10 Practices for Better Project Management Meetings
Meetings – so often they are such a waste of time. Sad really. Years ago my sister sent me a poster – “Meetings – the practical alternative to work”! I will not say which of my four sisters – to protect the guilty one!
My test of a meeting is simple enough these days – did we leave the meeting with the same or more energy as when we came into the meeting? Or did we feel lower energy than when we entered the meeting?
A good meeting should energize us. If you stop reading this blog article and get nothing more than the idea of this “meeting energy test”, I feel your reading time will not have been wasted – unless of course, you do not try out this test!
At BrightWork, we are exponents of the Start | Evolve approach to improving project management success. None of us have time to get every process perfect today.
In the rest of this blog post, we will give you one meeting practice to start with and nine further meeting practices to evolve to in time.
Before you ignore the rest of this post, think of the cost of a poor meeting. Wasted time. Sucking good energy out of the system. Very expensive!
Start with an agenda!
- Have a chairperson/facilitator (typically the Project Manager!) who proposes the desired outcome of the meeting (i.e. the meeting objective) and who sets an agreed agenda in service of the meeting objective and keeps everyone to the agenda, and we all agree to be guided by the chairperson/facilitator.
Evolve by taking on board some of these extra nine practices:
- We will review each meeting as it ends to see if it was a good meeting or not – how did we do on the “meeting energy test”?
- We will not invite people who do not really need to be there. We will keep meetings as small as we can.
- We will not present at meetings. We will circulate the presentation 3 days in advance, so people can read in their own time and at their own pace (rather than daydream or do email when someone else is presenting at the meeting!).
- We will come prepared – or we will say we are not prepared.
- We will start on time and finish on time (and we will let the team know if we are running late and request their consent).
- We will stick to the meeting objective and the associated agenda.
- We will properly listen before we comment (this is a very hard one for some personality types!).
- We will pay attention and we will not check email or phones.
- We will take our action items seriously and complete them on time.
Our suggestion. Start with one or two of these practices and then experience success. Once the initial success has been experienced, then move the group to select and adopt some of the other meeting practices.
I wish you good energy meetings!
Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from our free book, Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook.