OpenMRS Meeting Convention: How to Host a Great Meeting

Leading Group Meetings

At OpenMRS, we try to implement these 4 steps at every group meeting: Agenda, Awareness, Goals, Actions, and Respect.

Before the Meeting

Agenda: Plan an Agenda that involves others. Agenda development (give examples). Have others lead & speak. Assign agenda items to others, introduce them and let them lead that topic - you likely need to arrange this with others in advance. This helps make the meeting more collaborative and more interesting, and gives others a chance to practice leading meeting topics. 

Awareness: Announce Group Meetings. Community meetings should be announced in our forum, Talk, with this information (and/or via a relevant Slack channel). 

      • Agenda / Goal: the purpose of the meeting, what problems are you solving, etc
      • How to Join: Meeting connection information (e.g. url, phone connection)
      • Who: Anyone is welcome at community meetings, but it helps to specifically tag key members on Talk. 
      • Time: Consider the time zones of community members. Clearly state the time in UTC, and then either:
        • Include multiple time zones, e.g. At 2pm UTC (7:30pm IST | 5pm EAT | 4pm CST | 10am EDT | 7am PDT)
        • or link to 
        • We reference UTC because this time zone stays consistent year-round, while some time zones (e.g. EDT/EST, PDT/PST) change at certain times of year.

If you need help posting the announcement, please contact the Director of Community for help.

At the Start of the Meeting

Goals: State your Goals at the start. Start meetings by sharing a summary of the call goal: “The goal of this meeting is…”. This way everyone understands exactly what we are trying to achieve together with our time. Example: The goal of this weekly Documentation Team meeting is to ...

Before the end of the Meeting

Respect: Clear Notes & Time-Keeping shows respect for everyone. Ideally the note taker is not the person chairing the meeting, so they can focus on what’s being said. Encourage others to take notes or confirm that someone is okay continuing to do so. A Time-Keeper has permission to call out timing to help keep everyone on track, e.g. when we’ve reached the halfway point, when there’s 10 minutes left, when there’s 1 minute left. 

Actions: Clarify action items before the end. Clearly state and record who is going to do what as a result of the conversation. Even better if those To-Do items have a timeline attached. Example: Jack is going to complete the automated test for allergies before our next team call. Jill is going to update the requirements documentation for the feature this week.

Leading 1:1s

If you are mentoring, coaching, or supervising someone, here are some questions that are very helpful to use in one-on-one check-ins.

    • “How are you doing these days?” This shows an interest in them as a unique person. There might be things going on in their life that really impact their ability to contribute right now, or things they’re really excited about that they’d be happy to share with you.
    • “What are you working on right now?” If they mention challenges, be curious - ask questions before you dive in to give advice. Ask them about what possible solutions they have considered. This is a technique called Management Coaching. 
    • “What can I do to support you in the next [week, month, etc]?”  could do to help, so this can help give them ideas as well.