The Basics of Organizing For Data Science: Why Agendas

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This is the first in a series on The Basics of Organizing For Data Science.

In this series:

Why Agendas

  • Because you want to know what the meeting will be about;
  • Because you want to prepare for the meeting;
  • Because you want to inform others about what to prepare for.

Where Agendas

  • In the calendar invite directly.

When Agendas

  • When you send the calendar invite;
  • Update in the calendar invite as amendments are made.

What Agendas

Default Berry format:

Outcome: What can be done to <arrive at a decision about something>

  1. Hi!
  2. What are the facts about XXXX?
  3. What are the feelings?
  4. What could we do about it?
  5. What are we deciding to do?
  6. Next Steps?
  7. Bye!

Inquiry variant:

Outcome: Situational awareness

  1. Hi!
  2. So what’s going on with XXXX
  3. Why?
  4. Why?
  5. Why?
  6. Why?
  7. Why?
  8. Why?
  9. Next Steps?
  10. Bye!

Roundtable variant:

Outcome: Increase situational awareness

  1. Hi!
  2. Amy updates on XXXX
  3. John updates
  4. Luc updates
  5. Kate feedback
  6. Popcorn – what do we think about XXXX
  7. Decisions?
  8. Defer decisions?
  9. Next steps?
  10. Bye!

Who Agendas

  • The chair/facilitator/organizer should be setting the agenda;
  • Those that are directly involved in making a decision should be invited;
  • Those that are optional, may contribute or FYI’d about the meeting should be marked as optional.

How Agendas

  • Run through the Should I Have a Meeting Checklist (Below)

  • Include the expected outcome;
  • If the expected outcome is from a focus question, it should begin with the word ‘what’;
  • List the sequence of how the meeting would unfold, in linear order;
  • Invite others to add or subtract from the agenda in advance of the meeting;
  • Uncertainty increases as the number of items on the agenda increases,


  • Sometimes you need to get together and talk;
  • Organize the time effectively;
  • Organize the sequence effectively;
  • Organize the participants effectively;
  • Achieve the meeting objective,