Planning meeting agenda in advance, secretary role

As discussed in last meeting, having agenda in advance has a lot of benefits if we can do it. So, reminder to all to bring up tensions etc. for meetings.

But the broader issue is that we should elect/recruit secretary who will have accountability for preparing agenda.


UPDATE: It was suggested in meeting that we could have a forum topic or tag for discussing meeting agenda in advance of each week’s meeting (and such topics could be part of the Secretary’s accountabilities)

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Driver Statement:

  • Current Situation: Meeting agendas are populated with a mix of items from previous meetings and whatever we think of spontaneously rather than being curated in advance
  • Effect: Agenda may not match priorities and items need explanation since nobody had time to prepare or read background beforehand
  • Need: To prepare agenda items (collectively/via secretary) in advance of meetings (in a visible location so that it can also be discussed)
  • Impact: More efficient and well-prioritized meetings that may also include items brought up by those unable to attend.
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Next step here is to develop a proposal. Besides having a secretary role, we need to know how advanced agenda will get worked out.

I suppose we could just use the meeting etherpad (as long as it gets updated post-meeting without too much delay). And the Secretary could specifically check with people to be sure to get any agenda items they might think of. Then, the Secretary could do some rough prioritizing / ordering in advance as well.

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A proposal for forming an advanced agenda makes sense.
Using the etherpad is a simple enough solution for now - the timeslider feature is a nice feature for tracking changes (just in case)

Not sure that specifically checking with people on an individual basis is effective (unless there’s been a proposed agenda item from them or for them - is that what you meant?)

p.s. I can also be accountable for a documenting the meeting etherpad promptly (contingent on people adding post-meeting notes)

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So part of what’s going on is to have a cut-off during which new agenda items should have been submitted by. While checking in with people on an individual basis seems like overkill, it might be worthwhile while transitioning.

Thanks again for taking over this role!

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A cutoff could make sense in some ways imo, but that seems quite drastic compared with the way things are now (where people can bring up agenda items directly at the meetings - unless my understanding is wrong about this). It seems to me like if its a pertinent item then even if last minute it could be amended which is valid. I guess it’s a matter of precedence vs. importance. i.e. what if something incredibly important comes up right before the meeting? Unless you just mean cutoffs for discussion about the topic item… but still I think getting any discussion about items before the meeting would save some degree of time, generate more activity on the forum, even if an item was only posted a day or two in advance and only got a look from one or two people.

Orrr maybe you’re thinking that it would be a standard for people to have seen such items in advance, and to gloss over the items to some degree? but I’d think that would be my role to parse out a ‘final’ arrangement of the agenda and that would be reasonable to request that people check out that (and links or references) beforehand if possible

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I’m mostly pointing to your last understanding. The idea would be to have an agenda beforehand that we can review instead of spending that time at the meeting.

That being said, I think your initial reaction about it being too drastic a step for right now is correct.

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Sounds good, yeah that’s not something I would have defaulted on but I think that’s a good structure to shoot for generally (and encourage promptness generally which is great for me) - but I would assume exceptions for last-minute-important items would be good. Maybe we have a system for addressing those in the meeting itself? (and I’d also assume that will happen more rarely than not). Hopefully see ya’ll there tomorrow!

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There should be a consent-to-agenda step directly after the opening round (and maybe other administrative stuff). This would take care of a) adding last-minute agenda items, b) allowing people to challenge the importance of agenda items if they were unable to review the agenda beforehand (or if they wanted this discussion to be synchronous (!)), c) allowing re-ordering of the agenda if shortly before the meeting, you find out that you have to leave early (and only some of the agenda items are absolutely critical for you – then you can propose to discuss them first).

I think given this, a deadline for agenda items sent in before the meeting is still desirable: Without it, people wouldn’t know when to have a look at the agenda in order to prepare, because it might still be incomplete. It would make sense to have some agreed-upon, guaranteed timeframe in which people can prepare for the meeting.

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Great points @photm ! I’ll plan on adding that as a proposal to the agenda for the next meeting

So for the record, at the meeting today there was consensus that we will be using the etherpad for documenting the agenda in advance.

The one difficulty is implementing that deadline/cutoff for having submitted agenda items by the time period, can anyone think of an automated solution than trusting people to not add last minute items. I guess the alternative is for me to capture the ether pad at the deadline and if any changes are made to just negate them (or table them)?

Someone threw out a that the deadline could be a couple days before meeting was thrown out and I think thats reasonable, any other thoughts on that or this topic in general? Great input ya’ll keep it up

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Attention @team : (sorry not sure if there’s a more appropriate place to capture this, lmk if so)
The plan for advanced agenda prep is to add items to the etherpad (which may get reordered, just fyi), before the two days leading up to the meeting: that 48 hour slot before the meeting is when attendees (and whoever else is interested) should review those items by the time the meeting comes around so they know what’s on the agenda and we can all be more prepared! I will be reminding people to look at the agenda items when that deadline comes up :wink:

This wasn’t explicitly addressed but if you have pertinent notes/references to make I’d assume it’s reasonable to annotate other people’s items as well.

Note: please leave your name on any items you add! Thanks

Maybe we should have a section on the pad for late-added agenda items? Unless they are specifically urgent for some reason, they will always go toward the end (and thus maybe not get to them depending on timing of earlier added).

I think reviewing and preparing in advance is excellent if we can get there. I see the tension. If last-minute is two days in advance, then people who wait to the last-minute will still get stuff in with time for others to review.

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If you really want a hard deadline, you could – at the deadline – post the agenda to the forum.

This would also give you the opportunity to annotate the agenda items with ideas on how to prepare for them (but that can also be done in the etherpad).

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That’s quite reasonable. Will probably throw that in with the reminder to review before the meeting

By the way, the meeting pad is at
and it IS prepared for the next meeting if anyone wants to add anything - reminder to put your name next to any items you submit

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Okay @team just for reference, regarding adding agenda items to the meetings:

I implemented this suggestion:

There are now two spots on the etherpad for adding agenda items

<-- New Agenda Down Here* *(Added prior to 48 hours before the meeting ) -->

<-- Late New Agenda Down Here ( Added within 48 hours of the meeting) -->

Again, the idea is to have contributed agenda items in 48 hours of the meeting - this is essentially the deadline if you want others to have been able to read up / consider / discuss an items.

If added within the 48 hours leading up the meeting, we still want to address those items if we can, but there won’t be any expectations for folks to have seen the item in advance.

Please don’t worry about putting things in the wrong place, I’ll double check things to make sure late-added items are correctly located. Thank you and look forward to seeing items added to the agenda in advance to optimize our time usage on the meetings even further!

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