
    6. Adopt and support team decisions regardless of your initial point of view
    7. Act in accordance to your word

    Our word: “simple majority”

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  4. Elin Waagen

    My thoughts – early on a gray morning:
    #1 – the blog and wiki – though not perfect by any means – are the best tools we currently have for both communication and documentation. We have been charged with a big task, and these tools can facilitate both communication and documentation needs between meetings – and allow those not present at meetings to stay connected with the work of the team. We decided early on to give these a try, and though we can certainly tweak our guidelines for when we use which tool, once alerts and feeds are set up it is a convenient and easy to access place to engage with the team.
    Which is not to say that there may not be times when email is the better choice – just that we minimize the use of it as a “place” to process and document our work. Setting up a feed reader and wiki page alerts has been critical to making blogs and wikis work for me.
    #2 – agenda items are decided on by the team and can be easily adjusted at the beginning of each meeting – and each of us as moderators for specific topics can facilitate the time spent on each agenda item. We have a lot on our plate, and that can at times seem overwhelming. I think at this point we need to dedicate time to finalizing the time line – which will help guide our work and give us tangible deadlines. We need to keep moving ahead, and minimize as much as possible re-visiting decisions made at previous meetings by the team.

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  5. James Beauchemin

    I agree with Elin that the Blog and Wiki are our best chance at communicating our thoughts internally and externally. I am not a big fan of these two tools, but I am also not that proficient with their use yet. Regarding Liz’s comments – I am on the same page with making sure we stay on-target and use the new tools 1-7 to assist us in our efforts. I will say that sacrificing quality because of time constraints may be real it also may be important for us to realistically talk about what amount of time we can give to this effort and whether or not we need to make tangible changes to allow for more time and thought. I myself find it very hard to read the blog & Wiki in a timely manner and then participate well when we come together. My question to you all is: Am I the only one concerned about having enough time or are others felling this same pressure?

    What can we do to better manage our time? What can we do with our precious 2 hours a week together to better address the needs and work?

    I have taken steps this week to clear more from my plate so that I can put more efforts into this project. It was not easy but it was neccessary.

    Ian – I would like to here more about the current LIS Website IA. You are central to many of the areas in which we need to know and understand. Please continue to help educate us in these areas.

    Reply
  6. Doreen Bernier

    Jim, I too have having trouble balancing my time and staying up to speed with both the blog and wiki, but I think that’s my issue to deal with. I do find it difficult to fully take in all the volumes of material added to both and I need to become more proficient with using these tools also.

    I also agree that we need to nail down the timeline so our planning and implementation will be easier.

    Heading over to Voter now.

    Reply
  7. Ian McBride

    I think our timeline is ambitious and I like that. We should have survey analysis and Google Analytics analysis done by next week, the criteria we want in a site finalized the week after, and a final draft of a recommendations document done by mid-August.

    In order to do all this, we’ll need to have the discussion about these topics (particularly the criteria and recommendations) largely outside the weekly meetings. We each need to commit to allocating time to do these things, as two hours a week won’t be sufficient to complete this project on schedule with the quality we know we can achieve.

    To facilitate this, I’ll set up two blog posts that we can use to gather discussion about each of these items.

    Reply
  8. Jess Isler

    I just want to add that I strongly agree with Ian’s point that the only way we’re going to make real progress is by continuing discussions and work outside of our meetings.
    I would even argue that the majority of our work as a team should be occurring outside of meetings–that the best use of our meeting time will be to come together to tie up loose ends, finalize the content we’ve been working on in between our meetings, and reconciling issues that can’t be resolved in our web discussion forums.

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