In this blog post I introduce the 7Ps framework from the book Gamestorming, which is fundamental for me in regards of planning successful meetings.
James Macanufo’s 7Ps framework is a tool for planning and preparing meetings. I use it as a checklist each time I am inviting someone to a meeting. So here are the 7Ps that you should pay attention before sending out your next meeting invitation:
Why are we having this meeting? – Giving people a purpose to meet is most fundamental. Explain your participants why you are having this meeting and if you can’t come up with a purpose don’t have the meeting.
What specific artifact will we produce out of this meeting? – Think of what you want to produce as an output of the meeting and communicate it to your participants. Depending on the desired outcome people will set their expectations.
Who needs to be there and what role will they play? – Depending on the purpose and the desired outcome select the right people for your invitation. One strategy is to think of the questions that need to be answered first and than select the right people who might have answers to it.
What agenda will these people use to create the product? – You can either define the agenda on your own or co-design the agenda with the participants in order to get more perspectives on the process.
What are the risks in this meeting and how will we address them? – Risks can be laptops or smartphones that distract participants, lousy facilities (e.g. beamers, sound equipment, flip charts,…), a large number of participants, or personal issues between participants. Create rules (e.g. “no laptops/smartphones”) and check all possible pitfalls upfront to minimize bad surprises.
What would be useful to do in advance? – Tell your participants what they must prepare for the meeting (e.g. if you expect them to have ideas or concepts prepared tell them your concrete expectations) and prepare yourself carefully (e.g. hand-outs, slides, room, speech,…).
These are the logistics of the meeting – Where and when is the meeting? Does the room have sufficient equipment (e.g. video calling equipment for a remote session)? When is the best time for the meeting? (e.g. after lunch people are often less energized, time zone constraints,…) Who is bringing lunch?
James Macanufo provides the following strategies on applying the framework:
- Each of the 7Ps can influence or change one of the others, and developing a good plan will take this into account
- Get others involved in the design of the meeting
- Revisit the question “Why are we having this meeting?” for recurring meetings regularly
- Make the 7Ps visible during the meeting
- Have a plan and expect it to change
How do you plan your meetings?