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I have recently started my first job after grad school. The size of my team is around 20. My manager is great. I meet (as quick meetings) most of my teammates at least once in a day to discuss what is happening at my end (project) and they are very helpful. Overall, I am enjoying at this place. However, there are some formal meetings every week and they consume almost 4 to 5 hours per week. I feel that they are becoming obstacles to the progress of the project. I think that it would be good if we organize these meetings once in two weeks instead of every week.

As a new member of the team, I am a bit hesitant to talk with my manager about this. My question is: what is an effective way to approach my manager about this?

  • How new are you to this team? This factor could have a big impact if you try change something that no one else might want to or support you with. – Michael Grubey Aug 7 '13 at 8:33
  • Do the answers here answer your question? It seems they have relevance, at least. – enderland Aug 7 '13 at 13:24
  • @Michael: 2 months old. – samarasa Aug 7 '13 at 14:02
  • Has anyone else had the same concerns? – user8365 Aug 7 '13 at 17:42
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    This question may also help (not a duplicate) – jmac Aug 22 '13 at 6:35
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As a new member of the team, I am a bit hesitant to talk with manager about this. My question is: what is an effective way to approach my manager about this?

Don't be hesitant. I'm always happy when members of my team come to me with suggestions. Over the years, I've always asked all new members to come to me with what they are seeing. "New eyes" often see things that others take for granted.

The best way to do this is to approach your manager individually and informally, rather than within a group meeting. Say something like "Hey, boss, I've been thinking. What's the chance of changing the {formal meetings} so they only occur every other week?"

If he/she is interested, you can then expand a bit and indicate how you feel they might be getting in the way of more progress.

Be ready, though, for a bit of pushback. Meetings often serve multiple purposes - some of which you may not yet be aware. While the weekly aspect of the meetings may be overkill for your needs, others on the team may benefit in ways you don't yet understand, and may benefit from weekly time.

Either way, make your conversation friendly, helpful, and avoid an "I'm smarter than people who have been here a long time" attitude and you'll be fine.

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If you're feeling that way, other people may be thinking the same thing. The best approach is to build a consensus: 'how many people think this meeting is only needed every two weeks?'. The interval might change, but perhaps not as much as you think - some meetings will be skipped because there isn't enough progress to report, others will occur weekly because too much is changing. Sound out others and find out how many agree.

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If you are sitting in a meething fo 4-5 hours, how on earth are they filling this time if you think the meeting is un-necessary? Rather than just flat out cancel one meeting maybe make every other meeting a "standing" meeting.Try to keep it to 15 minutes. That way you keep up to date on what everyone is doing.

A lot of times these 4-5 hour meetings, I find that there are 2-3 out of 10 members that are trying to sort out some issue while everyone else does not care about that issue and could be working. The short 15 minute stand up can allow for these people to realize they need further discussion, but allow for others not involved to leave and be productive. Then every other week have the full meeting.

As for suggesting this to your boss, I would write up a proposal and print it out. Then ask for 15 minutes of your bosses time to propose a productivity enhancement. Bosses like this type of stuff rather than blind siding them in the hallway, or just walking into their office. This also allows them to read over your proposal more than once and gives them some time to think about it.

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