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Meeting Tips

Best Meeting Cadence For Your Team

Published
November 24, 2023
Read time
9
Min Read
Last updated
February 15, 2024
Jenna Pitkälä
Best Meeting Cadence For Your Team
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How often should your team meet?

It's easy to set an arbitrary cadence for meetings: for example, a small company should gather around all employees once a week to discuss everyone's progress.

But how do you know if setting up a gathering once a week produces too many meetings or if it's too rarely? Both extremes would create unproductive meetings. The right meeting frequency ensures effective communication without causing 'meeting fatigue'.

In this blog, we'll go through what meeting cadence is, the various types of meetings that require different cadences, and finally how to perfect the art of meeting frequency.

What Is Meeting Cadence?

- Definition: Meeting cadence is the rhythm and frequency at which meetings are scheduled in a team or organization.

- Purpose: It's more than just scheduling. A good meeting cadence ensures regular, meaningful dialogue within a team.

- Balance: It's about finding the sweet spot between consistent communication and avoiding too many meetings.

- Types of Meetings: Understand the different meetings, from daily stand-ups to quarterly reviews, and their unique rhythms.

With the right cadence, every meeting contributes to the team's objectives, ensuring everyone is aligned and collaborative. Let's explore how to craft the perfect meeting rhythm for your team.

The Various Types Team Meetings and Their Respective Cadences

The various types of recurring meetings, from daily check-ins to quarterly strategic reviews, each play a pivotal role in ensuring that the team is not only aligned but also strategically poised to navigate through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Daily Meetings: The Pulse of Immediate Coordination

Daily meetings, often manifested as brief stand-ups, serve as the regular pulse-checks, ensuring that the meeting attendees are synchronized in their daily endeavors.

The daily meeting cadence is typically characterized by short, focused discussions where team members share updates, discuss immediate blockers, and align on the day’s objectives.

Having a daily team meeting ensures that the team is agile, able to swiftly navigate through every day challenges, and ensures that every team member is attuned to the immediate priorities and potential obstacles.

Weekly Meetings: Harmonizing the Short-term Objectives

The weekly meeting cadence often serves as a platform for more in-depth discussions, reflections, and planning. Weekly team meetings usually provide a space where team members can discuss the achievements and challenges of the past week and plan for the upcoming one, ensuring that short-term objectives are clear and aligned.

This cadence allows for a regular check-in on progress, while also providing an opportunity to recalibrate strategies and tasks as needed, ensuring that the team is consistently moving in the right direction.

Monthly and Quarterly Meetings: Orchestrating Long-term Strategy and Review

Monthly meetings and quarterly meetings often take a step back, allowing for a broader view of the team’s progress, challenges, and opportunities.

The monthly recurring meetings provide a platform to review the achievements of for example the the past month, discuss and strategize for the upcoming month, and ensure that the team is aligned with the broader objectives and strategies of the project or organization.

Additionally, quarterly meetings typically involves a more strategic and encompassing discussion, reviewing the achievements, learnings, and challenges of, for example, the past quarter, while also strategizing and setting objectives for the next.

Quarterly meetings often involve higher-level discussions regarding strategy, resource allocation, and alignment with organizational objectives, ensuring that the team is not only progressing but also evolving in harmony with the broader organizational goals. Read more about quarterly meetings here.

One-on-One Meetings: Fine-tuning Individual Contributions

One-on-one meetings, while perhaps less frequent than many meetings, play a crucial role in ensuring that individual team members are supported, heard, and guided in their endeavors.

This meeting type provides a space for more personal, focused discussions regarding individual performance, challenges, and development, ensuring that each member is not only contributing effectively to the team but is also supported and developed in their career.

Ad-Hoc Meetings: Addressing the Unforeseen Challenges Among Team Members

In addition to the regular schedule meetings and cadences, ad-hoc meetings may take place to address unforeseen challenges, opportunities, or discussions that do not neatly fit into the regular meeting schedule. These meetings are typically more reactive, addressing immediate needs or challenges that require the team’s attention and collaboration.

In the subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into the strategies and considerations in establishing and adapting meeting cadences. You'll learn how they can be effectively tailored to resonate with the unique needs, challenges, and rhythms of a team.

Crafting the Right Meeting Cadence: A Balance of Frequency and Necessity

Crafting of the right meeting cadence is a delicate balance between maintaining consistent, open channels of communication and safeguarding the team against the perils of meeting overload.

The right meeting cadence, therefore, is not merely a matter of scheduling meetings but a strategic endeavor. We want to ensure that each meeting serves a clear, defined purpose, and contributes positively to the team’s rhythm, momentum, and collaborative spirit.

Assessing the Unique Needs of the Team

The first step in establishing an effective cadence involves a meticulous assessment of the team’s unique needs, objectives, and working rhythms. Team leads and project managers must consider factors such as the complexity of project management, the distribution of the team (both geographically and in terms of working hours), and the communication needs of the team members.

For instance, a team working on a complex, fast-paced project might necessitate a more frequent meeting cadence, such as daily meetings, to ensure swift decision-making and alignment. Conversely, a team working on a longer-term, less dynamic project might find a weekly or even monthly meeting cadence to be sufficient.

Balancing Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication

In the era of remote and hybrid working environments, balancing synchronous and asynchronous meetings and communication becomes pivotal in establishing an effective meeting cadence. Synchronous meetings, such as live, in-person, or virtual meetings, provide the benefit of real-time interaction and discussion but may pose challenges in coordinating across different time zones and schedules.

Asynchronous communication, utilizing tools such as email, message boards, and recorded video updates, provides the flexibility for team members to engage and respond in their own time. A balanced meeting cadence might involve a once weekly team meeting or combination of both, ensuring that the team has regular, real-time touchpoints while also leveraging asynchronous communication to maintain a steady flow of updates and discussions.

Ensuring Clarity and Purpose in Meetings

An essential aspect of maintaining an effective meeting cadence involves ensuring that each meeting has a clear, defined purpose and agenda. This involves not only defining the objectives of the meeting but also ensuring that the right participants are involved, the meeting is effectively facilitated, and that the discussions and decisions are documented and communicated.

Adapting to Changes and Feedback

The right meeting cadence is not static but is a dynamic entity, one that should be regularly reviewed and adapted based on the evolving needs of the team and feedback from team members. This involves not only assessing the effectiveness of the meetings but also being attuned to any signs of meeting fatigue or feedback regarding the relevance and efficacy of the meetings.

In the subsequent sections, we will explore specific strategies and tools that can be utilized to effectively manage and facilitate meetings, ensuring that the established meeting cadence is not only maintained but also continuously optimized to serve the evolving needs of the team.

Strategies and Tools for Implementing and Managing Effective Meeting Cadences

In the realm of establishing and managing meeting cadences, the incorporation of strategic approaches and leveraging of various and common meeting cadences management tools becomes imperative to ensure that meetings are not only productive but also efficient and engaging for all team members. The strategies and tools employed should aim to enhance the effectiveness of the meetings, ensure clear communication, and facilitate the seamless execution of the established meeting cadence.

Establishing Clear Meeting Agendas

A clear, well-defined meeting agenda, shared in advance, is pivotal in ensuring that meetings are focused and productive.

The agenda for recurring meetings should outline the key points of discussion, objectives of the meeting, and any preparatory work that team members should undertake prior to the meeting. This ensures that team members are aligned, prepared, and that the meeting can effectively serve its intended purpose.

Three Tips for Crafting Agendas

  • Utilize Ready-Made Templates: Platforms like Taskade or ClickUp offer ready-made agenda templates tailored for various occasions. Why reinvent the wheel?
  • Include Space for Spontaneous Discussions: While structure is essential, ensure there's wiggle room for spontaneous discussions. It's where the magic often happens.
  • Share in Advance: Give attendees a sneak peek of the meeting's flow. It not only shows respect for their time but also sets the stage for a focused discussion and reduces uncertainty.

If you're in a hurry, then go ahead and use this template below if it's suitable for your meeting!

Utilizing Online Meeting Note-Taking Tools

Tools that assist in documenting and sharing online meeting notes ensure that the discussions and decisions from the meeting are clearly communicated and documented. For example, if meeting cadence came up as a topic on multiple different occasions, it's easy to go back to each meeting's notes and make better informed decisions about cadence for different meetings.

Often the tone and content in personally written notes can be biased based on that person's perspective of the discussion. Hence, AI note-taking tools are more objective and reliable.

Manual note-taking in any meeting can also be distracting. AI tools like Wudpecker can automatically transcribe and highlight key points of a conversation, allowing participants to focus entirely on the conversation.

Consider a global team spread across different time zones. During a video conference, team members from New York, London, and Tokyo brainstorm an upcoming product launch.

Amidst the flurry of ideas, Wudpecker captures every suggestion, question, and feedback. It identifies potential action items, ensuring no innovative idea goes unnoticed.

With individual accounts, every team member, regardless of their location, can revisit and reflect on the discussions, ensuring universal alignment.

Note: if you're not planning on meeting online, you can still set up a recording system in your meeting room so that you don't have to worry about scrambling down notes yourself.

More about Wudpecker:

  • Compatible with Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Makes a transcript, TL;DR, Summary, and Action Items list from the whole conversation.
  • You don’t have to write a single word of notes yourself
  • Aids in revisiting and comprehending crucial points across meetings.
  • Makes finding information and knowledge from previous meetings a breeze.
  • Multiple people can have their own Wudpecker recorder in the meeting at the same time and receive their own notes in their account after the meeting. The notes can also be shared to other people.
An example of Wudpecker's automatically generated meeting notes, including TL;DR, Summary and Action Items.
A simplified example of what Wudpecker's meeting notes can look like.

Facilitating Inclusive and Focused Discussions

Ensuring that meetings are facilitated in a manner that encourages inclusive, focused discussions is crucial in maintaining an effective meeting cadence in person meetings. This involves ensuring that all team members have the opportunity to contribute, that the discussions remain focused on the agenda, and that any off-topic discussions are parked for follow-up outside of the meeting.

Ensuring Follow-up and Accountability

Meetings should result in clear actions, decisions, and follow-ups, which are documented and assigned to relevant team members. Ensuring that there is a mechanism for tracking and following up on these action items is crucial in ensuring that the discussions and decisions in the meetings translate into actions and outcomes.

Wudpecker, Asana, and Trello are tools worth mentioning that help maintain the meeting's momentum. For example, Wudpecker’s Action Items feature organizes tasks and suggests next steps based on the dynamics of the discussion.

Here's why action items and follow-ups are indispensable:

  • Task Organization: These tools enable systematic organization of all tasks mentioned, aiding teams in managing their responsibilities efficiently.
  • Timely Reminders: By providing reminders for important dates and deadlines, they ensure that no task is overlooked or delayed.
  • Strategic Suggestions: The tools offer guided suggestions for potential next steps, maintaining focus and direction.
  • Enhanced Accountability: Clear and objective allocation of tasks and progress tracking by these tools foster a sense of responsibility among team members.

Regularly Reviewing and Adapting Meeting Cadences

The established meeting cadence should be regularly reviewed and adapted based on feedback from team members and the evolving needs of the team and project.

That's why you should keep your ears open about feedback on...

  • frequency,
  • format,
  • and content of the meetings.

This way you can ensure that meetings continue to serve the team effectively. And to remind you, gathering feedback is much easier if you already have existing meeting notes made automatically by Wudpecker.

Conclusion

In navigating through the complexities of team management and collaboration, establishing and managing an effective meeting cadence emerges as a crucial element in ensuring consistent, clear communication and collaboration within the team.

Through strategic approaches and leveraging of tools, team leaders can ensure that the proper meeting cadence is effectively implemented, managed, and continuously optimized to serve the evolving needs of the team.

In the end, perfecting your team's meeting cadence can ensure a more harmonious, collaborative, and productive working environment. Isn't that what we all want?

FAQs

What does cadence mean at work?

In a work context, "cadence" refers to the rhythmic flow or pattern of events, activities, or processes, ensuring consistency and regularity in execution. When talking about meeting cadence, it pertains to the systematic scheduling of meetings, involving the frequency, format, and type of meetings, to facilitate effective communication and collaboration within a team or organization.

A well-established cadence at work helps in maintaining a structured, predictable pattern for team interactions, project check-ins, and strategic planning, thereby ensuring alignment among team members and steady progress towards objectives.

What is the cadence of a leadership meeting?

The cadence of a leadership meeting refers to the regularity and format with which meetings of the leadership team are held. It can happen as monthly meetings. This could involve various types of meetings, such as strategic planning sessions, review meetings, or decision-making forums, each with its own specific frequency and agenda. For instance, a leadership team might have a weekly meeting to discuss operational issues and a monthly or quarterly meeting to explore strategic and organizational matters.

The cadence is designed to ensure that leadership effectively navigates both the strategic and operational aspects of guiding the organization, maintaining a balance between immediate, short-term, and long-term considerations.

What is cadence meeting in agile?

In an agile framework, a cadence for your team, often referred to simply as a "cadence," is a meeting that occurs at a predictable and regular interval, facilitating synchronization, planning, and problem-solving within agile teams. There are several types of cadence team meetings, either daily meetings or weekly meetings, in agile methodologies, each serving a distinct purpose:

  • Daily Stand-up: A brief meeting where team members discuss what they worked on the previous day, what they plan to work on that day, and any blockers they are facing.
  • Sprint Planning: A meeting at the beginning of each sprint (the sprint being a set, short time-frame, often two weeks) where the team plans the work to be undertaken during the sprint.
  • Sprint Review: A meeting at the end of each sprint where the team reviews the work completed and discusses improvements for the next sprint.
  • Sprint Retrospective: A meeting after the sprint review where the team reflects on the sprint process and identifies areas for improvement in the next sprint.
  • Backlog Grooming: Regular sessions where the team reviews and prioritizes the backlog items for future sprints.

Each of these team meetings has its own specific cadence, contributing to the overall rhythm of the agile process, ensuring regular check-ins, planning, review, and continuous improvement throughout the project lifecycle. These could take place in weekly meetings, bi weekly meetings, but not monthly meetings.

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Weekly Team Sync Meeting Agenda (Copyable Template)

Date: [Insert Date]
Time: [Insert Start Time] - [Insert End Time]
Location: [Specify if it's an in-person or virtual meeting and provide necessary details or links]

1. Opening and Quick Personal Check-In (5 minutes)

  • Sharing of personal updates or weekend activities.
  • Notifying of any upcoming out-of-office days for the week.

2. Review of Last Week's Action Items (10 minutes)

  • Status update on tasks or projects from the previous meeting.
  • Discussion on challenges or roadblocks encountered.

3. Updates on Ongoing Projects (15 minutes)

  • Team members will provide updates on their respective tasks or projects.
  • Introduction and discussion of new assignments or changes in responsibilities.

4. Upcoming Deadlines and Priorities (10 minutes)

  • Highlighting of critical tasks for the upcoming week.
  • Discussion and delegation of tasks or responsibilities.

5. Feedback and Suggestions (10 minutes)

  • Sharing of feedback on recent work or team processes.
  • Suggestions for improving team collaboration or processes.

6. Training and Development (5 minutes)

  • Announcement of any upcoming training sessions or workshops.
  • Discussion of potential resources or courses beneficial for the team.

Notes and Pre-Meeting Reads

  • Possible reminders, announcements, any other pre-meeting items
Best Meeting Cadence For Your Team
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Best Meeting Cadence For Your Team
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Best Meeting Cadence For Your Team
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