Saturday, February 19, 2011

Doing More With Less? Calendar Protocol

Are you being mandated, like so many, to do more with less? If not, do you realize that is always the unspoken assumption?

If you find yourself running a team or in a team with such a mandate, or ready to place one on yourself, it’s time to get more efficient rather than immediately resort to cutting heads and continuing with current inefficiencies and a “work longer” mentality. Some of the easy levers to look at are the basics - which account for a lot of inefficiency in team dynamics.

Team members need to meet. Frequently. If calling said meeting constitutes more time than is actually needed for the meeting, team meeting protocol needs to be reviewed.

Are central calendars kept up to date and shared? Are meetings accepted when realistically there is little chance of making it? Are there unspoken calendar blocks that aren’t reflected on the calendars? Do meeting invites sit for days without response?

If calendars are double-booked or meetings are frequently declined when calendars are open, the calendar is effectively useless since it is obvious it does not reflect reality and it is not being managed proactively.

I’m not advocating over-doing meetings. Meetings, their participants and their durations should constantly be monitored to ensure they are necessary. In a small-team world, ideally they are unnecessary and people just work together. But that is not the reality of the modern Fortune-level enterprise with people spread out, with consensus-building cultures and people seldom able to completely focus on one project.

Openly discussing and agreeing on calendaring and meeting protocol is required as one of those mandates for efficiency, whether it is for your project teams or your consulting team.