We came across this technique chatting with a customer recently and wanted to share it – the meeting burn down agenda (sometimes also referenced as a “burn up” agenda).
If you’re familiar with agile practices, it probably sounds familiar to the burndown chart. Allow us to digress for a brief moment…
Burn down chart
The burn down chart is used in agile projects to track work progress.
The x axis shows time and the y axis represents work to be done. A project leader builds the burn down chart by estimating the amount of work, resources and time required to complete a bundle of tasks in order to draw a sloped line – shown above in blue. This represents the work schedule. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that do this including Excel, Google Sheets and online burndown generators.
As work begins, a new line can be plotted that represents the actual work completed, shown above with the red line. The slope and position of the red line provide actionable information regarding the project schedule. If the red line is below the blue line, the project is ahead of schedule. If the red line is above, the converse is true. In addition, a more steeply slope red line tells us the velocity of work being done.
Burn Down Agenda
The burn down agenda works in a similar fashion.
Just like the burn down chart, the burn down agenda arranges time and agenda topics on the horizontal and vertical axis respectively. The sticky arrow shows the current time.
As the meeting progresses, the time arrow moves to the right and completed topics are moved into the corresponding time square.
Just like the burn down chart, the slope of completed topics and their relationship to an imaginary line representing an optimum meeting schedule indicates if your meeting is on time.
Interested in a software based approach that accomplishes the same thing? Take a look at Trackmeet.
Using our free agenda planner, you can capture all of your agenda topics and view an overall time allocation. As your meeting progresses, you get a visual sense if your topics are on schedule. Take it for a spin here.
Where can you use this approach?
The burn down agenda works quite well when you need to work through a number of topics, decisions or tasks that can be formulated in advance. Workshops, brainstorming sessions or planning meetings are perfect candidates for the burn down agenda.