This week we’re looking at Team Cadence Meetings - a kind of team meeting - and how you can use a simple template to quickly improve these meetings. But before we begin, what is a Team Cadence Meeting anyway?
What is a Team Cadence Meeting?
A popular definition for Team Cadence Meetings is any meeting that keeps your team aligned to a particular predetermined goal. These are often repetitive meetings, such as weekly meetings, a daily huddle or standup, or just a regularly scheduled meeting for a given team.
The goal of this kind of team meeting isn’t necessarily to generate new ideas and innovations, but rather to ensure that a team is on track to its goals. Updates and solutions can be shared, but an in-depth discussion is generally left for meetings of a more specialized group so that not everyone on the team is spending their time in a meeting that doesn’t require them.
Though you should always try and keep the length of any given meeting down to a minimum to save everyone on the team time, Team Cadence Meetings will often run about an hour, but shouldn’t exceed 90 minutes. If you find yourself going overtime often, try considering where most of your time is going. Remember, this kind of meeting isn’t about ideation and detailed problem solving, but instead about keeping everyone aligned.
How is a Team Cadence Meeting Run?
Team Cadence Meetings should always be administered by someone who is ‘in charge’ of the meeting and can keep things moving as needed. This can be the team lead or a team member assigned to the role, so long as there is someone moving the meeting along and keeping an eye on the clock and the agenda.
Put succinctly, a team cadence meeting is about keeping a team on track and progress visible, not about making large shifts in goals.
Additional resources about Team Cadence Meetings can be found here: Link
A Simple Template for Team Meetings
You should always adapt any meeting templates to your particular needs, but below we have some free templates for you to get started with. Every team is different, which is what makes running great meetings a challenge, but meeting best practices often stay the same for different meeting types.
We’ll go over every section in the templates attached in this article and feel free to follow along with any of the template versions we list below.
Microsoft Work Meeting Template:
Microsoft Excel Meeting Template:
Google Docs Meeting Template: Direct Link
At the top of the template, you should list a few important pieces of information about the current meeting so that anyone can get a good sense of what the meeting is for at a glance. In particular, you might want to add the team in the meeting title instead of keeping things generic.
A meeting’s purpose can stay consistent across several meetings, but bits of it can be updated to be relevant to a particular week. For example, in this template’s purpose, we have:
Catching up on progress in the past week, discussing setbacks, updating timelines and expectations. By the end of the meeting, everyone should know how the team is progressing to its goals.
However, depending on the current week’s goals, you might update this to something like:
Discussing updates on the new sales pipeline, updating timelines and expectations for delivery. By the end of the meeting, everyone should have a good idea of what the final sales experience should look like.
The actual meeting itself should have a few key phases which we list in the agenda. You can add notes about each agenda item and modify how much time you think each will take as needed, but we’ve provided a rough baseline for you to work with.
These 5 minutes are built in for everyone to arrive and to get everyone on track. Let everyone know what the goals of this meeting are and get going right away.
Before switching to the body of the meeting, take an intermediary step of noting any announcements relevant to the team. For example, you could mention if there are any changes to the schedule in the next couple of weeks. This should also only take 5 minutes at most.
This is where most of the meeting time should be spent. During the team updates section, go around to every member of the team with an update and have them share their progress, setbacks, and updates. Remember, don’t get too caught up in each individual set of updates. If comments are needed on something specific, a few brief notes are okay, but a separate meeting should be scheduled if an in-depth review is needed.
How long this part of your meeting depends on how many people are providing updates, so feel free to alter the length as needed.
Action Items and Priorities
Arguably the most important part of the meeting is where you’ll define the action items that need to be completed for next week. Make sure that you always leave at least 10 minutes for this section and ensure that everyone is aligned.
Writing out the action items and who is responsible is crucial to ensure forward momentum.
In the final five minutes of the meeting, you can wrap up and see if anyone has any lingering questions, end early, or use this time as overflow from the action items and priorities section.
After the Meeting
The final thing that you want to do once the meeting ends is store your notes somewhere safe and send them out or share them with your teammates, so that everyone can easily look back on what happened during this meeting in the future if needed, instead of needing to ask other about outcomes. We have an entirely separate blog post that goes into detail about this here: Link.
You can use these minutes to clue in people who couldn’t make it to the meeting or new team members who might want to get quickly caught up on what the team has been progressing on recently.
Depending on how you write your notes, you may need to share them over email, or by using a cloud-based meeting platform like Knowtworthy you can freely share links to your minutes directly instead of needing to keep people up-to-date manually.