Joris Janssen (30-06-2020)

For some, meetings are an inevitable evil. For others, they are the lifeline that gives them the motivation to show up every day. However you feel about them, meetings are probably the biggest reason work isn’t getting done in an organization. I love talking to people and brainstorming new ideas. But I also hate meetings, as I often realise afterward that they weren’t really valuable.

It is surprising that in most companies, employees do not need to need approval to organize a meeting. 8 people at 50 euro / hour, for 1.5 hours, for a brainstorm or refinement, adds up to 600 euro. Let alone the opportunity costs of what those people could have done in those 1.5 hours. No approval required, no questions asked. So how do we know if that is worth it? If we aren’t careful, meetings tend to grow out of hand quickly, they make people feel important and keep focus away from hard problems to solve.

The Corona crisis showed us that without a lot of the standard meetings, we were still able to succeed. In fact, we were more successful than we ever were, and everyone was a lot happier. We went blazingly fast, we made just in time decisions, and we reduced a lot of overhead. I believe we invented something I have come to think of as the Minimum Viable Group. We should be breaking our brains on how to consolidate that thinking before its gone.


In product development there is a thing called the Minimum Viable Product. It is the smallest increment that we can ship that brings value to the customer. We don’t want to build too much and let the customer wait for it. We want to identify what the smallest bit of value is that we can ship. This way we can get it in the hands of users faster and learn from their feedback.

<aside> 🔥 For meetings, we should aim for the Minimum Viable Group. The minimum viable group is the smallest possible group of people that can resolve a tension in the least amount of time. It doesn’t have to be a perfect solution. It doesn’t have to be a complete solution. It is just a small step towards more clarity and purpose.


In most cases the MVG is just one person; you. But sometimes you might need a sparring partner for some creative solution, or you need information from other roles to let you decide how to best continue. Hence, meetings aren’t always avoidable. But meetings are never your first approach, but rather your last resort to solving a tension.

" Is this the minimum viable group to solve my tension? "

Everyone gets trapped in discussing irrelevant issues sometimes. It can be issues that are not your accountability. Or issues that are not actionable right now. Or issues that aren't even there yet, but that might happen in the future. Holacracy helps us to understand how to deal with this. We only fix our own tensions, for our roles, and do not solve anything else. We trust others to do the same. Do not be a hero, nor a victim, but just focus on your roles and your tensions.

Whenever you feel the urge to organize a meeting: don't

Beyond the MVG

So could we go without meetings altogether? Several companies have started to implement the idea of fully asynchronous communication. They hold very little to no meetings. They share information through written form, making it asynchronous and allowing people to work independent of time and place from each other. Many companies that try this claim an enormous boost in productivity.

So can we go without meetings altogether? I don’t believe we can, but I do think it must be our aspiration. Reducing the number of meetings will give a huge boost to productivity, energy, and freedom. With effort we can get closer and closer to that aspiration. Making more of our limited time. Focussing on what is most valuable for Luscii. And reducing waste wherever possible.

<aside> 😱 It is our highest aspiration to be a company without meetings.