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How does Lean Coffee work?

Lean Coffee at a glance

How much time have you wasted in meetings? Wouldn’t it be great to eliminate some of the waste (and get your time back)?

Lean Coffee is a structured, but agenda-less meeting. Participants gather, build an agenda, and begin talking. Conversations are directed and productive because the agenda for the meeting was democratically generated.

How it works

Dot Vote


  • Agree on a time, place, and goal to discuss
  • Set a timebox for the event
  • Find a wall, board, or virtual canvas


  • Take a few minutes to collect items of discussion – one item per card.
  • Put each card on your canvas
  • Group like topics​

Dot Vote

  • Assign each participant a total number of votes
  • Allow all participants to simultaneously place a dot on a card.  Each dot indicates a vote, or interest, in the topic.  
  • Multiple dots on one card is OK, but each participant is only allowed to use the assigned total number of votes on all cards


  • Line up all the cards, most votes first, then next most votes, and so on
  • Pick the most popular card to discuss.
  • Pick a timebox for this topic
  • Discuss this topic within the timebox
  • When the timebox expires, pick the next topic.
    • Optional: you can decide as a group to keep the discussion going for this topic within another timebox
  • Keep discussing topics until the event timebox expires