Use These 6 Tips in Your Next Product Planning Meeting

As a product manager, your time is consumed with meetings. Some of these meetings may be essential to developing products and some may be huge time-wasters. To help you better manage your time and create meetings that are efficient and productive, the following tips will turbo charge the efficiency of your next product planning meeting.

Don’t schedule one

This may sound counterintuitive, but do you really need to hold a meeting? If you can’t justify taking people away from productive work for a meeting, you’re better off not scheduling it. This is when a robust team collaboration platform can help you keep in touch with team members. Especially as issues arise, you can communicate without interrupting their valuable time with more meetings.

Invite only those who must be there

If you need someone’s input during the meeting, they must be there. Don’t offer optional invites to individuals who might want to know something being discussed. You can send them an email afterwards. By inviting only those who have something to contribute, you can more easily stay on-topic and on-schedule.

Include why you want each person’s attendance

To help you focus everyone on what you expect from them, include in their invite exactly what you’re looking for them to contribute. For example, you may invite people with notes saying, “I’ll need Andy from Sales to help us determine _________ and Paula from Engineering to explain _________.”

Don’t allow laptops or smartphones

Most people tend to use their laptops and smartphones to check email while they’re in meetings. Since you want everyone focused and ready to contribute, push hard for a moratorium on electronic devices. There will most likely be exceptions to the rule. For example, someone needs to look up information for the meeting. As a general rule, however, leave the electronics outside.

Be a stickler for the specific

Demand that everyone includes specifics like dates, timeframes, budgets, man-hours, etc. For example, if an engineer comments “We’re getting close to releasing the beta version,” that means different things to different people. Upper level management may think that means today. Others may think it means within the week, but in reality the engineer means they’re almost there, with no specific date in mind.

Take detailed notes about who’s doing what

Capture what’s decided and who’s taking responsibility for the next steps. At the end of the meeting, recap everything that’s been decided and make sure everyone understands their roles and tasks. This may seem excessive, but type up your notes after the meeting. Then email them to everyone so there’s no ambiguity about what comes next and who’s responsible for it.

Conclusion

Sometimes product planning meetings will generate creativity amongst attendees, but the ideas won’t become fully formed until hours or even days later. Give everyone the opportunity to send you ideas and thoughts afterwards. Any introverted individuals will appreciate this option better than being forced to speak out during meetings.

Follow the above 6 tips and see meeting productivity skyrocket. Better yet, collaborate and plan using a powerful platform like hutwork.com that let’s team members and stakeholders comment, discuss, share, and create in real time without the dreaded scheduled meeting. This way, people can participate as their schedule permits, and everyone’s time is respected and valued.

 

Chris Ball

Hi, I'm a Co-Founder at Hutwork. I'm responsible for making sure everything ticks! Click here to check us out on twitter.

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