Shortening Meetings from Hours to 30 Minutes

• Written by mhjbnz

Chris McClimans is part of a web design co-op based in Austin, Texas that uses Loomio to have shorter meetings and make better decisions. We interviewed him at the Open Source // Open Society Conference.

I met my friend Taylor in college and we’ve always enjoyed working together. We were looking for a way to collaborate, share our talents with each other, and take on projects we couldn’t do by ourselves. So, we started a collective called Vulk, a web design shop.

We have five core members. It's a diverse group that come from different backgrounds. We’re not just technical people, but also creative people interested in designing experiences. We all have different opinions.

Prior to Loomio, we were having Roberts Rule's style meetings. They got so long that I stopped attending.

We were asking, ‘How can we discuss things beforehand and come prepared, so we can make meetings shorter?' We use a co-op bank, and we also wanted to use co-op software. So we got started with Loomio.

The problem we were trying to solve was making decisions quickly. In Robert's Rules, you put up your hand to put a proposal forward. It’s a very formal, aural back and forth. Giving everyone time to have input, even in a small group of five or six, could drag things out for hours.


Recently, we made a decision to choose a new bank. It was a serious decision. Our needs weren’t being met by our old bank and it got so painful that we had to take action. We didn’t decide well together at first, and it had potential for conflict. While we encourage constructive conflict, we try to make sure we resolve it quickly.

We went through a process on Loomio where people were assigned to gather data about the different banks we were interested in. So when we made the decision online, it was pretty easy to go, “Yeah, let’s do this.”

We’re passionate about sharing cooperative values. We happen to be a software co-op, but our core thing is changing the way people do business, to make sure value is shared and people don’t get screwed. We have to make sure things are fair.

We do governance every week, so we can talk about our vulnerabilities and feelings. To us, those are the really important things, so we need to protect our time for that.

We keep the discussion really short at the meeting and have the voting process on Loomio. It’s taken our meetings from hours and hours down to 30 minutes.

Want to have shorter, better meetings? Try Loomio!

Tags: Cooperatives Stories

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