Meetings are called to give the impression that a project progresses. However, the attendees often leave the meeting feeling that they didn’t get any resolutions or progress. The key role of a project manager is to facilitate work. This could be your own work or that of others. It is essential that you can facilitate productive meetings that produce measurable results to be a project manager.
It is crucial to make sure that the meeting is worthwhile. A meeting is a forum where a group of people can discuss a problem or find a solution. It is a good idea to meet face-to-face at the project kickoff, to discuss interim results, then when the final result is available.
Set clear goals for meetings. Your meeting objective may be, for example, to ensure that all project team members are familiar with the project plan and have documented risks. Most cases, it is appropriate to include your meeting goal on the meeting agenda. Sometimes, it is possible to have personal objectives that you don’t articulate when you meet with smaller groups. One example would be “to strengthen our relationship with the Engineering team”.
You should set a meeting agenda with specific times and keep it short. Keep your meetings as short and sweet as possible. A meeting that drags on for too long is just as destructive as one that is repetitive. Meeting lengths suggested are: 15 minutes, Ai discussing one document, 30 minutes, Ai discussing one issue, 60mins, Ai detailed recapping project issues, 90mins, Ai detailed discussion, and workshopping. If you feel that you need to meet for more than 90 minutes, you should reexamine your agenda and look for items that can easily be summarized in a memo. This can then be circulated outside of the meeting. As a rule, it is advisable to circulate the agenda and objectives for comments one week before your meeting. This will ensure that the meeting meets all attendees’ expectations.
If necessary, pre-reading should be distributed prior to the meeting. Make sure you distribute all necessary materials and inform attendees that they are expected to have read it prior to the meeting. Consider giving a status update on the issue or project you are discussing, and an updated action plan, if applicable. An action list will remind everyone of their commitments and help them to stay focused on the project.
Make sure that there is a clear chairperson who will keep the meeting on track and on time. Set the tone for the meeting by stating the objectives and informing attendees that the meeting will remain on the topic.
To ensure that the meeting stays on track, it is a good idea to take important items “offline” (discuss them later outside of the meeting) if they’re not on the agenda. This allows you to recognize contributions without causing the meeting to veer off-track. Meetings should encourage collaboration and brainstorming. Make sure to balance efficiency with the ability to solve problems and gather ideas.
Recap the agreed actions, next steps, and the progress made during the meeting at the end of the meeting. Within ten minutes of the meeting’s end or by the close of business on the day, send a brief email summary to all attendees with action items. The meeting minutes should be kept to a reasonable level. A brief email summary or formal meeting minutes may suffice. It will all depend on your judgment. As a guide, a meeting with project leadership should have formal minutes for agreement within one week. A summary of key outcomes is required for a meeting with one or more members of the project team. However, it is not necessary.