Running a productive engineering team meeting can involve a lot of planning before the meeting, pressure to follow the agenda, and stress to end the meeting on a positive note. However, meetings should not make you or your team members feel like that.

Alexandra Sunderland, Engineering Manager at Fellow, shares that “the best feeling to walk away from a meeting with is feeling empowered to go do some great work.”

So, allow the meeting experts to share their best tips for how to run a successful meeting that will leave your engineers feeling empowered and ready to work. 

What is an engineering team meeting?

An engineering team meeting is a meeting held with all of the different people involved in the engineering department at a company. This includes the different engineering teams like the data engineers, the engineering managers, and the product managers. 

The goal of the engineering team meeting is to discuss what each team has been working on to get everyone up to speed on what’s happening in the engineering department.

Things like work-in-progress demos and technical difficulties that team members are facing will be discussed.   

Why are team meetings necessary?

Team meetings are one of the most important meetings a company can have. These meetings are usually (or always in the case of remote environments) the only time that team members can meet as a group and discuss. 

Team meetings are important because they:

  • Inform team members on what is happening in the company

This is important because it ensures that everyone knows what is going on in the company and gives team members a chance to get caught up on what each department and team is doing.

  • Help team members bond with each other

Work aside, team meetings are also a great opportunity for team members to bond and get to know each other… something that remote work has made it difficult to do!

Tips to run effective engineering meetings

1 Prepare an agenda in advance

In order to run an effective meeting, you must have a meeting agenda. So, what does a meeting agenda look like in an engineering team meeting? Let’s find out…

  • Begin with celebrating your wins

Alexandra recommends taking around 5 minutes at the beginning of each engineering team meeting for shoutouts to other team members and to share an engineering-related win from the previous week. This simple task is a mood lifter and will ensure that your meeting begins on a positive note, creating a welcoming atmosphere.  

  • Add a “Demos” topic to your agenda

Having time allotted to demos will create a space for team members to share what they have been working on. Alexandra also suggests having a few (she usually does 3) team members do a presentation, as it is a great way for team members to learn from their peers and see a sneak peek at what they are building.

  • Add a “Discussion Topics” point to your agenda

Adding a “Discussion Topics” point to your agenda will ensure that there is time allotted for things such as updates from the managers, feedback about new processes, new ideas or thoughts, and questions from team members. 

Pro tip

Use a meeting management tool like Fellow to organize a meeting agenda that is collaborative and covers all the talking points you and you team need to discuss!

2 Encourage questions and collaboration

During a team meeting, it is easy to remain in the background hiding behind other people’s voices. However, that is NOT a productive meeting practice. So, it is very important to ensure that you encourage questions and collaboration from your team members. 

Alexandra suggests a pro tip to get team members involved in discussion topics:

Using Slack Workflow, you can send your meeting agenda from Fellow to a specific Slack channel. It is important to do this before the meeting to give team members time to add their own discussion points, prepare for the meeting, and serve as a reminder for team members to add to the agenda. 

3 Rotate the meeting roles

Because engineering team meetings are often held weekly or bi-weekly, it is easy for them to feel repetitive. So, rotating meeting roles is a great solution to that by ensuring that each team member is taking on a new role each time. 

Some meeting roles include:

Organizer

  • Schedule meeting
  • Send invites
  • Create and share meeting agenda

Facilitator

  • Make sure the agenda is being followed
  • Ensure psychological safety

Attendees

  • Come prepared 
  • Read meeting agenda before the meeting
  • Add to the agenda

Notetaker 

  • Review post-meeting report

Alexandra also suggests rotating the role of the notetaker at each meeting. This will ensure that each team member gets an opportunity to perfect their meeting management skills and that nobody ends up with the same responsibilities at each meeting. Rotating the notetaker also ensures that everyone is participating in the meeting.

4 Document decisions and next steps

During a meeting, most people are typically focused on following the meeting agenda and ensuring that it runs smoothly. Therefore, it is safe to assume that with everything going on, nobody is likely to remember every decision made. 

That is why it is very important to document decisions and next steps. During the meeting, assigning somebody (a notetaker) to record meeting minutes will ensure that your team members have something to look back on after the meeting. This will also serve as a meeting summary to team members who were unable to attend. It is important to share these minutes with your engineering team ASAP so that they can begin their next steps. 

5 Don’t be afraid to switch up the agenda based on feedback

Sticking to one meeting agenda for each engineering team meeting is a good way to establish a comfortable pattern for how each meeting will run. However, with time, the agendas can become outdated and irrelevant. Therefore, switching it up every so often is a great way to ensure your meetings are productive. 

Alexandra suggests asking your engineering team for feedback on how to improve the meeting agenda, especially when new team members join. This will ensure that your meeting agenda is relevant to your team and updated with their suggestions. 

Pro tip: Putting a “feedback” section in the meeting agenda may make team members feel hesitant to share their feedback in a group setting, therefore, you can send individual feedback requests to team members after the meeting.

Bonus: Sync your meeting agenda with your project management tool

Having your projects and meeting agendas on two different platforms can be confusing and make it hard to keep track of everything. So, Fellow has created an integration with project management tool Jira. This sync allows you to create, manage, and important Jira issues directly from Fellow. This is a huge bonus because users can now integrate Fellow into their current workflows, making both Fellow and Jira work cohesive together.

Engineering team meeting template

Following this engineering team meeting template will ensure that your engineering team meeting follows the necessary steps to have a productive meeting.

Parting advice

Knowing how to run a productive engineering team meeting is very important. Oftentimes, different engineering teams lack communication with one another, especially with remote workplaces. Therefore, ensuring that your company holds engineering team meetings regularly will provide your engineers with a chance to communicate with each other and get caught up on what each team is working on.

“Meetings are just as important for engineers as they are for ‘managers’ or ‘marketing’ or ‘sales’ or ‘execs’ or any other functional part of a company.” – Steven Sinofsky