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I manage a team that has a brief meeting scheduled every day for the same time. My boss is invited to this meeting and is a valuable participant.

However, my boss is in another country and the recent daylight savings time change has put the meeting at an inconvenient time for him. He wants to move the meeting so the time stays consistent for him, despite there being 5 other people in the meeting who are unaffected.

Am I wrong to thing this is unfair and sends the wrong signals to my team? How should I approach this with my boss?

Clarifications:

  • This is a temporary change
  • The meeting is currently first thing in the morning, to setup the day. The new time would position the meeting more in the middle of the day. I think it would be more disruptive this way.
  • The boss is not an essential member of the meeting, more of an observer.
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    Yes you are wrong to think this is unfair. – HLGEM Mar 10 '15 at 14:59
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    @JoeStrazzere - consistency is important because as a daily meeting, the timing sets the flow for the whole day. As is, it starts the morning off and gives the rest of the day to focus on work. Shifting it places it more in the middle and I feel it would be more disruptive. – JBCP Mar 10 '15 at 15:36
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    If it is a start of the day meeting that sets tasks and priorities for the day then I understand that moving it would later would be disruptive. But you did say this is the boss. Maybe you could offer to call the boss and brief him. – paparazzo Mar 10 '15 at 15:43
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    Either your boss is the kind of person you could just say what you said here to his face or not. Given your post, I'm guessing it's the latter. With that kind of boss, often it's better to just suck it up for a couple weeks and deal with it. – Bowen Mar 10 '15 at 23:52
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    Maybe it would help if you appreciate the fact that it is you who is changing the schedule, by slavishly adhering to the tyranny of the clock, and a rather stupid government policy. Why not go by everyone's biological clock instead? – jamesqf Mar 11 '15 at 5:03
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There are some important factors to consider:

Who is the meeting for?

The boss is not an essential member of the meeting, more of an observer.

Obviously the meeting is for your team, which means that your teams schedule comes first.

Does the change adversely affect your team?

The new time would position the meeting more in the middle of the day. I think it would be more disruptive this way.

Sounds like a "yes" to me. A single hour difference doesn't seem like a big difference, but interruptions are bad for productivity.

What kind of meeting is it?

If it's a stand-up meeting where the purpose is to jump-start the day, then it's vital that it remains the first thing your team does, otherwise you might as well throw out the first hour of their day.


With all that said, the only correct answer is to push back politely. Explain how it's important that the meeting stays at the same time, or that your entire team's schedule would need to shift to match your boss' schedule.

If you'd say "no" to someone who wasn't your boss making this request, then you should say "no" to your boss. That doesn't mean being impolite. Be open, be honest, and use facts to back up your argument.

  • It's not obvious that the meeting is only for the team -- if the boss uses the information from that meeting to go to another meeting to present project status, then the meeting may very well be for him – Johnny Mar 10 '15 at 23:24
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    @Johnny, If that's the case, the boss should be requesting an audio or video recording of the meeting, or a transcript, or notes. None of which involve changing the time of the meeting. – zzzzBov Mar 11 '15 at 0:55
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    "If it's a stand-up meeting where the purpose is to jump-start the day, then it's vital that it remains the first thing your team does, otherwise you might as well throw out the first hour of their day." I think this is too sweeping a statement. Personally, I find it hard to remember what I was doing the day before until I've had a little time to check my e-mail and get back into code. This makes first-thing scrums more difficult and less productive for me, since my head isn't refocused on the problem yet. Another commenter also noted that mid-day scrums are valid. It depends on the team. – jpmc26 Mar 11 '15 at 1:03
  • @jpmc26, Stand up meetings that take at most 15 minutes shouldn't need more than 15 minutes prep. I did explicitly qualify that the purpose of the meeting had to be to "jump-start the day" which is no longer effective when done midday. It sounds like your stand up meetings serve a different purpose, in which case my statement doesn't apply. – zzzzBov Mar 11 '15 at 13:26
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Is the new time inconvenient for you or your team members? If not, then you're making too much of a fuss about it.

If the time is inconvenient, however, aside from not being consistent (convenience is more important than consistency, although I understand the comfort of consistent meetings) then you need to determine whether the presence of your boss or your other team members are more important, and act accordingly -- or simply reschedule.

You should not be afraid to simply ask whether the meeting can be rescheduled to a time that's more fitting for everyone, since the new time is inconvenient. Talk about it with your boss - if you can't talk to him about scheduling meetings then there's probably something seriously wrong.

  • The meeting is currently first thing in the morning, to setup the day. The new time would position the meeting more in the middle of the day. I think it would be more disruptive this way. – JBCP Mar 10 '15 at 19:35
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    @jpcp Can you justify why it matters? Those meetings should clarify what has been done in the part x hours and what is to be done in the next y hours, is it not okay to start the day, knowing what you are going to be doing due to yesterday's meeting until a certain point in the day? – Jonast92 Mar 10 '15 at 21:58
  • I don't think that is really relevant, but for context, Its a Scrum meeting. Everyone answers these questions: What did you do yesterday? What are you doing today? What is blocking you? – JBCP Mar 10 '15 at 22:04
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    Scrum meetings in the middle of the day are perfectly valid. My company does it at about 10:30, probably because we've very flexible with individual start times. I find that the extra couple of hours before we get to the meeting are quite valuable for getting back up to speed and solving problems I needed to sleep on. – AlbeyAmakiir Mar 10 '15 at 22:39
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    @JBCP I think you should focus more on What are you doing until we meet next? instead. – Jonast92 Mar 11 '15 at 0:16
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What do you mean, "fair"?

I always bend backwards for my team.

  1. If making the change that the boss requests poses no hardship to the rest of your team, make the change - I would not be doing any of this to please the boss but because I care for everyone on my team. A hardship for one is a hardship for all, so far as I am concerned - assuming that the hardship can be taken care of. And the boss is part of my team, so far as I am concerned.

  2. If making the change that the boss requests poses a hardship to someone on my team, then we'll have to find a way to accommodate by finding some other compromise time. You WILL find that compromise time, if necessary by making room for that time, if the priority on that meeting is high enough.

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Equally important to consider is how inconvenient this may be to your boss. Would moving the meeting time adversely affect his work day more significantly than it affects your workflow? Would it put him in the awkward position of working past business hours where he is? Does the change in meeting time compromise another meeting that he must attend during the day?

Find out how flexible he is, and if there's no way around it, consider taking his offer- it's a reasonable temporary compromise - if the timing of the meeting is not completely essential to your team.

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You are a middleman. Accept your position and use it to exhibit your value (and exploit your station).

You are defending your team, and the adjusted meeting time, because that works best for them. Good on you. You agree to your boss's meeting time because you respect his authority. Good on you. It is the middlemans job to do the work necessary to keep both sides happy:

  • meet the team at their preferred time and hear their issues and assign their tasks
  • meet the boss at his time and convey the days issues and assigned tasks; receive his feedback and, as necessary, update individuals with any modified instructions—individually.

By meeting both sides separately you actually gain both more authority over the team and a greater confidence with the boss. This problem is an opportunity.

Trouble gaining consent? With each objection respond that:

  1. this is a temporary situation
  2. your responsibility is to the other party and it is your job to accommodate their requirements first.
  3. you're on their side and are bending over backward to accommodate their preference;

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