Running A Productive Project Meeting
By Tim Kress, PMP
a concise clear agenda ahead of time. Each agenda item should have a
desired outcome and a timeframe. (See sample meeting agenda). Distribute
to attendees at least 24 hours in advance.
sure you book your meeting room and conference bridge ahead of time.
Include details in the meeting notice. Include the agenda.
that the conference room has sufficient seating for participants. This
sounds obvious, but if you donít have proper seating people will not be
sure that you sit in a central spot at the table where you are seen as
"in the middle" both literally and figuratively.
and bring copies of the agenda, issues list and project plan for
participants. Include hard copies of any document sent to participants
with the meeting invitation.
on time. Open the bridge line at the appointed meeting time. Donít wait
more than 5 minutes for late participants to start the meeting. Waiting
longer punishes those who took the initiative to be there on time.
you begin ask participants on the phone to identify themselves. If you
have a small group in the room, you may identify them for folks on the
phone. If the group is larger than 6 or 7 people, have participants go
round the room and introduce themselves. This should take no more than 3
- Run the
meeting off of the agenda. Address each issue as completely as you can in
the timeframe allocated. Itís ok to be flexible if the discussion is
proving to be productive but you have to stay at least near the agreed
upon timeframe to keep people happy.
sure each participant has the opportunity to bring up his concerns or
ideas. If some people are quiet or you have a person monopolizing the
discussion, prompt the reserved participants for comment.
- If you
have the luxury, appoint a scribe to take the meeting notes. This will
free you up to facilitate and participate in the discussion. If you donít
have a scribe, you will have to do three tasks simultaneously: take notes,
run the meeting, and participate in the discussion as a subject matter
expert. This isnít easy to do but these days it is becoming expected of a
project manager. This is where the art of the craft comes in to play. I
recommend that you write up the meeting summary shortly after the meeting,
particularly if you were juggling roles. If you wait a day, your notes
begin to make less sense to you.
ensure that people agree on decisions being made, I recommend you poll the
group casually as you go. I like to say something like "Does this
make sense?" or "Are we on the right track on this one?".
This technique ensures buy-in to decisions and gives dissenters one last
opportunity to voice their opinion. Asking for their consent and confirmation
of project direction is a great way to reach consensus.
- As the
meeting nears its end, I like to conclude with "Is there anything
else?". If there is, continue discussing and clarifying open or new
issues. If there isnít, end the meeting.
sure that the team knows when the next meeting is scheduled.
"Thank You" to your team. Let them know you appreciate their
Tim Kress, 2003
Tim Kress & Associates Project Management
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