9 Tips to Running A Productive Project Management Meeting

Project management meetings can be boring, and you’ve probably seen one or two of your participants start to doze off. As the project manager, you understand how planning leads to action, and you can plan to use nine tips to run a productive project management meeting.

1. Don’t Wing It!

Project managers who attempt to “wing” a project management meeting are probably going to be disappointed. Even the most experienced project managers understand the value in having a plan for meetings. Creating an agenda helps to keep the project management meeting on track and ensures nothing is forgotten.

2. Start Agenda Items With a Verb

A boring agenda only lists “Floor 2” or “Budget. However, a working, productive agenda explains exactly what will be discussed and serves as a starting point. For example, an agenda may say, “Allocate Additional Resources to Complete Welding on Floor 2.”

3. Don’t Use Meetings For Status Updates

In the connected, digital world, it’s unlikely those in a project management meeting would not know the current status of important items, especially when considering how project management software provides status updates constantly.

4. Keep Discussions on Track

A meeting should not be a “free-for-all” throughout agenda discussions. The project manager needs to ensure the meeting stays on track by moderating the discussion. For example, budgeting issues should be discussed appropriately, but the budget of competitors is probably irrelevant.

5. Close Each Agenda Item With a Plan

Every agenda item is important, and the discussion should always end with a plan. The project manager should make sure everyone in the meeting understands who is accountable for a specific agenda item and what consequences may exist if the plan is not followed.

6. Organize Agendas From Multiple Meetings With Tags

Agendas from many meetings can become difficult to track over time. Project managers should assign tags or other identifying information to the document’s description or name to improve organization and accessibility for future reference. For example, using the tag, #budget, is helpful when reviewing all agendas that included discussions on budgeting issues.  

7. Manage Time During the Meeting

The agenda should include a time frame for each point. This will help the project manager ensure the meeting does not extend beyond the planned time. Furthermore, this will ensure all points in the agenda are covered as planned. If a specific discussion requires additional time, the project manager should create a way to follow up with the discussion at a later time. For example, a lengthy, appropriate discussion on budget may warrant a conference call later in the day. The key to this tip is discussing each point fully.

8. Take Notes

The project manager’s role in planning and holding a meeting does not exemplify him or her from taking notes. If a project manager is incapable of doing so, the meeting should be recorded, and the project manager should review the recording and take notes at that time. This keeps the project manager updated on what happened and what plans were made during the meeting.

9. Follow up on the Issues After the Meeting

A project manager needs to follow up on each discussion or topic after a meeting. This may not be immediate, but the project manager should follow through with any consequences or plans that were created during the meeting. Additionally, the project manager may assign members of the project management team to follow up on specific discussions.  

By following these tips, you will find project management meetings more effective and productive. In fact, you may be able to keep everyone awake and interested as well.

Key Tips to Remember

  • Create an actionable agenda with verbs, and leave the status updates on the dashboard.
  • Moderate project management meeting discussions, and end each discussion with a plan.
  • Label, tag, or otherwise organize agendas for future reference.
  • Manage time during meetings, and take notes.
  • Follow up on each issue from the meeting. 
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