Capturing meeting tasks, not carrying-over repeatedly

Continuing the discussion from Remote coworking weekly routine:

We review past next-step actions

Currently, we don’t review all past meeting minutes in our weekly meetings, but we review the summary of next-step actions. However, we often carry-over those next-steps again and again. Sometimes they are already captured but we want the reminder, sometimes they aren’t captured otherwise.

It’s an inbox, not a good task management place

Using the carried-over actions as a task list lacks the organization, prioritizing, or team-work potential of capturing tasks in GitLab. The carry-over list can also get long and take substantial meeting time.

We should limit keeping tasks there

I propose we continue strictly reviewing all tasks from the previous meeting. But we should carry-over in only specific cases:

  • The task is important but hasn’t been captured (but aim to capture ASAP!)
  • We specifically anticipate the task being worthwhile for consideration in the next meeting’s agenda

In the first case, we might look for quickest ways to capture. Perhaps a task for someone who misses a meeting gets captured by someone else in an issue assigned to the other person with instructions that they clarify and update the issue. We could use the “needs-grooming” label. We might also make a new task for someone to reach out to the assignee as a check-in with them on the issue.

The second case should still not end up with the same item carrying over repeatedly as it will get updated each time it become a new agenda item.

Tasks should go in GitLab issues

If we keep organized issues in GitLab, we can make that more approachable for doing the work. We could make other mechanisms besides meeting carry-overs to regularly check in with team members and other volunteers about progress on work overall.

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Unsure how to add this, but one of the core ideas is that during the carry-over portion of the meeting, we decide whether an item should be on the agenda or has been captured successfully. Additionally, unsure where this should be captured, but when the minutes are archived, one of the steps should describe how to build the next week’s carry-over section.

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Thanks. So this makes it clearer. The tension I’m describing comes from a third option we’ve used: saying to just carry something over again.

Maybe my tension will just disappear if we simply stick to the main two options you described.

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Here’s a draft of a driver statement.

  • current situation - During team meetings, we review summary of next-step actions from previous meetings and often these are carried over repeatedly (unnecessarily)

  • effect - sometimes these actions aren’t captured elsewhere and keep carrying over week to week (which may prevent it from followed up with more appropriately) or when they are, reviewing them gives them artificial precedence when we ought instead to be using our main issue tracking

  • need - to clear out carry-overs better and have everything captured in other trusted systems

  • impact - save time during meetings and better use our other organizing tools

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I’m not sure we needed the thorough Driver here, but it’s good practice anyway. I edited it somewhat.

The proposal we accepted is basically:

All carry-overs from the last meeting must be either just cleared or moved to agenda. When in agenda, we will make actionable steps which will sometimes be to just follow up with someone about the task outside of the meeting.

Note that this does mean things can get carried over repeatedly, but only by being made an agenda item with updated details (which will then get carried over like all other agenda that we review next meeting)

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