6 reasons to hold an all team meeting

Today I had the privilege of participating in an all team meeting.

This meeting is the first one that has been held for this project.  The project has been running for seven months now and at times there have been difficulties with it.  The project team operate in two sites, in different cities, so communication is not easy.   Whilst project team meetings are held over Video Conference (VC) there isn’t the same ‘one team’ feel as I have had in other project teams, understandably.

Today was different.  We had a VC to connect the two teams up, but there were a larger number of people involved in today’s workshop.  A mix of business and technical people and here is what I saw as the benefits of this session:

1. People got to hear what has been happening that they haven’t know about

A number of team members commented how it was great to hear what everyone else was doing/working on.

This is a problem with teams working at a distance when it isn’t as easy to get together.  There are not the same sort of corridor conversations about what you are working on.  People tend to feel silo’d or partitioned off from what is occurring because they tend to be focusing on the delivery of their piece.

2. Common issues or problems were raised by different people

Issues or problems were raised today, and discussed from differing perspectives, which for me was very useful.  We got to hear not only the technical aspects of something, but also the business impacts.  The business representatives present discussed the concerns around the way something was done, and the technical team could respond as to the technical reasons behind the decision/outcome.  Again this has led to a stronger common understanding by the whole team on a number of issues

3. Members of the team were praised for their good work

Today in discussing what worked well, members of the team were called out for their efforts so far.  This hasn’t been raised before in front of the team members, so it was good to be able to celebrate the achievements and not just focus on what was still to be done, what wasn’t working etc.

4. Solutions to issues were brainstormed

With all of the team present it was great to brainstorm the key items that need to be addressed and have so many different ideas captured.  People were offering solutions/suggestions that we wouldn’t have otherwise been aware of, because of their own knowledge and expertise about this change for the business.

5. A team temperature check was undertaken

Today’s meeting gave the business owner the opportunity to take a temperature check with each team member to see what they were feeling about the prospects of delivery going to plan.  This occurred at the end of the day’s session, after all of the information had been presented, discussed and brainstormed.  The value of this was that team members got to then express why they were feeling the way they were; what had changed for them from the way they were feeling at the start of the day.

6. We got to discuss what wasn’t working and suggest how these items could be changed

Being in the one space, having an open and honest discussion allowed the team to discuss openly what wasn’t working for them so that it could be addressed and ways to change that aspect addressed.  In smaller groups, or alone these things may not have been discussed, but in the open forum of the group where everyone had buy-in people felt more open to having these discussions.

This really showed the value of having open team meetings with all team members present.