Truss Meeting and Communication Norms

Below is a list of behaviors, tactics, and standards that support an inclusive, psychologically safe, and equitable environment. It’s important that all Trussels adhere to these behaviors both because they align with our company values, and because these behaviors help build high-trust, self-managing teams, which are critical to successful delivery of work. (Inclusive and equitable practices are also part of the expectations in our leveling rubric.)

If you feel any of these standards aren’t being met on your client project team, within your practice, or anywhere in Truss, consider using this list as a common reference point and a conversation starter.


  • Make sure the meeting has a clear agenda and purpose. We recommend this “4Ps” framework from Leader Lab:
    • Purpose: Why is the meeting happening
      • Example: The purpose of this meeting is to update the team; the purpose of this meeting is to explore options; the purpose of this meeting is to make a decision
    • Product: What will the group have at the end of the meeting that didn’t exist at the start
      • Example: We will leave here with five ideas; we will leave here with a decision; we will leave here with a list of next steps
    • Personal benefit: The reason meeting participants will feel motivated to contribute. This also helps you ensure you have the right people in the meeting
      • Example: This will help us save time; this will help us feel aligned; this will help us make an impact on _____
    • Process: How we will structure the meeting. Share this process before the meeting starts (you can include it in the meeting invite) so everyone can arrive prepared.
      • Example: We’ll spend the first half of the meeting on X agenda item and the second half on Y agenda item
  • Usually, meetings fall into one of three categories. Identify which one your meeting is, and add that to the agenda of the meeting:
    • Inform: share information, news, thoughts and/or feelings; answer questions
    • Explore: ask questions; generate ideas; spark insights
    • Narrow: debate; prioritize; vote; decide; determine a plan of action
  • Ensure everyone in the meeting has been introduced to each other.
    • For larger meetings where time won’t allow all participants to speak, it can be helpful to acknowledge that there won’t be time for full intros and instead ask key stakeholders to introduce themselves
    • If there is someone new in a meeting, it can be helpful to ask that individual to introduce themselves and give them 1-2 sentence context about the meeting
  • Develop awareness of who is speaking in meetings, including how much time you spend speaking. If you haven’t heard from a practice or a person in a bit, try to draw them out and ask for their input; don’t only ask the leads or the people who speak up the most.
    • As you get to know your team, try to pay attention to people’s communication styles. Some team members may be more introverted and less comfortable raising their hand and speaking in front of a group. If this is the case, try different techniques to ensure team members who have differing communication styles have the opportunity to contribute to the discourse, such as by soliciting asynchronous feedback, writing ideas on a Miro or Retrium board, etc.
    • For meetings where it’s important to get a wide range of input, send out a prompt a day or more in advance so people have time to think about it. Consider gathering feedback both async and in meetings, written and verbally, to accommodate different modes of brainstorming and communicating.
  • At least once a week, start a meeting with a quick “being humans” check in. Feel free to use the same prompt every time you have a certain meeting to reduce cognitive load. Examples:
    • What’s a recent win? (Can be personal or professional)
    • Traffic light check in: are you feeling red/yellow/green?
    • What’s one word to describe how you’re currently feeling?



  • Have a regular meeting that is specifically for decisions to be made. Past Trussels have used a weekly cadence for this meeting. Details here.
  • Think about the people who should be involved in a decision and make sure to loop them in at the right time
  • Practice active cross-practice collaboration and sharing of information. Track how decisions are made, make space for discussing major decisions to ensure everyone has a chance to understand and align.



  • If a team member raises concern, confusion, or a request for help from another team member, take it seriously and work with them to try to understand what they’re looking for.



  • Glue work is work that helps projects be successful, even though it is not owned by any specific individual. Examples of glue work include: noticing when a teammate is blocked and helping them; writing and reviewing documents; celebrating wins.
  • Ensure that administrative tasks like notetaking, documentation, and scheduling meetings are distributed across all team members
  • If this is overwhelming to your team, ask your practice lead if it’s possible to get an EA to help support your project in these tasks

Truss values: PAY ATTENTION


  • Respond to Slack messages within 24 hours.
    • If you don’t have time to give someone a clear answer or response to their Slack, say that you’ve seen the person’s request and that you can either respond by X time or suggest another way they can get resolution
    • See the Communication Expectations doc for more details

Truss values: SHOW UP, STEP UP


  • Take meeting minutes or record all meetings and post in Slack within X hours with a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) summary and AIs. The goal is not to check off the box that information has been shared out — it is to ensure the team understands what is happening and why.
    • Norm with your team what amount of time is reasonable for sharing out notes
    • Consider ending meetings 5 minutes early to leave time to summarize notes and AIs
    • Notes do not need to be verbatim. Simply capturing key content and AIs can be sufficient.
  • Some teams have found success in a meeting #meeting-notes channel. Ask the whole team to post meeting notes with a 1-2 sentence TL;DR and AIs posted in Slack
  • Alternatively, have a slack channel to highlight key decisions and context on a regular basis
  • Consider a Weekly Ship as a way to share information to both internal team and client

Truss values: SHOW UP, STEP UP


  • Be transparent.
    • Limit backchanneling to conversations that are truly sensitive or that have privacy implications. For example: aim to praise in public but give constructive feedback in private. Aim to work out interpersonal issues in private.
    • Beyond this, default to having conversations in public channels. Share the status of what you are working on, ask questions, and raise risks of meeting the planned date in public channels so the team can collaboratively reprioritize, if needed.
  • Practice radical candor.
    • Team members are explicit about what we expect and need from each other. If we are not clear on this, we stop and ask for clarification.
  • Assume intentions are good.
    • If you have a story in your head about someone’s intentions or goals, seek clarity by asking directly.
  • Be self-aware.
    • Pay attention to your own communications - be willing and able to accept the feedback and apologize when you mess up. It will happen: everyone messes up.
  • Be respectful.
  • Pursue mastery.
    • If you need to move a meeting forward, then say that this is what you’re doing in a way that does not silently cut someone off.
    • If people have more comments but you’re short on time, you can ask them to post their thoughts on Slack
  • Be accessible.
    • Many disabilities are invisible and/or undisclosed, so it’s best practice to uphold basic accessibility standards at all times. For more details, see Accessibility Standards.


Existing References in Truss Guide