Nov 7, 2018
We all have different ways of planning a product, we use different methodology, research source and hypothesis creations. Even when it comes to how we do sprint meetings or it might be sharing new idea with your team and stakeholders we might have different approach.
We give less importance to the fact that the ultimate goal of a meeting is to discuss, validate and action plan. After working with so many startups i have realized, we have to put our effort in having clear discussion and clear with notes and share across your team.
1. Don’t be afraid of asking “WHY”
If your meeting is technical in nature or if you are a non tech PM, its you have to make sure you understood the concept of the discussion. Make sure you understand enough to make a decision. This may mean asking your engineers “why are we going with this idea?, Could there be any other options?, How can we measure the impact after implementing this idea? etc. asking WHY is important.
2. Ask for clarification or ask if what you’ve understood is correct.
Sometimes tech and design team might come up with unrealistic approach for a problem. Your job is to listen, understand and clarify the points. Write down what you have understood, and ask if what you’ve notated is correct. These interruptions will be annoying at first, but you’ll learn a lot, and over time you’ll get a lot better at understanding without clarification.
3. Conclude your notes at the end of the meeting
Recap is most important once you finish with discussion. It a very common behaviour, once discussion id over, everyone will be eager to leave, but do a quick recap, make sure you don’t take more than a minute.
Now lets talk about how we should take meeting notes. I know it sounds easy & simple, but its important.
1. Purpose of the meeting.
Keep it short and sweet – no longer than one line. Document it at the top sheet of your notes.
2. Discussion points.
Bullet points. No one will read full, lengthy sentences. make sure to keep discussion in points. Be as concise as possible.
3. Use Cases.
If any specific use cases or hypothesis were discussed, document them. It gives the notes context, and will enable note-readers to quickly remember the meeting.
4. Decisions made.
Write down what decision were made, and who agreed to it. This has helped me several times. You might be discussing with a small team or it might be a team of 10+ developers. When you are taking a decision, you might want to make a note of whose decision we have agreed to, so that you can check with the person later for clarification or mistakes. Do not skip this part. The point of a meeting is to discuss and make sure all are in same page and make better decisions.
5. Action plan
The next step is the action plan, what to do, who will be doing what and deadline.
This is very important. What came out of the meeting? What are the follow-ups? Who is responsible for them? By when? Seems simple, but we’ve all lived through meetings that drag on for hours, with little or no resolution or follow-ups items, leaving us wondering what the hell we just decided.
We need our meeting notes to be clear, concise, and accessible for both other PMs and engineers. Cleaner the better.