Three Steps to Maximize Efficiency in Project Meetings

Kathlika ThomasThis guest post is by Kathlika Thomas (head writer for the IT Project blog).
It is easy to schedule impromptu meetings and they can be very useful, especially for quick responses from clients or technical resources. Ad hoc sessions can also be time-consuming. Ad hoc sessions can be time-wasters as people are often invited to the wrong meetings and not enough time is spent planning the course of action before they begin.
A good agenda and a list of topics to be discussed during your team meeting is essential in order to address these issues. This may seem trivial, but it is crucial to project management. Effective information gathering is essential for a project’s progress. These are some tips to help you manage your project meetings. You can also use this meeting outline over and over in your engagements.
Step 1: Before Your Project meetings
It is best to schedule meetings at least 48 hours before the meeting. This window can vary depending on the pace of your project or the number of participants. For example, it might take a week to get on a client’s calendar. A rapid iteration project might only need a day to schedule. Plan ahead!
To make the meeting more productive, you should also consider and document the pre-work that you or your participants need to complete. Do you need Darlene to share information about her progress and any issues? Should Analyst Alex follow-up with the business on any outstanding matters before the meeting starts? Be thoughtful about the information that will make your meeting most beneficial for everyone.
Step 2: During the Meeting, (Agenda).
These must-haves should be included in your meeting agenda
1. The Intro: Introduce your project meetings by giving a brief welcome and a summary of the purpose. Include any follow-up items from your last meeting and the things you plan to take away from this meeting.
2. The Update: Discuss prepared items that are relevant to the meeting topic. Make sure to inform your team members (preferably in the meeting invitation) that you will be calling them to contribute to the meeting’s value.
3. The Plan: Make sure to cover all agenda items in a structured manner. Keep your meeting under control and avoid off-topic conversations.
4. Action Items: Discuss items that should be addressed and completed after the meeting ends. These key items shouldn’t be left to chance. Assign tasks to people, give due dates, and discuss with whom the actual work is due after it’s finished.
5. Any Other Business: If time allows, openproject meetings up to general discussion of other items.This can be a great time to discuss major topics of interest and new issues since key participants may already be in attendance.Warning:Use this section of your meeting carefully and be respectful of people’s time! If users have nothing to contribute, you can ask them to leave the meeting or to “drop off” it.
Step 3: Following the Meeting
As project manager, you should send a summary of the meeting to all participants, to those who were given action items, and to any stakeholders who may not be invited but are still interested in learning about the discussion. It is your responsibility to ensure that the meeting is productive and not hampered by poor follow-through. Keep in touch with your team members to ensure there are no obstacles to completing action items. If you have the time, offer to help facilitate any work.
When planning, use the outline below