Re: How Much Time in Meetings? LO3725

Andrew Moreno (
Wed, 15 Nov 1995 04:36:33 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO3712 --

On Mon, 13 Nov 1995, Dick Karpinski wrote:

> He only makes three major points in his book, but the central one
> is that in any project, we have multiple, critical goals. Only when
> you recognize them and treat them explicitly do you stand any real
> chance of accomplishing what you intend.
> Tom Gilb shows ways to confront the multiplicity and ways to be
> explicit and measurable about the goals. Does anybody else?

Goals can differ in the level of detail they contain. Often, induction
skills are required to find the common purpose of two seemingly unrelated
goals. Asking good clarification questions is essential to finding the
goal at the right level of detail and the goal that is the actual end

How the goal is stated is also important. It's usually a good idea to
state the goal in sensory terms and to include the main values that need
to be maintained when achieving the goal.

> Invention of good goals is quite an art. Kennedy's man-on-the-moon
> goal is often held up as one to be emulated. I am even more pleased
> by the goal set for the Macintosh: The new owner of a Macintosh shall,
> in the first hour, come to feel in charge of the machine (rather than
> dominated by it).

I feel there's a difference in perspect in the above goals. The former
is from the perspective of American's as a whole working as a team and
the latter is from the perspective of the user's of the end result of a
team effort.

Differences in perspective can highlight differences inv alues. What's
important to the team is often different from what's important to the user
of an end product.

> A second point of Gilb is that highly structured meetings, such as
> work-product inspections, with formal role structures and written
> guidelines appropriate to the content being inspected, can be both
> highly and measurably effective.

I think asking excellent questions is essential to effective meetings.
Unfortunately, people don't usually know which questions to ask. Software
engineers are known for their ability to ask very good questions. Office
politics often reduces the motivation to ask questions that clarify parts
of the goals that would rather be left vague and fuzzy.

Another thing I'd like to say is that I think goal oriented behaviour for
organizations and individuals is great. I think a sense of balance is
needed to temper that. It requires a great deal of wisdom to know which
goals that we as organizations and individuals can leave to fall by the