Ever dial or walk into a project status meeting only to find yourself wishing that you could be anywhere else on the planet?
At times, status calls can be ALMOST as much fun as going to the dentist WITHOUT an anesthetic. Here are some pointers to consider as you plan your next project status meeting:
Make them MORE than just routine status calls
- Use collaborative content management sites such as SharePoint, Box, or Huddle to post frequent Project Status Reports (traffic light-style reporting can be very useful for status updates). Then, have participants review project status documents BEFORE attending the status call.
- In lieu of reviewing project status reports, focus on dynamic matters such as
- Upcoming milestones and what is needed to ensure their successful completion.
- Issues or challenges that are currently impacting the project, and what is needed to mitigate or eliminate them.
- Resource constraints or limitations within the project team as well as outside resources such as third-party providers or integration partners.
- Project creep or timeline issues (projects are NOT always in jeopardy of getting behind schedule – perhaps there are opportune times when activities can be accelerated). If so, consider the potential resource impact as well as downstream activities and milestones.
- Don’t forget to acknowledge completed activities and milestones! Recognize team members (by name!) for their contributions and successes.
Ensure the correct audience is in attendance
- DON’T assume every project team member needs to attend every meeting. Construct (and circulate beforehand) a dynamic agenda for the meeting (keeping in mind the aforementioned considerations), and then consider who should attend.
- Have project stakeholder or executive members attend on occasion to ensure open lines of communication, opportunity for feedback, and additional perspective.
ALWAYS allow time for Q&A and discussion
- By ensuring attendees have a chance to speak openly, often times less obvious items may surface that could have become a downstream issue.
- Questions are a STRONG indicator of a need for clarification, uncertainty or a lack of acceptance. They are often times the “SMOKE” before the “FIRE.” Use them to gauge understanding and level of buy-in.
ALWAYS provide a summary and list of actions or follow-up
- Meetings should result in PROGRESS! Progress requires ACTION! Everyone should have a clear understanding of upcoming activities, tasks, milestones or requirements prior to the next scheduled project status call.
- ACTIONS require PEOPLE! Not only should everyone understand WHAT needs to happen, but also WHO is accountable for the effort. Never leave a task unassigned.
By breaking away from mundane agendas, time-wasting routine, and no actionable outcomes, you can ensure your recurring project status meetings are rewarding, engaging, focused and as painless as possible!