Can every meeting be a Lean Coffee like?

Every time I am in a meeting with a missing agenda or when an agenda item is dragging forever, I think of the Lean Coffee format.

The recipe for a Lean Coffee meeting is simple:

  • There might or might not be an agenda to start with.
  • People get together and individually write the topics they want to talk about (post-it notes work well here).
  • There is a dot-voting to decide what to discuss next (just the very first topic).
  • The timer (usually 10 mins) starts.
  • People discuss the selected topic.
  • When the timer goes off, there is thumbs-up/down voting to decide if the topic is finished or requires a further discussion. NB: thumbs down mean – ‘no need to discuss anymore’, as opposed to ‘the speaker was crap’ or ‘I completely disagree’.
  • If the majority of thumbs went up – the timer starts again and the discussion continues. If decided otherwise – the next topic is chosen and the cycle begins again.

It’s such a simple method to stay focussed in a meeting, without being rude to anyone who likes talking too much…

Can this be done remotely? Of course – just use a shared doc instead.

Probably not every meeting could be a Lean Coffee one, but a lot of them have the potential!

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