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A Little Prep for an Efficient Project Team Meeting

A project manager should look to the most effective way to run their project’s team meetings. We are talking about your regularly scheduled meetings, typically weekly or bi-weekly.

With a minimal amount of pre-work, you can run an efficient project team meeting, get the updates needed, and best utilize the time of the attendees.

This method comprises of setting up a structure to follow the same ‘standing agenda’ as you work through your project. With a little preparation, you can have the items below available for display, or as handouts, during your meeting. You may vary the suggestions below based on the duration and complexities of your project.

1. Review Project Schedule

Prepare the schedule for the most optimal viewing of tasks. Regardless of what tool you are using to manage your tasks, you should only look at tasks that are:

  • Late – so you can discuss why and update the task to reflect reality and any resulting impact on new dates
  • Due soon – those tasks that are due to be completed through the next 14 days
  • Upcoming Work – tasks that are 14-30 days out to assure everyone is aware of what’s next

Consider highlighting (visually with color if possible) the tasks that most certainly need to be discussed at the meeting. Those that may have risks associated with them, those that are to be performed by individuals whom you may anticipate may have challenges in completing the work, those that are late or due very soon.

Periodically you should step through the full schedule of open work. This will provide the team a nice overview of the scale of project work and provides an opportunity to discuss concerns with future work.

2. Status of Open Issues

Prepare to review issues:

  • Sort by due date, with those due sooner at the top of the list.
  • Only show issues that are relevant to the project team, those they have reported or those assigned to them.
  • Only show the information necessary for the discussion. While you may be capturing various details on each issue, consider what the team members really need to see to provide updates.
  • Discuss those that are a high priority, regardless of the due date.
  • Be sure to cover issues due in the next two weeks, and review others as time allows.

3. Update on Action Items

Review any open actions items from previous meetings that are due. These are the smaller “to-do’s” that are not significant tasks requiring them to be managed on the schedule.

4. Report New Issues/Concerns/Work

Discuss anything new that has not be covered or concerns that have come up since the last meeting. Confirm that everyone is in agreement and can speak up on any items he or she believe need additional attention.

5. Summarize

Simple enough – review important actions, cover any reminders such as next meeting, and thank the attendees for attending!

By utilizing a standing agenda that follows this format, you will assure that you cover and address late work, recognize and discuss upcoming work, and focus on issues. Spending a few minutes before each meeting to prepare will provide a more organized presentation and lead your team to focus their attention on the priority topics.

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