Meetings, meetings, meetings. They're sort of a necessary evil to running a business. People need to communicate in order to synchronize efforts within and across groups. They can be a huge time suck. At Collective Intellect we were having weekly management meetings. These became laughable at some point due to the overall activity in the company. People were either traveling or knee deep in some project or other with too little time to formally sync every week.
Through the tangible and immediate need to get projects done the team has naturally moved towards more frequent, informal hallway, and highly efficient meetings. So the meeting needs have become more about steering than rowing. We recently decided to solve this gap by instituting quarterly management meetings. This is a technique we borrowed from my last company.
After being purchased by webMethods in 2003 I became part of the management team. We held quarterly meetings that were one quarter strategy and three quarters execution planning. We applauded the accomplishments from the previous quarter, discussed the failures, and talked about what we wanted to accomplish in the next quarter. Each department would present how they planned to support those quarterly goals. We would typically do two days and have dinner together on the night in-between. The dinner was a great opportunity to blow off steam and enjoy each other's company out of the trenches of day to day business.
We've had one of these thus far at Collective Intellect. It wasn't perfect. We've got work to do. But it's a great step forward in the maturation of the company.