Hi, I'm Jan König 👋. I'm one of the founders of Jovo, 28 years old, and live in Berlin. < Go back to learn more.

We try to get rid of meetings at Jovo. Here's why.


"But how do you make decisions?"

This is the #1 response I get when I tell people that we hardly have any meetings at Jovo.

 

Do we really need meetings to make decisions?

When we initially started working together, Alex and I didn't know each other very well. Although everyone had clear responsibilities, we still had the feeling that many decisions need to be done together. This led to a lot of talking instead of doing, and discussing things that are not really discussion-worthy.

Today (after more than 4 years of working together), it's different: We don't really do meetings to "make decisions." And we're also trying to mirror this in our conversations with the whole team.

Here are a few things that I believe have the potential to erase unnecessary meetings:

  • Ownership: Clear responsibilities help everyone understand what's expected from them (and who they can ask for help)
  • Trust: I hired this person to take on this responsibility, why do I still need to be part of every decision?
  • Action → Feedback (instead of Conversation → Decision) : "A picture says more than a thousand words". For example, don't call a meeting "talk about database structure", but rather create a very rough first version and send it to the team for feedback.
  • Understanding that most decisions can be reverted: If something doesn't work, that's OK, we'll change something and try again. Amazon even has a key principle called "Bias for Action" that incorporates that thinking.
 

Meetings we have at Jovo

It's not that we don't have any meetings. However, we want to limit them to just a few per week, and focus on personal 1-on-1s and feedback sessions instead:

 

Potential downsides of "No Meetings"

Of course, it all depends on the type of company. Currently, we're 8 people working at Jovo, many of them part-time with a clear responsibility/topic each.

For larger companies, or large teams working on a single product, I understand that more communication is required. We face similar issue right now with a few product and infrastructural choices we need to make for a new offering we're working on.

I believe that the number of meetings can still be minimized by giving everyone of the team clear ownership, and focus on feedback and not "decisions" to be done (this is what we do in our weekly reviews for example).

A few days ago, I also found this encouraging tweet:


How about external meetings?

Saying yes to any call or coffee meeting can be even more time-consuming than internal meetings. I don't always make it work, but I try to limit meetings/calls with external people to the following:

  • No meetings on Monday and Friday
  • For the rest (Tuesday - Thursday), only meetings in the afternoon
 

Further reading

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