Effective Project Management Meetings

November 8, 2010

A meeting is defined as an act or process of coming together for a common purpose. How many times have you gone to a meeting and didn’t even know the reason you were invited? Or wonder what the purpose or objective of the meeting was? And what was the outcome of the meeting? Were there any decisions or assignments made?

If you have come out one of these meetings asking yourself these type of questions, the leader of the meeting has wasted your time, everyone else time and valuable company resources. These questions and many others are usually correlated to a meeting that was not planned, executed and/or communicated properly to all the parties involved.

In project management, there are several types of meetings scheduled during the life of the project, from project kickoff to project status meetings or project stakeholders meetings, and there are all just as important because it involves time and company resources to get everyone together in the same room at the same time. Therefore, you want to make sure you run and execute project meetings the most efficient way possible so that you are able to achieve specific results and goals for each meeting.

In order to run effective project management meetings, it is recommended that you follow these guidelines:

1. Always be clear and write down exactly what the main objective or outcome of the meeting is.
a. It is often that meetings are called to discuss something without knowing what the outcome would be.
b. Before you plan your meeting, focus on your objective
c. List the objective on the meeting agenda
d. To help you determine the meeting objective, use the following sentence: At the close of the meeting, I want the team to…

2. Prepare a focused meeting agenda and only invite those who need to be there a. In order to keep the meeting on target, you must prepare an agenda. Use the following factors to prepare the meeting agenda:
i. Priorities – what needs to be covered?
ii. Results – what do we need to accomplish with this meeting? iii. Participants – who needs to attend the meeting to be successful? iv. Sequence – in what order the topics need to be covered?
v. Date/Time – when and what is the best time to take place? vi. Place – where will the meeting take place?
vii. Constraints – what other constraints, such as holidays or other equipment resources needed (conference line, projector, etc.) b. In each major topic, include the type of action needed, the type of output expected (assignment, decision, vote) and time estimate that each topic should take.

c. Design agenda so that participants arrive on time.
i. Post an email remainder with the start and ending times
ii. Send remainders close to the starting time
d. Place the agenda materials on a table or door so late comers can pick up quickly
e. Develop ground rules for the meeting and list them on the agenda i. If anyone is not on time, participant will catch up later ii. Don’t allow late comers to state an excuse or interrupt
iii. Cell phones off
iv. No laptops
v. Bring your status reports

3. Use time management skills to run the meeting
a. Focus on the agenda as your time guide, don’t let others distract you b. Summarize quickly before moving on to the next point. This ensures everyone is clear on has been agreed or said
c. If time is running out for a specific item, consider the following options i. Facilitate hurrying the decision or topic of conversation ii. Push participants to a decision
iii. Defer discussion to another time
iv. Assign issue or discussion to another committee or team

4. Review and evaluate the overall meeting
a. Create a meeting summary and forward to all participants
b. Make sure actions from the meeting are well defined and communicated c. Review how successful the meeting was
i. Make sure you establish a process to receive feedback from participants ii. Send an email to participants
iii. Allow time for feedback on your next meeting
iv. Send out a quick 5 question survey or feedback form

Conclusion

In order to run an effective project management meeting, there needs to be a structure and order clearly defined. Without these elements, a meeting can last longer than it should and resources can be wasted without accomplishing anything.

With an objective established, a focused agenda outlined, time accordingly managed and a meeting evaluation and review process created, you will be well on your way to make sure bad, wasted and disappointing meetings are a thing of the past in your project or organization.

By Ruben Martinez-Raposo

References:

1. http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/RunningMeetings.htm
2. http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6027406.html 3. http://pmstudent.com/help-your-people-escape-meeting-hell/ 4. http://www.managementhelp.org/misc/mtgmgmnt.htm
5. http://hubpages.com/hub/Project_Management_-_Meetings_Everyone_Hates_Them 6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meeting
7. http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/make-those-project-meetings-more-effective.html

Advertisements

One Response to “Effective Project Management Meetings”

  1. Lakevia Bibb said

    Great read… Considering the fact that I have been invited or attended several unproductive meetings, meeting coordinators should consider these aspects when conducting meetimgs. A well established agenda along with an idea of what the end result of the meeting should be will allow for all meetings to have productive results. Businesses should consider developing a standard for conducting meetings to eliminate the chances of conducting unproductive meetings that in return cost them time, money and a lost of resources during the meetings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: