Thursday, April 10, 2008

Groundhog Day: the meeting

Have you ever had a meeting that went like the movie Groundhog Day? I know people call weekly meetings that rehash the same things Groundhog Day meetings, but I've seen one worse. It's a few iterations of Groundhog Day within the same meeting!
One of my colleagues and I had this experience with members of another team. We had a very specific agenda to discuss a simple change that we wanted to make.
  • We explained the current and proposed future states.
  • We outlined the benefits and risks.
  • We outlined the scope of the change.
  • We provided a task list of what it would take to accomplish our proposed change.
  • We proposed a timetable for the plan.
At each point in the agenda the representatives from the other team asked specific questions and we provided clear and detailed answers.
Ok, here's the weird part. At about the point where we were providing the timetable it was like the other bullet points had not been covered. They started asking the same questions, in the same wording, about the first point again and then the second, third and so on. This cycle happened about four times.
We didn't know if they were messing with us or we didn't explain it clearly enough. It was a very surreal experience.
It was a weird meeting.

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