What is it?
- Lean Coffee started in Seattle in 2009 by Jim Benson and Jeremy Lightsmith
- A structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking.
- Intentionally minimalist - to be the least structure necessary for a coherent and productive meeting
Why use it?
- Surfaces topics that the participants want to discuss
- Helps create more value out the of conversation since it’s participant-run
- For meetings with a specific focus, add scope to the discussion topics
- Writing utensils for all participants (markers are easier to read from a distance)
- Sticky notes (any medium size: 3x3, 4x6, etc)
- Time keeping device
- Wall surface or table
How to use it
- Set up a Personal Kanban with three columns: To Discuss, Discussing, Discussed
- What to discuss
- Ask each person to write down topics they would like to talk about on separate sticky notes. Time-box to a few minutes, ideally 3-5.
- Lay out the topics and group duplicates or similar discussion points
- Vote & talk
- Use Dot Voting to prioritize the topics
- Start the timer and move the highest priority topic to the “Discussing” column. Have a volunteer start the conversation.
- At the end of a set time-box, ask the group if they want to keep talking about that topic or move on to the next by asking for a visual indicator, where:
- Thumbs up = “keep talking about this topic”
- Thumbs sideways = “no strong opinion either way”
- Thumbs down = “end discussion and switch to next topic”
- Keep updating the Kanban board. Continue this until you are out of time or out of topics.
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