Lean Coffee...is this weeks muse

(A weekly - or thereabouts - featured project/product that will make your life better)

Take a look at all the Zoom meetings clogging up your day and keeping you from doing any actual work. I bet almost none of them have an agenda. While it’s tempting to blame the Covid-19 rush to distributed work for wasting our days in haphazard and often pointless meetings, this same behavior has been its own plague since management learned how to click ‘new meeting request.’

The co-creators of Lean Coffee, Jim Benson and Jeremy Lightsmith, wanted to start a discussion group without a lot of overhead and pre planning. But, the meeting should still be useful to the participants who are giving their time; it should be enough to show up and want to learn and create. They came up with a meeting format that is easy to learn and easy to facilitate.

The Lean Coffee page does a great job of explaining how to structure a lean coffee meeting and should be enough to get you started with the idea of collaboratively creating an agenda and selecting which topics you’re going to tackle during the meeting. Go take a a look at how it works.

What about online meetings in the time of Covid-19? It’s easy enough to use your video tool’s whiteboard, a shared google doc, or even a text file to mimic sticky notes or index cards. Here’s an example of a Skype whiteboard that can be drawn in less than a minute. Use a row of asterisks to indicate the number of votes for each topic and your agenda is done and agreed upon.

Instead of inflicting another aimless, agenda-less meeting on your co-workers, try and see if this technique can bring some small amount of organization, ownership, and purpose to other epidemic of the modern workplace.