The Difference Between Meetings and Group Work Sessions

Posted on Posted in General, Meetings

When three programmers huddle around a computer to come up with the best lines of code to solve a particular problem, that’s not a meeting. It’s a group work session.

It’s an important distinction. The Modern Meeting Standard ruthlessly scrutinizes meetings, but it’s far more lenient of group work sessions.

That’s because together, multiple people focusing on creation (the key word being ‘creation’) can often get something accomplished faster and more powerfully than one individual can alone.

The group work session can be an effective tool but confusing it with a meeting can mean disaster.

Here are some defining characteristics:

  • It’s usually performed intra-team and ad-hoc
  • Rarely contains more than 3 people
  • Revolves around a specific finite work activity: designing, programming, writing, etc.
  • Less formal and structured than meetings
  • Often centered around a tool: a whiteboard, a laptop, legos, etc.
  • More often held standing up, than sitting down.
  • The output of a group work session is not an action plan, it’s work product.

Note: It’s easy to rationalize your meeting as a group work session. Don’t.