Project Meetings: You're Doing Them Wrong
I'm currently mentoring a senior project manager, who asked me to sit in on one of their project team meetings. It's fair to say that the meeting - while good natured - was fairly shambolic and they ran out of time before getting to item three on the 11 point agenda.
In the de-brief afterwards, I gave the group 15 tips to help them run productive project meetings:
- Finding a time when everyone's free is good, but getting their commitment to attend is better. A 'tentative' doesn't mean they're coming
- Make sure that there's an agenda in the meeting invite which also states the objectives of the meeting. What's in it for the attendees?
- Only invite the people that absolutely need to be there. Meetings are not the place for FYIs
- Set the expectation with regards to phones and laptops at the start of the meetings and by that I mean tell everyone to put them away. If they insist on using them throughout the meeting it's obvious they need to be elsewhere
- Start on time and finish on time. Finishing earlier - having achieved the objectives - is even better
- Stop starting meetings on the hour or on the half hour - that's just convention - start them at ten-past, for example, to give people time to get there
- Don't say 'it's alright' if people come in late - it's not
- If people have to take calls or leave early, ensure that they apologise to the room (not the chair) in advance - it shows respect for the other attendees
- Make sure you give people enough time to read documents if you're looking for their feedback - one day is not enough
- Don't allow side conversations while someone else is talking - it's just plain rude
- People who are invited in to present should only stay for their portion of the meeting - then they should leave
- Make sure there's some laughter to lighten the mood (and maybe even some biscuits) - make your meetings enjoyable
- Make sure that the actions at the end of every meeting are clear and have been agreed to - so people know what they're on the hook for
- Oh and make sure that people have completed the actions when they said that they would (you may need to remind them in between meetings) - make accountability in your meetings mean something
- Thank everyone for their time and input - because they're busy and made time for you.
Did I miss anything?
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