Meetings and meeting tools
Here, you’ll find a list of tools folks at TTS use to schedule meetings, along with information about some specific meetings at TTS.
Our agency maintains a formal meeting, conference, and event policy which may be found here. The most applicable part of this policy for TTS is the approval requirement for internal meetings that require the travel of more than six employees or will cost more than $10,000. For these meetings, approval of both the Commissioner of the Technology Transformation Service and the Deputy Administrator of GSA via the Salesforce Event Tracker system. For further information and help getting your request submitted, please go to the #training-conferences Slack channel.
Remember that you can book time on your own calendar. We recommend blocking off your own “free” time in two-to-four hour chunks to complete tasks.
Also, meetings can and should be designed. If you’re planning a meeting, be sure to state your goal – what the meeting is and what it isn’t – in an agenda. The #wg-workshops Slack channel is a good place to ask for help about meeting design. You can also use the “Discover” and “Decide” methods from 18F’s Design Methods as a starting point.
TTS brings everyone together for monthly Townhalls. You’ll hear well in advance about any upcoming townhalls, which should give you ample time to plan (and rearrange your schedule, if necessary). Conversations during Townhall meetings take place in the Slack channel #townhall.
Individual offices have rituals that you might want to take part in. Check in your local office Slack channel for more information!
Working groups shape the culture, frameworks, and work style across TTS. They often meet weekly. If you’re interested in a working group’s focus, you should join the group and attend meetings. And you don’t have to become a permanent member of a working group to attend the occasional meeting. For example, newcomers occasionally join the onboarding working group’s meetings (even if they don’t want to take part in the working group itself) to voice their concerns about the onboarding process.
OPP All Hands are a monthly, 1.5 hour opportunity for OPPers to hear updates from leadership, share kudos, welcome new teammates, learn about new initiatives within the team and across the division, and hear news and updates from existing programs. They typically take place on the third Tuesday of the month at 1 pm EST.
Standups are generally daily meetings that teams use to track work and stay in touch. Work with your project team to decide what format and cadence of standup will be most productive for your team.
Another project-specific meeting is the retrospective (called a retro, for short). This usually happens at the end of a two-week-long design or development sprint.
The idea behind the retro is pretty simple: This meeting provide an opportunity for the team to reflect on how it’s working. Like standups, retros are another project-governance meeting.
They generally take between 30 and 45 minutes, and involve a few chunks of time: between five and eight minutes to write down what worked, between five and eight minutes to write down what needs addressing, and between five and eight minutes to write down what didn’t work. Lastly, people can vote on issues and then discuss the most-voted-for ones as a team. The product of the meeting is “action items” that help the team function better next time.
The last project-specific meeting is sprint planning. Sprint planning takes many forms, but the goal is to come together to decide what to do (and how to estimate the work being done) during an upcoming sprint.
Here are some of the tools TTS uses to facilitate meetings.