Because Aptible is a fully distributed company, we take care to ensure that we're creating leverage with our synchronous communication (i.e. meetings). As Andy Grove, the third CEO of Intel, described in High Output Management: Meetings are a medium for work; however, our time is valuable and it’s important that we are using our time together most effectively.
Throughout the week we have many meetings, both recurring and ad hoc, that we use to communicate strategy, ensure focus on our OKRs, and empower other team members to make progress.
There are several types of required recurring meetings at Aptible.
The Win Column
The Win Column is Aptible’s All-Hands, held every other Tuesday. We use the Win Column as an opportunity to discuss Company OKRs and strategy as a team, share specific wins towards achieving those OKRs, and welcome new members of the Aptible Team. We end each Win Column with a Q&A, during which we discuss questions that were surfaced by team members via a survey that is distributed in advance, and live on the call.
Functional Team / Cross-Functional Project Syncs
We use team syncs as a way for managers to ensure that team members understand what's going on within their teams and in the broader company. These are to be used for providing updates, cross-team collaboration, and decision-making.
We use 1:1s as an opportunity for managers and direct reports to sync on important issues related to work. Though it’s easy to focus on the minutiae of everyday work, the goal of 1:1s is to create protected space for managers and direct reports to share feedback and concerns, focus on personal development, brainstorm, and set new goals. 1:1s should happen no less than once every two weeks, and should be for approximately 30 Minutes each week (or 60 Minutes every other week). The direct report should own the agenda.
As the Aptible team scales, it’s important that we consistently re-evaluate the processes and best practices we use to achieve our goals. Retrospectives help our cross-functional teams identify what’s working well, what needs improvement, and where we can iterate towards better processes. Much like Postmortems — and in the interest of being hard on problems, not people — Retrospectives are blameless. They give our teams space to continuously experiment, learn, and reflect on how we’re progressing.
Ad Hoc Meetings
Failure of complex systems is inevitable. At Aptible, we use these failures as opportunities to learn from our mistakes, share knowledge, and evaluate opportunities for improvement. This process is formalized in our Postmortem Playbook. Postmortems at Aptible are blameless. They’re a tool for growth and learning where we can focus on understanding what happened, why it happened, and how we can prevent or minimize similar failures in the future.