How we began to do awesome long meetings, and why this is no longer universal evil
Our ideal for almost 9 years was this: a standing meeting, 15 minutes maximum, minimum people. And even better in the corridor. You can not decide in 15 minutes - it means that something went wrong. Sounds cool, right?
It turns out that it is necessary to do long. In the last post I talked about how we learned to single out a minimally sufficient group of people who can work out a solution in such a way as not to run up to the leaders with it. It remains to make the meeting without blood.
The mechanic that we were offered is a meeting on a special protocol. It takes an incredibly dead time (4 hours to ask where our 15 minutes would have gone), boredom and longing, but if you go through the stages, you get the feeling that there is a solution. And it can be implemented. And, most likely, it will turn out to be very high quality: it will take into account more nuances, it will be supported by those who perform it. And it significantly reduces the time of implementation.
It is better to suffer a couple of hours, but then implement a month faster.
How it was
The first time we tried to go according to the regulations, it turned out to be 4 hours in general. This is what we started in the morning, and immediately half a day in the ass. It would be at lunch - all day would go to the forest. True, we were promised that later it will be easier. Up to 2-3 hours we have already learned how to reduce, but the shamans say that it is possible in an hour.
It turned out that this is the only way people hear each other. And this is damn important in the next stage, when you have to do it. “Slowly decide, do the first time and faster” - this is a cool thesis.
It all started simply: we called the consultant dude from the Adizes Institute. He somehow casually dropped the words "facilitation" and "implementation," and then told the bike about the Japanese character "crisis", and about Nike's left shoes, and so on. It confused us a little, but its mechanics worked unexpectedly cool.
The meaning is:
- It is necessary to establish the rules of the meeting, so that no one is distracted. We have them: you can’t be late, you can’t leave until the end of the meeting; The last point is absolutely not important for effective communications, but it caused a whole philological dispute, during which we learned about the “expressive core” and learned a few new words from Slavic birch bark letters. Another one of the participants is appointed by the administrator in advance - he ensures that there is a need for negotiation, everyone understands everything, the projector was working, the purchasers were not stolen by the purchasers, and so on.
- We need a person who will write down all the abstracts of the meeting (moderator) and immediately display them on the screen. The moderator is responsible for compliance with the rules, in particular, beats on the hands of those who interrupt. Another important task of the moderator is to be cold logic. He as a compiler, can not miss a number of theses. Why and what is it - a little further. The moderator has nothing to do with the matter under discussion, in principle, it may not even closely understand. His task is to provide data exchange protocol. It is assumed that the company has a pair of specially trained people who know how to moderate.
- We need a screen or a projector that everyone can see.
Next is the meat.
First, the definition of terms. For example, our surprise is this: three different divisions put different meanings into the word “presence”. For the purchase of "in stock" - this is at least one product in any one store in Russia. For retail - in most stores there is at least one product. For the organization of shares - there are at least 5 pieces in most stores. And as a result, the requirement “the obligatory presence of group A ” is fulfilled by everyone in their own way. Also, by the way, some people understood group A by default in terms of revenue, and someone by profit. Which also requires clarification.
Then everyone expresses problems arising on the topic of the meeting. This is where the cold logic of the moderator is needed - because it is very easy to jump from the problem right to the solution.
For example, a request from the call center: remove the button “Order in one click”.
Before, I answered them in the spirit: “Have you been stoned there? Of course not. ”
In fact, the correct answer is:“ This is a solution, but what's the problem? ”
But it turns out that several orders fall from one person with a 3-5-minute difference on the buttons“ Order in 1 click ”. He orders one game, walks the site, orders the second one, and so on. It may happen that the call center makes several calls on one phone. This is problem.
Looking ahead, it turns out that a person wants to order a game here and now, draws up the first document to order in the system. As a result, the button that worked so well, which did not let you down last time, plus the auto-filled fields (we save the previous entries in the cookie) give several different orders. If you are lucky during working hours, 2-3 operators will call them back. Because we are fast.
Solution: it is necessary to speed up synchronization and glue together orders with one phone, received approximately at the same time, into one big order on the backend. The order interface is not necessary to touch. The call center did not think about it, but he considered us crap, because we do not help them to work.
So, when all the problems are posed, they are briefly discussed. The part is removed immediately, simply because someone did not understand something. In general, this is the most important point - to synchronize points of view. Because on the same game there is a text. The designer believes that if it is less, it will be better. And I know that you can not miss the composition, and there are a couple of important blocks. Production knows that they need a huge technical unit with telephone addresses and so on. When we all understand that the goal is to make the game better, and “better” is clearer for the user, let the designer understand why this is all with a little damage to the beauty of the dice. And there comes a short interval of happiness, when everyone does one thing.
In 70-80% of cases, problems remain after explanations.
Then there is an assessment of the importance of each of the problems - how much time it will take to decide, how much it will cost, and how much money the company will bring (it is considered profit, savings and “good karma”). Accurate estimates are not important, the main thing is to roughly identify the TOP-5 things that can be solved or at least nibble in a month. And which are really relevant. That is, all that is unimportant is to postpone to never (maybe it will come up at the next such meeting), and the critical one is to start nibbling. According to the same methodology, if we start to solve tactical problems (not the climate level in the company), then the climate tasks will gradually move to this level. Immediately large projects are not taken.
This is surprisingly sobering, because you want to do everything, but you have to choose one thing. Or two. Or five. No more in a month. And focused to solve them.
Further, the solutions of the really important things are discussed, the tasks are distributed, the terms of their execution are fixed.
Why all this barrel organ?
This is all very long, but useful. Here is another example of a request from a call center. They say: "Make us a block of paired goods - so that you can see that they are buying with this game."
Wrong answer, which I gave for almost two years: "The feature is denied."
The correct answer is:
- No, it reduces the conversion, we tried already. You know, this unit was. With him, the conversion is slightly lower than without it. This is due to the fact that people begin to look at other products and do not dare to choose. That is, the implementation period is 3 weeks, the expected economic effect is, well, minus 300 thousand rubles a year.
Call center, slightly changing the picture of the world:
- And then make those goods that are out of production, so that they are similar.
It turns out that people come to the site, they see that the goods are discontinued and they call the store to find out if they really aren't at all or not at all. And if not at all, then these people are interested in which games use the same mechanics. And what would be suitable if the birthday man liked this particular one, which is no longer available.
Naturally, not everyone calls and it is not always possible to answer (for example, at night in Moscow). Therefore, the call center asks for a block with similar products on those pages where there is no product and there will be no more.
Of course, you have to do. Not the fact that now, when there are other features in requests. Not the fact that it is necessary before the same screwing up the definition of the nearest store by mobile geolocation, but necessary. And here again, everything around is not reptiles who don't care about the needs of the call center, but normal people, it turns out. Just a different point of view.
In general, we have already made many wonderful discoveries. And the pitchfork is at every step: a different understanding of the problem, attempts to push through the solution instead of the problem, do not give to tell their point of view (because someone knows better), there was no assessment of the importance of problems and their prices ... In general, maybe, of course, we we do everything wrong and askew, but these monstrous meetings really pay off. Perhaps there is another methodology that is stronger, taller and faster. But this one has already shown itself well.
Let me remind you that each such meeting has a specific person who is responsible for the outcome of the problem and the deadline. He listens to all points of view on it and makes the decision himself.
It is quite possible that if you are a developer, you don’t need all this in your project team, and even the team leaders don’t see this, and even PMs decide everything intuitively and conceptually. But when a business grows, it becomes oh how useful it is - because before all the misunderstandings you somehow shake off with people with whom you constantly communicate. And now they are just more, and there is no necessary data transfer. Well, the very understanding of mechanics helps even at ordinary meetings to ask the right questions and more accurately assess priorities.