16 Best Practices for Running Project Status Meetings Effectively


Running Project Status Meetings Effectively

Meetings are important tools for getting any work done.

For any meeting to work, you must have; an agenda, time and a notebook.

It’s the project leader’s responsibility to gather updates on the status of the project,

By carrying out a project status meeting, seeking to- identify anything that may raise an eye-brow and most importantly- know where the project is, and where it has already been.

Below are 16 best practices for running any project status meeting productively.

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1. Define And Share A Clear Agenda

Create a roadmap to the meeting with specific predefined objectives.

Have bullet points of;

  • What should be decided during the meeting?
  • How should you come to a conclusion at the end of the meeting?
  • What will be the next step or action plan?

Send this specific number of things to be tackled, before your meeting with the team.

This will help with proper preparation for the meeting.

2. Prop Your Team

Inform them about the importance of the meeting.



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Send invites to everyone.

Doing this in advance allows your team;

  • Prepare early feedbacks.
  • Set aside time to attend the meeting.
  • Collect any useful information to answer key questions during the meeting and support their feedbacks as well.

With that, you’ll have not only great attendance but also attendance with purpose/interest.

3. Keep Time

Be strict on punctuality.

Have a clear time duration,

For instance,

Start the meeting and end it at a particular time.

Punctuality during meetings;

  • Prevent team members declaring your meetings as a waste of time, therefore skipping out most part of it.
  • Avoid having another meeting to discuss the same agenda.
  • Skip making a fast and ineffective decision when time’s running out.

Punctuality will enable you to beat boredom and get your team motivated during the meeting.

4. Talk On The Subject Matter

You must focus on the subject matter of the meeting at all times.

While running the meeting, ensure everyone sticks to the agreed purpose/discuss on the specific project at hand, and also abide by the dedicated time for the meeting.

Besides,

You might want to avoid making rush points on crucial matters just to catch up with time and greatly affect overall decision making.

Then again,

Stay on track!

5. Listen To Everyone’s Opinion

Dealing with different personalities in a meeting can be very difficult.

The two types of people in a meeting;

  • Talkative- the aggressive members who will always seek to ‘run’ the meeting.
  • Passive members- less talkative, and may even fail to contribute at all in the meeting.

Never lean on one side of the room,

The ‘know-it-alls’ may pressurize you to settle for their aggressive opinions, though, it may not be the accurate representation of the overall team opinions.

Remember!

Everyone desires to actively participate and;

  • Get real involved with the discussion.
  • Comment on the matter.
  • Gain insight from the meeting.

Therefore,

Engage everyone.

6. Choose A ‘Deadline- Free Day’ For The Meeting

The timing of the meeting may be very crucial, especially when the team members have other things to do. When planning your meeting,

It would help to not just focus on a day that you feel your team is available.

You may cut through their personal or work-related schedules.

In that case.

  • Find a day when none has no important deadline.
  • No scheduled appointments.
  • No prioritized activity to do.

Doing this will eliminate the double focus during the meeting for a better productive time.

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7. Hold Non-Routine Meetings

Doing the same thing, over, over and over…! May end up boring.

Therefore, it would not hurt juicing it up by doing less routine, and non-predictable meetings for the project.

  • Hold frequent meetings with flexible and interval time.
  • Avoid championing for team laziness.

Less predictable meetings will eliminate the notion within team members to only carry out what is expected of them until the next meeting.

Also,

Surprise follow-up will always compel anyone to do the most to eliminate unknown consequences.

Therefore, it leads to productive meetings.

Use the element of surprise!

8. Over-Communicate With Your Team

Ensure open lines of communication-information is available for everyone at any time.

Know how your project stakeholders would prefer to receive updates on the project status.

Whether you communicate to them through email or phone call, etcetera,

For your team,

Ensure they are up to date with the project.

If you are dedicated enough,

you’ll allow the team members to even choose their relevant means of communication, which will improve alignment and collaboration among them.

Your meetings will be made simple and easy, with informed individuals.

Well, the information is gold!

9. Handle Non-Relevant Topics Offline

Always encourage the members to stick to “the elephant within the room”- Look at the bigger picture.

Making the meeting one of a kind.

  • Avoid off-topic brainstorming ideas.
  • Allow only the most relevant reviews.
  • Irrelevant revisions may be carried forward to the next/different meeting altogether.

Since both sides should be included in the meeting, conflicts are inevitable at some point.

Nevertheless,

Minor conflict resolution between individuals can be put on hold and solved outside the meeting as this may hinder productive status meetings.

10. Use Shared Online Documents For Meeting Reference

It is important to keep a record of meetings for future reference.

Ensure access to all team members and stakeholders.

Methods:

You can opt to record your meeting’s proceedings in;

  • Google docs
  • Spreadsheets
  • Word document
  • Project Management System

You’ll be able to review previous meetings’ decisions and bring every one of interest to the project on board.

Also,

keep everyone in touch with the project, which is the main aim of the status meetings after all.

However,

The above-mentioned methods are all great, although the accessibility of spreadsheets and word documents may be restricted to the creator only.

Therefore,

It’s more preferable you adopt shared online documents like Google docs for easier access to all team members. The members are able to view, edit, make a copy and even spread the information among them.

This is information is vital during the next status meeting.

11. Use Software Solutions For Project Updates

During the project status meeting, individual activity updates must be accounted for.

This process is made easier by using software systems to track project success.

Work Management Software solution:

  • This system allows every team member to log in.
  • Time tracking for the project- Is the project late or early?
  • A platform for the team members to collaborate in executing the project.
  • Every member can post updates on their activities.
  • Allow for the project leader to assign tasks to individuals.
  • The members can accept these project tasks.
  • Sending auto-reminders.
  • Informing on the completed project-level activities.
  • Displays the portion of work yet to be done.
  • The system also produces reports for the overall project.

Running status Sheet:

  • Records the latest decisions made during the status meeting.
  • Allows team co-ordination.
  • Gives updates to the stakeholders.

By allowing every stakeholder access to the project updates, you greatly influence the clear understanding of project status before the meeting.

Therefore,

Avoid relying entirely on meetings to know- what’s up!

Instead,

Have a smooth productive meeting.

12. Hold Bi-weekly Meetings

You’ve got to readjust your team member’s expectations for the project status meeting.

The better way of approaching this may be;

  • Reducing the number of regular Project status meetings:

Holding the meeting every two weeks instead of ‘per week’, can be a great start towards changing the members’ perception of the meeting, per se.

Everyone will achieve a common understanding of the project status.

After all,

You don’t need as many meetings to make all members feel included.

13. Use Project Status Meetings To Forecast

It may be of great importance to focus on the future, rather than dwell on the presence while referencing the past.

As a project leader,

Refocusing the purpose of your project status meetings may be hard since not everyone is willing to accept such drastic changes in any workplace.

Although,

It may come in handy since change is inevitable in order to make any project work successfully.

What if,

Every project leader would use the regular project status meetings entirely to discuss where or to what extent they desire to take the project instead of dwelling on the usual;

  • Where are we now?
  • Where have we already been?

Come to think of it.

The objectives and goals of any project are there to fuel the implementation of end-results, and if the team lose focus of this bigger picture, then

That’s a sinking ship!

14. Adopt Other Communication Methods To Update Your Team

As much as the project status meetings are crucial for any project implementation,

It may lead to the team members wasting their productive time or that of their stakeholders-

If not managed properly.

Ideally,

There are many convenient ways that any project leader can use to keep the project stakeholders up to date with the project status.

Below are just but a few ingenious ways to pass information between team members;

  • Through Emails- In the current era, anyone can access a computer or better still afford a smartphone for updates. It is very fast and reliable.
  • Work management software- store every information on the project. Everyone can view work already done and work remaining, just like what is discussed in the status meetings.
  • Google docs- the team members are able to share, view and contribute their opinions on the project. Besides, done online, no need for a face to face meeting.
  • Spreadsheets- takes the effort of a few professionals to ensure information is safe, reliable and accessible to the team.
  • Instant messages and texts.

You could opt to carry the discussion of minor issues on such platforms and leave space for more critical decision making during the actual status meetings.

Also,

It couldn’t hurt to let the meetings occupy a rare place in your schedule.

15. Lead The Meeting

As a Project leader, everyone looks up to you for mediation and smooth running of the project status meeting.

Therefore,

It would be profitable for everyone if you act like one.

During the meeting proceeding;

  • Control your team’s expectations and engage them all.

Also, you might want to make the room lively and fun, for new ideas to be realized in the event.

The layout of the meeting rules:

  • Develop clear realistic rules that would help run and prevent any conflicts.
  • Inform every member of the rules.
  • Update them on the current meeting agenda.
  • Everyone should understand their specific assignments both in the room and the project.
  • Check punctuality- start the meeting on time and don’t drag the proceedings past the set time duration.
  • Establish punishment or consequences for anyone who breaks the rules.

Arrange the room effectively:

It is proven that any choice of sitting arrangement would influence how people interact.

With that said,

You might want to get your members seated across one another to create that debate feel.

You’ll have promoted confrontation among the members, which comes in handy if you want to get better ideas for the project.

On the other hand,

Members seated side by side is conducive to that cohesive environment, where people tend to empathize with one another. You may opt for this if you want a smooth meeting.

Tackle controversies:

At times you just have to entice someone to get what you want from them!

Makeup conflicting topics within the room, and allow the members to discuss.

Also,

Be neutral and ensure no the debate doesn’t get way too personal to the extent of individuals sharing blows. If that happens, then change the topic drastically.

It is simple,

use those cunny-wacky methods if you want to engage everyone. Make the room lively!

Lastly,

You might want to close the room with a positive vibe.

Show that you acknowledge their time, because a member may have put on hold something important just to attend your meeting.

Thank everyone for their time

16. Distribute The Minutes

This is the last point for project status meeting. Once everything is done, you can now distribute the minutes which everyone should have a copy of for future reference.

Conclusion

Now that you know,

There are only three main rules you need to run your project status meeting effectively; Have an agenda, begin on time and close with an action plan.

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