1. Playbook
  2. Meetings


Meetings are an integral part of the work of any organization. Meetings include both internal ones with other team members and external ones with partners and clients.


  • Have a meeting document
  • Structure that document in a standard way
  • Start on time
  • Use video

Have a meeting document

All meetings SHOULD have a meeting doc.

If meetings are regular have a single meeting doc for all those meetings (i.e "Admin meeting doc") and then update by adding new date of the meeting.

Document structure

  • Date: Put the date. We often use the date as the heading for the meeting if we have a document with multiple meetings in it.
  • Present: List who is present.
  • Intention: a meeting MUST have an intention and SHOULD have a short list of measurable associated outputs. These are what you plan to achieve out of the meeting.
    • Start the meeting by reviewing (or establishing) the intention and outputs.
  • Agenda: a meeting SHOULD have an agenda (a short list of items to cover).
  • Agreements & Actions: specifically note agreements and actions from the meeting here.
  • Notes: have a separate section for notes (don't use the agenda for notes!).

There is a Google Doc meeting template that you can copy for your own meetings and that gives a sense of the layout.

# 1 June 2020 [- Space Vehicle Signoff]       <= subject title is optional

**Present**: Rufus (*), Mary...             <= (*) denotes chair of meeting

**Intention**: sign-off the plans for the interplanetary space vehicle.

* v6.1.3 of the plans have been reviewed    } 
* Sign-off for build decision has been made } <= measurable outcomes
* (Or, if not, list clarifications needed)  }


* Introductions
* Read latest plans and summary of changes since v5.9.8
* Discussion
* Vote on approval
* Next actions

**Agreements and Actions**                    <= actions should be GTD "next actions"

* AGREED: Plans were approved
* @Mary is to notify Build Committee that build planning can commence

## Notes

Any notes of the meetings

Start on time

Deal with integrity if people are late so that people are complete.

If someone is not in a meeting immediately take action to locate them: ping them on chat and then call them via the number listed in the phonebook. Stand for people attending.

Why start on time?

Being 2 minutes late for a meeting may not seems like a big deal (and it isn't!). However, there are several reasons to make it important:

  1. If we can be our word on small things like starting meetings on time then we are building our muscle to be our word on bigger things (like shipping projects!).
  2. It is a chance to practice maintaining integrity and restoring it in a low intensity environment.
  3. We are a remote organization where you can't see someone across the office. Thus, when someone is not in the meeting on time it creates much more uncertainty: are they ill, are they dealing with something urgent elsewhere, did they forget, etc? And following form that: should we wait for them or just start or …? This uncertainty has a cost both directly in disrupting or delaying the meeting and indirectly in that people may worry about that person. If we reliably start meetings on time then if someone is not there on time we have high certainty that they are dealing with something really substantial.

Use video

Meetings SHOULD be done via video with video on.

Why video

A significant part of human communication is non-verbal and comes from visual cues such as facial expressions. Without video we lose this.

  • This is especially so in group discussions: if I'm the speaker and other people are smiling (or asleep!) I have a good sense of how well what I'm saying is coming across and being received.
  • A remote environment brings some greater uncertainty: if your video is off and you are not speaking maybe you've gone to answer the door! Having the video on gives me a sense of your presence even if you are silent.