The French term Jour Fixe can literally be translated as “fixed day” and denotes an appointment that recurs at regular intervals. Such regular appointments are considered to be particularly efficient compared to traditional meetings. Jour fixes are particularly widespread in project management for group-internal coordination. Depending on the project, the participants are often spread across different cities or even countries, so that internal communication is sometimes difficult. The short meeting is therefore used, for example, to discuss the current project status, evaluate successes and failures and determine the next steps. All those involved are brought up to the same level of knowledge. Such meetings also play an important role in everyday office life. In the office, poor communication is one of the most common causes of misunderstandings and problems. A jour fixe, for example, supports the exchange of cross-departmental objectives and can promote communication between employees and superiors. However, a jour fixe can only advance the project and communication if it is organized efficiently. Above all, the aspect of time management plays a decisive role.
A jour fixe is often tied to specific occasions. A typical example is the regular exchange of progress, interim results and the planning of ongoing projects. Current problems that require long-term processing (e.g. restructuring) are also an occasion for a jour fixe. It is important to keep the participants of the meeting up to date. Last but not least, a jour fixe also serves to improve the working atmosphere, strengthen team spirit and clarify / avoid conflicts. Finally, some companies also hold regular meetings in order to give employees the opportunity to turn to managers with questions, suggestions and concerns.
Rules and Tips for Conducting a Jour Fixe
The Jour fixe is also described as regular communication. This makes sense, because on the one hand communication takes place very regularly, and on the other hand there are some very easily understandable rules that contribute to success:
- A Jour fixe does not require an invitation, because the circle of participants is identical. For example, the executive board of an organization meets every morning to discuss the situation or the development team meets daily for the Daily Scrum.
- There is no need to agree on a subsequent appointment with potential participants, because all dates are fixed in advance due to the agreed rotation. All that is needed is an initial appointment and all subsequent appointments are fixed. Common jour fixe cycles are daily, once a week, monthly or once a quarter.
- A jour fixe does not require a separate agenda. While an agenda is very important for a specifically planned and scheduled meeting and provides orientation, this is rarely necessary for a jour fixe. The course of the meeting and the topics discussed are similar or even identical:
- What is the project status?
- Which problems need to be solved?
- What are the economic figures?
- Open issues can of course also be discussed.
- The preparation of minutes with discussed contents, open points and agreements varies in organizations. Some organizations do without them, others attach importance to them.
- Participation in the Jour fixe is mandatory for the defined group of people. If a participant is unable to attend, a deputy should ideally attend. Alternatively, the findings of the meeting should be communicated separately.
- Whether guests are allowed to participate in the Jour fixe or not must be determined within the organization.
- The Jour fixe takes place not only at the same time but also at the same place.
- The jour fixe does not only take place at the same time, but also at the same place. In the course of digitalization, many companies now hold their regular meetings via video conference from their home offices.
In addition to the few rules that promote continuous exchange, organizations should clarify separate issues and rules in advance:
- Are all (and especially new) participants aware of the aim of the exchange?
- Do all participants know what information they need to prepare for the meeting?
- How long does the meeting last and who ensures that the timebox is observed? Once all the information has been exchanged, the meeting can of course end before the agreed duration. If more time is needed, e.g. because creative ideas need to be developed, a separate meeting should be arranged.
- Who moderates the meeting and is there a minute-taker?
- Will the results be made available to the participants in writing afterwards?
- How are discussed tasks followed up?
- Is the use of mobile phones and other aids permitted during the meeting?
Characteristics of a Jour Fixe
The typical characteristics of a Jour fixe are the following:
- Regular Rotation: Weekly, Monthly or Quarterly
- Long-term Termination
- Important Roles: Organizer, Recorder, Participants
- Short and Concise Meeting
- Personal Exchange: On-site or by telephone or video conference
- Small Meeting Group: Often 2 to 4 people
- Minutes: Results of the meeting and objectives (ready for others in team and those involved in the project)
- Set Procedure: Review of minutes, discussion of all open aspects, and decision-making /assignment of tasks for the next and upcoming activities
Roles in a Jour Fixe
As a rule, there are three roles in a jour fixe: the organizer, the record keeper (one who takes down the minutes of the jour fixe) and all other participants.
- The organizer: The organizer is the one who takes care of all organizational tasks related to the jour fixe, i.e. s/he sends the initial invitation to all participants of the appointment, creates the initial agenda, takes care of booking the conference room and thinks about it the expiry of the jour fixe.
- The Record Keeper: The function of the record keeper is to digitally record the most important findings, ideas, strategies and work orders during the meetings and then to send them to all participants. In this way, the course of the project can be traced at a later point in time and all participants who were prevented from doing so can be informed of the current status.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Jour Fixe
The short duration with a high focus on topics ensures great efficiency and high motivation among the participants. The repeating appointment guarantees - unlike a meeting - a maximum attendance rate. Processes are continuously monitored and the delay of internal difficulties is avoided. A jour fixe can have a disadvantage if the appointments are held at an unsuitable time interval (too often or too seldom) and are not filled in a meaningful way. In this case, the supportive effect for the organization as a whole can be reversed.
Common Mistakes in Jour Fixe
At a jour fixe you can do a lot right with the above tips - unfortunately there are also frequent mistakes that creep in again and again despite the simplicity and ensure that the appointment tends to sink into chaos and not contribute to communication. However, some of these are easy to avoid if you know what to look for:
- Do not allow any excuses: “Today it is rather bad for me…” or “I have something else to do…” - excuses have no place at a jour fixe, as it is a previously known and regular appointment, the priority should have. Only really urgent reasons should be used as an excuse for not attending the jour fixe, other excuses should not be allowed exceptionally.
- Don't waste time: The jour fixe is about regularity, but also about efficiency . There is not always talk of the bush, but you should get to the point and discuss the most important information and developments of the project. There is no digressing or talking about unimportant things in order to keep the jour fixe short and not to waste time.
- Do not hold senseless meetings: The purpose of a jour fixe is the regular rotation. At the same time, you should not set an appointment without an emergency. Better to check that each meeting really makes sense. Perhaps nothing has changed or changed in the last week because the customer has been waiting for approval - does the team really have to get together for this? Sometimes it makes sense to adjust the time periods, depending on the progress of the project.