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Working Group Meeting

How Etsy uses working group meetings to check on progress and plan for the future
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Attendees‍

A working group is a defined set of people, usually coming from multiple teams or disciplines to fix a common business challenge.

Define the problem

Review the goal at the beginning of every meeting to remind group members of what they’re trying to achieve. Since the problems you’re tackling can be broad and fuzzy, having an explicit goal can also help you decide what is and isn’t the responsibility of the group.

Review past decisions

  • Have you fixed the problem you set out to solve?
  • Has the problem been solved another way?
  • Has the company changed? Have its needs changed?
  • Is the group still the most effective way to solve this problem?

Here are some questions to fill in to see how your solutions fit into your wider goal (check out how Etsy used this method to define "design excellence" for their team) 

  • What motivates this work?
  • What are the goals of this solution?
  • What characteristics should the solution exhibit?
  • Who should benefit from this solution?
  • What informs this solution?
  • When and where should this solution be used?

Set milestones

“In order to be effective, the group has to ship; in order to ship, milestones should be established from the beginning.” Without delivery dates in place, it is impossible to create an action plan that accurately reflects the speed in which you must be working to achieve your goals. 

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Working Group Meeting

Working groups should have regularly scheduled meetings or collaborative work sessions to check in on progress, answer questions, and plan for future work. Meeting regularly helps to remind group members of this work and give everyone face time with one another. If there is any urgency to the work or a lot of smaller pieces to keep track of, it might even be helpful to add a weekly standup for status check-ins.

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About the author

Jessica Harllee

Jessica Harllee

Jessica Harllee is a Principal Product Designer at Primary in Brooklyn. She has previously held positions at Etsy, Kickstarter, and Modea. She’s focused her career on building software that enables independent creators and helping people buy things that are special.

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