Getting Started with Personal Office Hours

We ( @bekka @Carl @Erika @dirk @vanessa ) discussed the idea of personal office hours to replace one-on-one meetings. Here is a summary of notes from that call and a suggested schedule for office hours. I suspect we might need some back and forth and horse-trading to get the time slots right.

Please read, share reactions and thoughts here - so we can review the discussion on the hipchat on Monday.

Goals:

  • Move accountability from one-to-one to the team
  • Make some meetings optional
  • Make more meetings multilateral not bilateral

Challenges:

  • Scheduling
  • Only works if we know what’s on and who’s responsible, so we know who to ask!
  • Good argument for maintaining Trello, or something similar for overall project tracking and responsibility list
  • Need everyone to buy in to holding each other accountable - ie two way street - I’m willing to be held accountable but others have to be willing to call me on stuff. Conclusion: come to office hours willing to update & answer to peers

Scheduling:

  • Attempt to cluster, so people have “blocks” of (potential) meetings, rather than sprinkled through the week
  • Attempt to split up tech (EP, DU) so they don’t speak twice on the same day
  • Important to avoid meeting exhaustion
  • EP has 6 hour time diff -> DU and EP are scheduled early-ish, because they are likely to need to speak to each other
  • CR and VMG expressed preference for early calls
  • We could add more slots on Mon and Thu to avoid Tue
  • Keep in mind: Nobody should be in every meeting.

Proposal:

Mon:

  • Mon 9-10: VMG
  • Mon 10-11: Office Hours - All (and PS)
  • Mon 11-12: BK (Current time is 12-1, so I hope this works)

Tue

  • Tue 9-10: EP
  • Tue 10-11: CR

Thu

  • Thu 9-10: DU (sorry Carl, but thinking of EP time diff here)
  • Thu 10-11: Project Call (combination of tech call and community call project updates, open to all)
  • Thu 11-12: Community Call (as needed / invited guests / meta discussion that needs the full team)

Other things to consider:

  • Etiquette for saying (eg in community call) ‘I talked about that exhaustively in my office hours this week and don’t want to spend 10 min recapping now’. Ie how do we deliver on the goal of not making this duplicative but also not making it de facto mandatory to attend all meetings to ensure you don’ t miss anything?
  • Suggestion: agenda/questions on notice, so can keep an eye on something and decide whose meeting you want to go to?
2 Likes

Hey @1L2P do you get office hours outside P2PU office hours?

I’m not sure. On one hand, I’ll likely be in a lot of the other calls (and I’d like to keep some time without meetings as well). On the other hand, if people want to ping me about something they want to talk about one-on-one, it should be easy for them to do.

Thoughts?

I would say schedule some time and don’t feel like you need to be in all the other calls if they aren’t of interest to you.

I really like this and I think it will work well!

All looks good to me. Tue 10-11 works for mine.

Keen to try this and see how it works…

Two additional thoughts:

  • ''today I’m discussing…" - more I think about it, the more I like
    the idea of a brief heads-up in advance (doesn’t have to be formal) -
    whether email or point me to a hackpad or something, that says ‘hey guys -
    here’s some stuff I know I’ll be talking about/asked about in my office
    hours today…’ I’ll decide which office hours to go to based on whether
    anything interesting/of relevance to me being discussed, which I know
    either by (a) things I know you’re working on and want to ask you about,
    but also (b) things others ask you about that I never knew about/thought
    to ask
  • additional goal - opportunity to check in on colleagues - check
    they’re doing ok or if in need of extra support, extra work, or anything
    else from the team

Timing for me looks fine, but it overlaps into the 2nd hour of the office hour. Not that this is a problem, but just saying…

I agree with @dirk and @vanessa - I also think it would be good if @1L2P has office hours. That way it reframes the conversation, and means you’ll let us know what you’re up to, rather than just being in on the conversation where we report back.

1 Like

I’ve added a slot for myself and entered all the office hours into the P2PU events Google calendar. Should show up for everyone now.

My feedback on office hours so far (while I think of it):

Def needs a video component; even if I sit in an empty hangout while working for that hour to me that is the essence of the ‘open door’ / contactable idea of this.

An agenda or similar in your hackpad so ppl have some way of judging what you’re discussing I find useful - it’s either that or hip chat for knowing what’s going on in the call and hackpad has some advantages in terms of planning in advance and records later.

That said, hipchat seems useful in small doses as a ‘what you discussing now?’ or ‘hey X, you should join us now!’ - way of knowing when to join a call you’re only interested in part of. The equivalent of sticking your head out of the office and shouting down the corridor at colleagues :)…

I like it so far! (then again I’m one of few who’ll probably go to less not more hangouts as a result of this…)