The Open Meeting Parking Lot
Meetings getting off track? Have you thought about using the idea of an Open Meeting Parking Lot to make an entire meeting more focused?
Many Agile teams complain about meetings that get derailed. This can be anything from a daily Scrum that takes much longer than ideal because everyone has a lot of off-topic items to address, Sprint planning where team members keep getting into the weeds, or really any meeting that gets derailed and ends up far away from the items on the actual agenda for discussion.
One technique that really works is to create an Open Meeting Parking Lot.
Here’s how it works.
At any time during a meeting, when team members see that you are all going off topic or the meeting is in danger of being derailed, any participant can identify a topic to be discussed after the meeting, tagging it as a follow up item, and adding it to the ‘Parking Lot.’ This means it will be discussed ‘outside’ afterwards, rather than right now, during the meeting.
The trick to making this work is to ensure that the Parking Lot is visible for everyone. There are a number of ways to make sure everyone is on the same page and can see the Parking Lot items, such as an easel pad with sticky notes if you’re all there in person, or a shared document that everyone can see onscreen during a conference call.
Using one of these, everyone can see what the Parking Lot items are, everyone understands that they don’t have to be discussed in the meeting, and can join the discussion to address these afterwards.
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