It’s my belief that communication is Job One for a project manager. Whether or not your exact title is “project manager”, if you’re responsible for a project or initiative, it’s your job to ensure that information flows successfully between all project members and stakeholders. If you do that right, you’ll find numerous issues, from lack of accountability to missed deadlines, can be eliminated. One major factor of good information flow is the project meeting or project status meetings.
What is a Project Status Meeting?
Generally, project status meetings occur internally within project teams. The difference between a project meeting and a general weekly status report meeting is that project status meetings focus on only one initiative, rather than the team as a whole.
These project meetings serve as a place review progress, to assign new tasks and action items, and resolve issues. Sometimes, other meetings are conducted with different stakeholders outside the organization as well.
The purpose of such meetings is the accurate dissemination of project information and the gathering of individuals to make decisions in the best interest of your projects.
There is no formula for the perfect project meeting…no matter how much we all wish there was. There are, however, some key concepts that help to ensure that you run the best project meetings possible.
These 5 will help you get there.
5 Tips for Better Project Status Meetings
Plan, plan, plan.
Never go into a meeting and just “wing it.”
Your attendees will sense your lack of preparation and may take that to mean that your meetings aren’t very important to you. And if they aren’t important to you, then why should they be important to them?
Plan well for project status meetings, create an agenda ahead of time and distribute it to all the planned attendees. Do this at least a day in advance. This gives everyone enough time to prepare their contributions, if necessary.
In the book Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg, he recounts a study that was done by Google’s research team in which they examined what team characteristics make up the “best teams”. They found that one key ingredient is that everyone must participate.
Construct your meeting agenda so that you seek input from others in the room. Take this one step further by keeping a list of names and making sure each person speaks at least once. In addition to creating an effective team environment, expected participation will keep attendance high and accountability high.
Stick to the time frame – and no food.
Always adhere to the specified time frame for your meetings. If you need to run over, stop the meeting at that point and call for another one. This will force you to think critically about whether or not that extra time is necessary. What’s more, it will encourage you to stick to the agenda in the future.. Finally, don’t supply food. It is disruptive and it makes people sleepy, two factors that lead to meetings running longer than they should. Unless you’re planning a full day meeting, no food allowed.
Follow up after the meeting
This may be the most important part and the least followed-through upon. Once each meeting is over, for most, it’s over.
However, this should be where the rubber meets the road to make sure everyone has the same post-meeting understanding. As the one leading the project or initiative, it’s your job to make sure that’s happening. Send out project meeting notes as soon as possible; ask for a 24-hour turnaround on any changes or additions from your key stakeholders. When the 24 hours are up, revise any relevant information and resend the notes to the attendees and key stakeholders.
This is the best way to ensure that everyone remains on the same page throughout the project.
There is no perfect formula. But by adhering to these five practices, your project status meetings should be meaningful and effective.
Be the type of project manager who regularly conducts these types of meetings and your attendance and participation will be high. What’s more, it will ensure that all key project personnel are on the same page throughout the engagement and ultimately, that the project succeeds
Author: The above is a post from Brad Egeland. Brad is a business solution designer and an information technology/project management consultant and author with over 25 years of experience. Brad is married, a father of 11, and lives in sunny Las Vegas, NV.
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