Updated: May 19, 2020
People won't come back if they think their time may be better spent elsewhere... So, how do we help our team members to believe that the best use of their time is to spend it in one of our project team meetings? It's simple... Don't waste anyone's time!
Good project meetings begin with a summary of the project Story, and then follow through with execution of a well-prepared agenda and complete with a meeting wrap-up and summary of action items and next steps. Q2PM project managers make use of the tools and discipline of our process in order to ensure every meeting executes according to these principles.
For today's blog we'll talk about the project Story:
Every project meeting should open on time - unless there's a very good reason not to, such as missing a key meeting participant - and should begin with the project manager taking control of the room and listing the names of those who are so far in attendance, either in person, on Skype or on the phone; asking at the end of the reading if anyone's name was missed. Then, the PM should provide the team with a brief reminder and summary of what particular project this meeting is for (people often get lost and confused in a sea of daily meetings) and where we are so far with the project "Story."
The project Story is the tale of what we are trying to do with this endeavor, including the problem (Business Case) we hope to solve with this project along with the solution (Project Plan) we seek to attain in order to solve the identified problem. We don't have to go into too much detail, just a quick thirty-second overview to align everyone's mind around why we've come together today to meet, and just what we are striving to achieve. Summarizing the project in this way right up front, and in under thirty seconds, helps to align everyone's mind in the same direction before we jump into the real meat of our meeting agenda. Not summarizing the Story at the start of the meeting, on the other hand, may leave people thinking they are just here to keep the seat warm for another hour of wasted time, which is the sad impression so many poorly planned and executed meetings may leave in the minds of participants. Good PMs don't waste people's time or even provide them with the opportunity to reflect that their time is being wasted. Good PMs both want and need our team members to come back - and getting a meeting off to a good start with a brief project Story summary is just the thing to kick off a productive team endeavor. So put a placeholder in your agenda (see image) right at the start of the meeting in order to remind yourself to tell your team yet again of the project Story you collectively wish to successfully fulfill. It's a good use of everyone's time.
We'll cover more about effective project meetings in our next blog post.
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My name is Kurt Bell.
You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.
Be safe... But not too safe.