Alexandra Sunderland, Engineering Manager at Fellow, shares her tips, tricks and agenda template for weekly engineering meetings.
What is an engineering team meeting?
Engineering team meetings happen weekly at Fellow and serve as an opportunity for the entire engineering department to share progress demos, discuss any technical challenges and align the team on priorities. These weekly team meetings also offer the engineering team a chance to explore and discuss what other team members and departments are working on in order to anticipate future engineering projects or technical challenges.
Who attends the engineering team meeting?
At Fellow, the list of attendees of Alexandra’s weekly engineering team meetings has grown beyond the engineering team, and now includes team members from quality analysis, product management, data engineering, and DevOps, allowing for better organizational alignment.
Meeting frequency: weekly
Initially, engineering team meetings happened bi-weekly, however, when the pandemic hit and the team shifted to working from home these meetings started occurring on a weekly cadence to give the team members an opportunity to meet regularly and have more social interaction. Alexandra explains that this meeting has become the environment for team members to check-in with each other on an organizational level, rather than a core-team level, and help eliminate some of the communication challenges that come from working as a remote team.
As the weekly engineering team meeting serves as the only opportunity for many team members to connect with each other on a personal level, Alexandra begins each meeting with an opportunity to small talk before jumping into the official agenda.
To help you incorporate engineering team meetings into your weekly meeting roster, check out Alexandra’s meeting agenda template.
What’s inside this Engineering Team Meeting Template
1 Small Wins
Beyond the unofficial small talk that usually happens at the beginning of each engineering team meeting, Alexandra kicks off the official agenda with an opportunity to share and celebrate small wins, and set the meeting off on a positive note. The small wins shared during this part of the meeting can be anything from personal accomplishments, project implementations or positive customer feedback.
The next section of the engineering team meeting is spent on demos. During this time team members give presentations on products or features that are currently in progress, offering other engineering team members an opportunity to for a sneak peek of any updates or pre-production projects.
In addition to progress demos, team members often take this time for knowledge sharing presentations. Alexandra explains that many engineering team members are invested in professional development and often participate in workshops or classes to learn new skills or techniques, which they then present back to their colleagues during this portion of the engineering team meetings.
Team members who wish to present a demo at an upcoming engineering team meeting add their name and the topic of their demo to this section of the agenda template before the meeting.
3 Discussion Topics
The next phase of weekly engineering team meetings is spent discussing a list of prioritized topics. These discussion topics typically begin with priority items from Alexandra and other engineering managers, such as business operation updates, project-related questions and requests for feedback.
Following any management updates, any other discussion topics added to the agenda template by team members prior to the meeting are addressed.
4 Action Items
Any required actions that emerge during the demos or discussion topics are recorded and assigned to a team member in the appropriately named action item section of the agenda template. The action items listed throughout the meeting are reviewed at the end to ensure team members have a clear understanding and direction. These action items also help determine the demos or discussion topics for the following week’s engineering team meeting agenda.
Tips for effective Engineering Meetings
In order to help team members remember to add any demos or discussion topics they wish to share to the upcoming meeting agenda, Alexandra relies on a Slack workflow that allows her to send the agenda template and a reminder to add any input with her team seamlessly through their Slack channel.
Alexandra also explained that Fellow’s engineering team meeting has evolved over the years based on team member feedback, organizational growth, and lots of trial and error and experience. One of the more recent evolutions to the meeting was the addition of rotating roles for meeting moderator and note taker. Each week two new team members are designated to hold these roles at the following week’s meeting, ensuring that each team member has a chance to gain these valuable meeting skills.
As Alexandra put it, a successful engineering team meeting is one where participants leave feeling empowered to do some really great work, and this meeting template will help you instil that feeling in your engineering team.