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  • Writer's pictureDiane Pierson

Want More Product Team Meetings? Don't Read This

Updated: May 15

With all the virtual ink spilled on "running effective meetings," why are product teams still spending too much time in too many meetings that accomplish nothing? More importantly, is there any way to cut a few of these endless meetings? Here are three ways to reduce product team meetings:


#1: To Reduce Product Team Meetings, Decide How to Decide

How many of YOUR product meetings are spent arguing the relative merits of a bunch of ideas that all seem pretty good - at least to someone? Spinning on which good idea to prioritize bloats the length, number and frustration of product team meetings without adding value. How to reduce? Establish consistent decision criteria.


b2b product team meetings product managers and product marketers have efficient and effective meetings to innovate on purpose

Most product ideas have merit, but not all good ideas drive your product strategy or align with your corporate goals. If you prioritize, for example, building out features to appeal to the South American market, and fixing current weaknesses in interoperability, you can measure every idea against how well it meets one or both of those goals. Many ideas won't even require a meeting to discuss!


Hold up the strategic criteria you've set for the product during any discussion that starts to stray to keep meetings to a minimum. Handle those exciting-but-divergent ideas as exceptions.


#2: Reduce Product Team Meetings Before You Have Them: Make Sure the Team Has the Big Picture

One reason different product team members bring different ideas to the table in the first place is that their access to information is fragmented. Sales hears "if you add X, I'll buy your thing;" customer service gets on-the-ground suggestions from current product users. The IT team looks at the latest tech and wants to stay on the cutting edge. Who's right? Let's have a meeting or three to decide . . .


Even when you use the organization strategy and product goals to focus prioritization, you still need to make sure everyone has the whole picture of the market. Product managers and marketers - this is your job. Make insights available in a central spot such as Teams, then set the expectation that questions or gaps only will be reviewed at meetings.


#3: Collaborate - and Then Don't - to Reduce Product Team Meetings

Good product team collaboration is both misunderstood and badly implemented. Too many product teams think "collaboration" means everyone presents their idea what to do and then argues until one person cajoles, bribes or bullies the others into submission. Boy - will THAT generate a lot of meetings!


It's much more effective for product teams to decide how decisions will be made than to make all decisions together. If you get clear on the first two points above, you can use product team meetings sparingly to present ideas and how they tie to delivering on strategy. Meet to explain, question and defend how decisions were reached and consider any late-breaking market data.


It's much more effective for product teams to decide how decisions will be made than to make all decisions together.

Infrequent, high-value meetings require upfront planning, but it's an investment of time that will give everyone their lives back on a day-to-day basis while enabling product teams to innovate on purpose.


About the Author

Diane Pierson is the Founder and Chief Market Strategist of Innovate on Purpose, a consultancy enabling successful product commercialization for B2B tech companies. Order her book, How to Innovate on Purpose or contact Diane at dpierson@innovateonpurpose.com.




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