Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Meetings: Enter Lean Coffee

After seeing the team less engaged than I would like them to be in my staff meetings, I wanted to fix the problem. I didn’t become a leader to just create an environment where I didn’t want to work. I became a leader to create an awesome place to work, where contributor me would go all out!

I attended online meetings in the Lean Coffee format. I used this originally to network and meet other leaders.

A lean coffee meeting

  1. Meeting organizer creates a method where meeting participants can contribute ideas on a card and they can vote.
  2. Meeting participants write up items they want to discuss with others on a card.
  3. Everyone votes on cards.
  4. Meeting participants discusses cards with highest votes for a fixed duration. Typical duration: five or seven minutes.
  5. At the end of the time limit, participants vote whether to continue discussion or move onto next card.
  6. When discussion stops or participants vote to move on, discuss the next highest voted card.

I loved this format and each meeting was exciting for me. The total opposite of an agenda-driven meeting.

When I dug into the lean coffee format more, documentation stated there are companies that would have all meetings as a lean coffee.


Here, I thought lean coffee was for just socializing. The meeting format is applicable to… WORK?!

I get buy-in from the company’s Engineering Lunch & Learn on lean coffee before introducing the format to everyone.