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What is a Weekly Meeting?

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Smartpedia: A weekly meeting is a regular gathering of a group of people on a weekly basis to exchange information, coordinate activities and solve problems.

Weekly meeting – Exchange information and synchronise tasks on a weekly basis

A weekly meeting is a regular gathering of team members or employees from one or more organisations that takes place once a week. Its main purpose is to exchange information, coordinate and synchronise tasks and projects and solve problems. These get-togethers also to keep stakeholders – i.e. those involved and interested – up to date, discuss challenges and pursue common goals.

In contrast to ad hoc or spontaneous encounters, weekly meetings are usually strategically planned and offer a regular opportunity for dialogue and collaboration.

Weekly meeting - a weekly gathering to exchange information

Possible content and structures of weekly meetings

Depending on the company or organisational context and the specific setting, the content and structure of a weekly ¹ – the abbreviated form of a weekly meeting – can vary. In an agile context, e.g. when implementing projects or developing complex products or services, the structure may look like this:

  • Tasks that were completed last week
  • Tasks that need to be completed this week
  • Tasks that need to be completed in the future

Whether the categorisation of tasks is followed by a joint distribution of tasks or employees “take” tasks on their own responsibility and make a corresponding commitment depends on the agreements within the organisation.

Alternatively, a structure for a weekly in a more traditional organisational and departmental structure could look like this:

  • Review of the last meeting/status update
  • Ongoing projects and tasks
  • Problems and challenges
  • Discussion of possible solutions
  • Definition of next steps and responsibilities
  • Miscellaneous

It is important that the participants develop a common understanding of the purpose of the weekly meeting at an early stage and define a suitable process for the organisation. As long as the purpose is clear and is achieved together, it makes sense to organise a weekly get-together. However, if this is no longer the case, it makes sense to think about alternatives: How can the exchange be organised more efficiently? Would an exchange in a different cycle – e.g. monthly – make more sense? Etc.

Tips for conducting weekly meetings

There are a number of tips that are generally helpful:

  • Agree on a fixed location, a fixed day, a fixed start time, a fixed duration and participants who meet once a week to exchange ideas.
    Make substitution arrangements in case someone is absent due to illness or holiday.
  • Obligate the participants to attend.
  • Establish an agenda that must at least be kept clearly in mind by all participants.
  • Appoint a time keeper who will keep an eye on the duration and, if necessary, point out the limited time to the participants. If there is a moderator, this task can also be performed by one person.
  • Document the findings, allocate tasks and responsibilities if necessary and address open points from the previous week at the next meeting.
  • End the meeting as early as possible, ideally when everything important has been communicated.

And last but not least: Ideally, the exchange of information and ideas should take place in an open dialogue atmosphere in which introverted people also have their say, perspectives and different opinions are respected and the exchange – keyword: psychological safety – takes place at eye level. However – and the people involved are usually aware of this – such a dialogue atmosphere does not fall from the sky and does not take place in a vacuum. Communication in the context of such a weekly exchange is often a reflection of the culture practised in the organisation.

Questions from the field

Here you will find some questions and answers from the field:

What is the connection between weekly meetings and Scrum?

The exchange of information and the synchronisation of tasks is an important element in agile procedures or frameworks such as Scrum. However, the Scrum Guide, which defines the rules of Scrum, only recognises 5 so-called events (sprint, sprint planning, daily Scrum, sprint review and sprint retrospective) and therefore no weekly.

Of course, organisations can in principle still decide to hold such an event in addition, although the question arises as to why such an exchange format is necessary and whether it might not make sense to set the sprint duration to one week and hold the mandatory sprint review and sprint retrospective instead.

Theoretically, a Scrum of Scrums, i.e. the exchange between representatives of different Scrum teams, could be a weekly meeting; however, this assumes that the sprint lengths of the different Scrum teams all last “only” one week. A Scrum of Scrums in which, for example, two teams have reached the end of the sprint and one team is still in the middle of the sprint makes little sense in practice.

Is the weekly meeting a substitute for the daily scrum?

If the weekly meeting were a replacement for the daily scrum, we would be talking about a scrumbut; we use scrum, but with a weekly rather than a daily exchange.

If the weekly were a supplement to the daily scrum, it would be a scrumand; we use scrum and also weekly meetings for synchronisation. However, as the daily Scrum is a central element of Scrum, it cannot be a substitute. Or to put it another way: a team does not do Scrum without a daily scrum.

Are weekly meetings a sign of agility?

Regular dialogue and short feedback cycles are considered important features of agile approaches. Nevertheless, there can also be weekly meetings in classic process models such as the V-Model or V-Modell XT. Weekly meetings are therefore not a characteristic or even a unique selling point of agile approaches.

Is a weekly meeting a stand-up meeting?

Some publications refer to a weekly stand-up meeting. In such a case, a weekly meeting is a meeting that takes place standing up. However, since in practice weekly meetings usually last longer than, for example, the daily scrum, the daily exchange of a scrum team that takes place standing up, the meeting does not have to be held while standing. Or to put it another way: In practice, the duration of the weekly meeting determines whether it is a stand-up or not.

What is the difference between a jour fixe and a weekly?

Some internet articles point out differences between jour fixes and weekly meetings. However, these differences, which are usually mentioned, are more a sign of a relatively rigid understanding of the formats.

  • Does a jour fixe need an agenda or is it clear to the participants what the procedure is even without an agenda due to the regularity of the exchange of information and the synchronisation of tasks?
  • Does the meeting have to be planned and the participants invited separately or are the meeting point and the participants clear and fixed for the foreseeable future?

In principle, both formats are related, although in development contexts they are more likely to be referred to as weekly meetings and in organisational and departmental contexts as jour fixes.

What time frame is recommended for a weekly exchange?

There is no universal formula for determining the ideal time frame for a weekly exchange. Many organisations agree on a time frame of one hour and define this as a timebox.

If the weekly meeting is a sprint review, the Scrum Guide also recommends one hour for one-week sprints.

If it is a supplementary format in an agile context, any other duration can also be suitable, provided it proves to be a sensible time frame; there are no limits to the creativity of those involved here. However, the same also applies to meetings in “classically structured organisations”; here too, there is no formula. It is therefore advisable to scrutinise the duration from time to time and adjust it if necessary.

What influence does the choice of the day of the week for a weekly meeting have?

In theory, any day of the week is suitable for a weekly meeting. In the sense of a jour fixe, in which organisational or department-related aspects are often discussed, individual preferences and available time slots are likely to be decisive. However, in terms of exchanging information and synchronising tasks within projects or developments, two days are usually agreed for holding weekly meetings: Monday or Friday.

  • A weekly meeting on Monday offers the opportunity to start the week with a clear focus. It allows team members to orientate themselves, set goals for the week and start implementing the agreed tasks straight away. In addition, the review of the previous week is clearly delineated, as in the vast majority of cases it ended on the previous Friday.
  • A weekly meeting on Friday offers the opportunity to discuss the past week with fresh impressions and to agree on aspects of the collaboration that can be implemented with full motivation after a rest period on Monday. It is an opportunity to reflect on the week’s progress, learn important lessons and celebrate successes.

In fact, the arguments in favour of Mondays or Fridays are not very valid, so it is probably also a matter of lived practice and individual preferences for projects or developments.

 

Impulse to discuss:

Sprint retrospectives often use different mottos – e.g. the Carnival Retro or the Amazon Retro – to loosen up the dialogue a little. Could this also work for weekly meetings?

Notes:

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[1] Weekly is also a term for a weekly newspaper or weekly magazine. Here you will find a brief derivation of the term.

Here you can download anti tips for online meetings.

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