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#361 – Optimizing Sync with Async

Friday Ship #361 | August 18th, 2023

Two hands fist bumping

This week, my calendar was a bit busier with meetings than usual, but surprisingly, it didn’t drain my energy, it gave me a boost.

When I first joined Parabol, I noticed the irony: a company dedicated to improving meetings had very few of them. We also advocate for fewer meetings, which puzzled me as a marketer since we also encourage our users to reduce their meetings.

I’ve read many debates about Async versus Sync, and honestly, I’m into both. Finding a balance between the two is my sweet spot. During my time at Parabol, I’ve discovered that an async-first communication culture is key to making sync interactions better.

Here’s my take on how async enhances the quality of our sync time:

  • Less frequent meetings lead to a sharper focus on goals. When we do have meetings, objectives are clear.
  • Knowing that sync spaces are less frequent makes us more present. Having fewer real-time engagements makes us more engaged during those moments.
  • With fewer meetings, there’s more time to prepare. Async comms ensures everyone enters discussions with insights and ideas, making conversations more valuable.
  • Meetings don’t become a burden when they aren’t constantly scheduled, and having dedicated deep work periods prevents the constant feeling of being pulled in multiple directions.
  • Sync meetings become opportunities for discussions, not just updates. Async comms handles the updates, freeing us to dive into meaningful conversations.

We also blend these approaches. Introducing async phases in meetings, and using sync time for discussions. This is often the case for Retros at Parabol – we add reflections async and save sync time for discussion. This not only saves time during the meeting but also improves the quality of our outcomes.

In my opinion, async communication isn’t the ultimate solution, and meetings aren’t the enemy. A mix of both can work pretty well. Async communication empowers individual productivity and flexibility, and sync time enhances collaboration within the team.

📚 Further Reading:


We saw a small increase in new monthly users, total users, and weekly meetings.

This week we…

… had our Senior Growth Designer, Alicia Cressall, quoted in Amplitude’s PLG e-book.

… had our Head of Operations, Kendra Dixon, featured in People-First Jobs’ latest blog on unlimited PTO.

…started editing long form videos for product demos and additional learning resources on YouTube.

Next week we’ll

…open a Polly for a follow up questions from the team related to a new culture survey

Lorena Martínez

Lorena Martínez

Lorena is a product and lifecycle marketer at Parabol with a passion for data analysis and A/B testing. Besides working in marketing, she has spent her career advocating for gender and LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace. Lorena is from Colombia but lives around the world.

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