This blog post is part of the Mike Kelly Email Series. Mike sends out weekly company emails to communicate, inspire, and explore ideas with the DeveloperTown team. We like them so much, we’re sharing them with you.
Meetings take time—and time is money. That's why it's important to make sure that your meeting is as effective as it can be.
(Trust me—I've put a lot of math into this.)
We have around 40 billable people right now at DeveloperTown. Let's say that, hypothetically, they bill at an average rate of $100/hr.
If we wanted to pull those 40 billable people into a room together for 30 minutes, it would cost us $2,000. If we then layered on all the other folks who attend the meeting who aren't billable, and what their time costs in hard costs, you might get to $2,300 for the total cost for that meeting. If you hold that meeting 50 times a year, that's $115,000 annually. Gulp.
Do I feel these meetings gave us $115,000 in value over the last year? I think we can do better.
MEETINGS TAKE TIME—AND TIME IS MONEY. THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR MEETING IS AS EFFECTIVE AS IT CAN BE.
While the math isn't really that simple, it's a great little thought exercise. It shows how small things add up over time.
The key is to think about what the real goal of these meetings were, so we can make them more productive. There are a few reasons companies like ours hold these all-hands meetings:
- Community: Community is built when you know who everyone is. It's intimidating to join a new company, but having people introduce themselves is one small way we can help folks start to get to know who the new folks are.
- Culture: The company meeting is also where we get to visibly show who we are. Many members of our team are humble and approachable—but you can't always communicate these traits through email or slack. It's also a chance to recognize top performers, and to signal to the rest of the team what are viewed as effective behaviors.
- Information: We want to know what others are working on, and what future projects are coming that others might get a chance to work on. It's fun to hear stories about what others are doing. It's nice to see something cool, and say "Wow! We built that?" Sharing project results and sales efforts can help build pride in the work that we do. Hopefully that helps with retention - and helps keep folks motivated even when their current project maybe isn't the most exciting.
- Education: One of the things you've seen over the last year was an experiment to give each team focused time to dive deeper into their practice area.
This resulted in educational and working sessions focused on trying to level up the company. One of our values is Level Up. While that's about individuals getting smarter, better, faster, it's also about us as a firm getting smarter, better, faster.
We have a number of methods of communication: company meetings, team meetings, company emails, newsletters, etc. Our goals for our company meetings are (in this order) community, culture, information, and education. The first two only happen with the help of your team. The last two should start to go up as you cut down on quantity of meetings and focus on quality.