Rotating leadership for recurring team “cadence” meetings is a beneficial pattern I’ve seen on several teams.
“Cadence” meetings help a team or project march to a rhythm. All teams I’ve been on have had them, but not all have called them “cadence”. In agile terms, a daily standup is one form. A form I like is Monday kickoff, Wednesday discussion, Friday retro.
The pattern is simple:
- As a team, define the responsibilities of the lead, eg keeping the meeting focused on the agenda, cancelling the meeting if there’s nothing on the agenda, etc
- Identify the consistent attendees of the meeting and rotate the lead role among them
Such a rotation has a few benefits:
- There’s no single point of failure for keeping the team organized
- All members of the team get leadership experience, and no single person is stuck with this form of glue work
- Sharing roles engenders empathy between roles. For example, experience motivating participation as a lead can encourage participation as a non-lead. As opposed to “taxation without representation” 🙂
A couple anti-patterns I’ve seen:
- Non-overlapping leads and attendees. For example, having the eng oncall rotation also lead a cadence including EMs, PMs, designers, etc who aren’t on the oncall rotation
- Having the rotation include optional attendees, which can result in last-minute adjustments
I’m also curious about rotating team leads, eg as part of the Engineer Manager Pendulum, but I don’t have experience with that yet.
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