Unnecessary meetings represent an estimated $37B a year loss in salaries spent wasting time. App development and design projects are not immune especially during pre-flight app development meetings where there’s often more spinning than traction.
However, meetings are inevitable and without them (unless you’re a team of one) an app project doesn’t stand a chance of rising to the top. Luckily, there are a few meeting tricks that work to increase productivity and drive better outcomes for the entire project.
Know and engage your team
The key to team leadership lies in understanding motivators. Some people respond well to fire drills, others are more efficient when deliverables are structured and planned. If your team consists of a wide variety of personalities, it’s important to find out how they give and receive information and what times of day they’re most effective. The answers create an opportunity for them to arrive alert, prepared and with questions, thoughts, and input.
Is this meeting necessary?
There’s nothing worse than feeling like your time is being wasted on something that doesn’t pertain to you or require your expertise. Ideally, the person setting the meeting has a good idea who needs to be there, but next time, before you hit “send” on the meeting request, double check by answering this question:
Is this meeting a…
- Brainstorming session?
- Status update?
- Concept session?
- Something else entirely?
Then, go back over the meeting objectives and ensure the attendees and their roles align appropriately.
Timing is crucial
Keep meetings short, 30-minutes or less is the best strategy. It’s easy to open your calendar, see a slot that pairs well with the other attendees and select it without a thought for timing. Before taking that approach, think first about meeting length and then about the needs of the team that may or may not impact the meeting outcome. For instance, many designers, marketers, app developers and other creative types are remote workers. Being cognizant of the most productive meeting time for those team members based on locations can be helpful.
Likewise, try not to schedule meetings right before lunch when people might be distracted by hunger. Studies say early morning and after lunch are the best times for meetings while lunchtime and near the end of the day are by far the worst. When people are tired or hungry and have to make decisions the tendency is to forego extra thought processes in lieu of making the simplest possible decision fast. Doing so can be fatal to an app development project.
Shoot for the moon to reach the stars
When an app project is still in the ideation phase, it’s important to gather as many ideas as possible no matter how outlandish they are. Thankfully, designers, developers, marketers and other creative teams have no shortage of ideas to bring to the table. In advance of the meeting, ask attendees to plan on putting their ideas on the board. Then utilize groupthink to dissect, deconstruct and combine those ideas to drive app development that actively enhances the user experience.
Don’t stop asking questions
As app development projects move from ideation to development, don’t forget the invisible person driving the show; without the end-user, the whole project fails. So, when considering each design element or functional component, and so meetings stay on task, keep asking the three most important questions:
- What’s in it for users?
- How will this component or function work in an app?
- Why would users want to engage?