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How to chair a meeting

If you have not followed the recommended procedure for setting up a meeting, please first read Meetings/CreateaMeeting.

Prepare in advance

  • Read the whole of this page in advance, so that you are familiar with how to use the Meetbot.
  • Plan the agenda in advance, and update your meeting's wiki page (which should be linked from here) accordingly.

Turn up early, and start on time

To chair a meeting, show up in the IRC channel a few minutes before the date and time selected. Look for the openstack bot, it will be responding to your meeting commands. If there is a meeting ahead of you, wait until they are finished by checking the channel's topic message: if there is a meeting in place the topic will look something like

Using short lived feature branches (Meeting topic: keystone)

And if there is no meeting in place, the topic will look like:

OpenStack Meetings || https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Meetings

Try to begin and conclude your meetings on time, but be courteous to those ahead and following you, as their meeting is important as well.

Start the meeting

To start the meeting, issue the #startmeeting <meetingname> command, bearing in mind that the logs will be recorded and archived based on the <meetingname> you choose - so be consistent with this meeting name in order to keep all your meeting logs grouped together in one place.

Once the #startmeeting command has been issued, the bot should start the meeting. If the bot doesn't respond to this command, ask for assistance in #openstack-infra.

The meeting bot will also tell you what commands it responds to as soon as you start the meeting.

Take good notes

One of the advantages of holding meetings in IRC is that notes come easy. Whether you're chairing a meeting or just participating, use the meetbot capabilities to help the auto-generation of high-quality meeting minutes:

  • Use the #topic command to set the current topic.
  • The #link command is useful to add clickable URLs to the meeting notes.
  • Use the #agreed command to mark that a consensus was reached on a particular point.
  • To assign work items to someone use the #action command.
    • For example, #action reed to annotate the wiki pages will be rendered on the meeting minutes as a bullet point of things to do.
  • Use the #info command to summarise topics being discussed, for the benefit of the meeting minutes.
    • Sometimes a discussion evolves rapidly during the meeting so people should add a summary of the topic being discussed; for example #info Jane summarized that the issues with the current setup are related to memory consumption. This will make the minutes very informative at first glance and those that want to have more details will be able to read the full logs.
  • Use the voting feature to enable participants to make decisions democratically.

Full documentation of the upstream meetbot is on Debian's wiki, but there is also documentation on OpenStack's fork of meetbot.

End the meeting

End the meeting with the #endmeeting command. The #endmeeting command takes no arguments. The bot will only listen to the chair of that meeting for the #endmeeting command for the 60 minutes following the #startmeeting command, after the 60 minutes have expired it will listen to #endmeeting from anyone.

All our meetings are logged at eavesdrop.openstack.org. Looking over logs and minutes of past meetings should show you the results of the various meeting commands so that your meeting minutes are output in a format that is useful to you and your team.