How to make the most out of “Core Hours”

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“Wow! My calendar is packed with meetings, with many of them overlapping. I don’t have time to do anything else.”

Does this sound familiar? It’s a part of the historical Capital One culture that reduces our personal job satisfaction, cuts down on productivity, and extends timelines, and makes pulling folks together for a meeting a virtual nightmare.

Are you working on an Agile team? Try this. Coach your team to ask people to attend your team’s core hours for discussions instead of scheduling one-off meetings. You have a set time and location. More importantly, the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the rest of the key participants al already committed to be at that meeting by being in the room for core hours.

My teams over the years have tried this and it works. The hardest part is getting past the initial reaction of “Really? I can invite folks to our core hours?” and into the mode of “What can I do to make sure that everyone is a participant and gets/gives value out of core hours?”  It takes stress off of each team member, keeps the calendars clean and manageable, improves the value of discussions and helps to automatically build out the product backlog.