MVP Meeting ROTI (return on time invested)

I have been telling people that if they go to meetings, which most of us do, then they should get value from those meetings.

This is even more important in agile where the processes and tools (meetings, workshops, ceremonies, rituals or whatever you call them) are supposed to support the individuals and their interactions. It is NOT supposed to be “the individuals are a bunch of tools who need to make the agile processes work.”

With this in mind I have been telling people that each meeting should have a positive ROTI (Return on Time Invested). I have even shared this simple mathematical formula to convince people that I am being scientific.

This image shows that the return on the time we invest can be calculated as the value we receive divided by the time that everyone in the team spends preparing for, travelling to and attending the meeting.

I could go as far as to calculate this using empirical evidence, but that seems like a lot of effort.

Instead I can use “Thumb based voting” to get each team member’s view on whether the meeting provided a positive return on the time that they invested.

You can do this at the end of a meeting, or you can list your meetings in a retrospective and vote on them all together.

MeetingThumbs upThumbs downScore 
Sprint planning41(4-1) = 3
Coffee run planning23-1

You could get more sophisticated by using 5 finger voting to rate the meetings, but I think a simple positive or negative score is enough to make a decision.

Now that you have a rating of the return on your time, you can make some decisions.

Maybe just ask people why they scored the meeting the way they did.

Maybe classify the meetings using a matrix like this one:

Which meetings do we keep, improve, drop or add

If you group your meetings like this then you can play project survivor and vote loser meetings out, or you can tune some of your meetings so you get more value from them.

If you want to improve them, then I suggest you just do it, but if you want to really get stuck into them then you can run a whole retro on improving them. This is the retro I like to run, but you can also just ask people what is working well and what needs to change as part of an agenda item.


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