Your project management team meetings can take up far too much time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With good collaboration, you can streamline your project team meetings and make them really effective. Here are our 5 tips for productive and efficient project team meetings.
Tip 1: Create an agenda
Using a standard agenda gives structure to your meeting and helps you stay on target to finish the meeting on time. It also makes sure that you don’t forget anything! Share the agenda with your project team before the meeting so they know what will be discussed and they can come along prepared.
Tip 2: Book them in advance
Projects can get very busy, so it’s best to let your colleagues know about the meeting in advance. Put it in their diary or on a shared project calendar as far in advance as is practical. You’ll probably be holding them regularly (like every week), so you can book them up at the same time each time so that people get used to having that slot reserved for the team meeting. This will also help you identify if individuals will be away so that you can arrange to reschedule. Alternatively, they could send a deputy.
Tip 3: Use collaboration tools
Team meetings can be even harder if your team members are not all in the same location. However, collaboration tools can be a real help. They ensure that everyone has the agenda and other information before the meeting, and they can help you record actions so that everyone can see the output. In addition, features like instant messaging, chat and discussions allow you to hold your meeting virtually, regardless of where individuals are actually based.
Tip 4: Allow everyone to participate
One of the main reasons that team meetings are not productive is that some team members talk a lot and some don’t contribute at all. Don’t let one or two people dominate the discussion. Ideally, you want to hear from everyone, and everyone should have the same opportunity to raise issues and to brief the rest of the team on the progress of their actions.
One way to make sure that everyone gets a turn to speak is to use a timer. Each person gets to talk until the time runs out. They can use the time to summarize their progress that week, any problems and anything else they need help with. You can choose how long the time runs for: 5 minutes is good and while it doesn’t sound very long it is normally long enough!
Tip 5: Follow up the actions
Meetings are only useful if action comes out of them. Make sure that you record the actions raised and who will be taking responsibility for completing them. If you can’t do this and chair the meeting, delegate the role of note taking to someone else. Then share the minutes with your team. Most importantly, you need to follow up progress at the next meeting. That’s why the first item on the agenda each week should be ‘Actions from the previous meeting’. This makes it clear to everyone that you’ll be asking for progress reports.