Beware of Leaky Meetings

There are many different kinds of meetings when one follows an Agile process. Each meeting has a particular purpose, focus, and outcome. The various Agile meetings are nested by their time horizon: Vision, Product, Release, Iteration, and Standup.

Sometimes a topic that would be best covered in another kind of meeting intrudes into your current meeting. When this happens we’ve got ourselves a leaky meeting.

Noticing that you are in a leaky meeting is an excellent diagnostic tool: most likely you’ve shortchanged some other activity that you needed to attend to prior to your current meeting.

Some common scenarios that indicate a leaky meeting:

Scenario 1: Imagine that you are in a Sprint planning meeting and your Product Owner says that the business would really like this feature in this Sprint. You’re sure that you’ve already decided that that that feature belongs in the next release.

Scenario 2: Imagine that you are in a daily standup meeting and someone on the team says that they’re not sure why you are working on a particular story.

Scenario 3: Imagine that you are in a Product Demo meeting and one of the business stakeholders wonders where the release is headed.

Whenever you’re in one of the standard Agile meetings and there seems to be a lack of focus see if you can detect a leaky meeting. If that is happening chances are there is some other activity that needs to be performed so that the topic that is leaking into your meeting can get covered off elsewhere.

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