“I want to go to meetings where the inputs are donuts, not the outputs*.”
An OctopOSS can be an all-encompassing beast. It can impact so many peoples’s lives. But this also means that the list of invitees to meetings can explode.
I have a theory that a meeting’s outcomes will generally be inversely proportional to the number of attendees.
The best OSS Project Manager that I worked under was able to rescue an out of control OSS project by doing three simple things:
- Using the fabled MBWA (Managing By Walking Around) technique, speaking directly with his team, getting status updates and getting a picture of what needed attention
- By understanding what needed attention, he was able to remove around 20 hours of customer meetings per week and just have one-on-one meetings with his counterpart, the customer’s PM
- He removed the voluminous documentation that was being created, instead initiating a policy of doing and testing with the customer (a form of agile development perhaps)
On point 2 alone, 20 hours x 20 staff equated to an extra 400 hours per week available for doing rather than donuts as an output.
* Note: “Delivering Donuts” is Australian vernacular for delivering O or nothing