Friday, June 22, 2007

Kaizen management meeting

Would you believe me if I told you that I had a "fun" management meeting? Ha, you say. Impossible. Well, it was fun.

I recently attended a (non-management) Kaizen Agile development meeting with our mixed staff/consulting team (blogged about it previously), and I became intrigued in how engaging and effective it was. Since I was only an observer (not being a team member), I wanted to participate in a kaizen meeting myself. I convinced my technology management team to join me, with the simple goal of having them take agile learnings back to their teams. I had little hope of any management outcomes, but I was dead wrong here.

We started the meeting at 4:30pm on a Friday, 5 mins with postIt notes on whiteboard, 5 mins reviewing good and bad for the week, 5 mins voting on index cards, then rest of time reviewing top cards voted for (see previous blog for meeting format details). It was fun, and incredibly productive. We discussed 6 key management issues from the week that we had voted on, in order of voting. This was one of the rare times I did not set the agenda in my own management meeting! At the end of each discussion, I handed the card to the manager who would follow up on the issue. If we were having these meetings regularly, the card would be brought back to the next meeting.

There were important logistical elements of the meeting that I left out of my previous post:- (1) beer (2) snacks (3) kaizen kit containing postIt notes/cards/markers (missing bottle opener!). What made the meeting fun was that it was like a board game (whiteboard/postIt's/cards/voting), with an element of chance as you don't know which cards will get the most votes.

My team and I enjoyed it, and we had some good outcomes which we'll follow up on. What more can you ask?

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