This is the second in a series of blogs about meetings that are led by project managers. This series is intended to provide guidance and tips to ensure that these meetings are effective and well received by the participants.
Status meetings are usually held on a weekly basis, which may vary depending on the size or complexity of the project. In my experience, it is best when these meetings can be held in person. This may not be possible with geographically dispersed teams and, in that case, I recommend video conferencing. The goal here is to build and maintain a cohesive and motivated team, so the greater level of personal interaction between team members usually provides positive benefits.
Status meetings can vary widely in there duration and format. Let’s look at what a typical status meeting should entail for a small to medium size project, although many of these concepts apply to larger projects as well.
The status meeting should address the following:
- Current status: Tasks that have been accomplished thus far in the project with emphasis on those tasks completed over the last week.
- What tasks are scheduled to be complete but are not for some reason. It is the project manager’s roles to inquire as to why these tasks are slipping based on the project plan and help to get them back on track.
- A review of upcoming tasks and ensuring the team has the resources necessary to accomplish these tasks. Are the durations and estimates for these tasks still realistic or does the project team need to realign or adjust the plan?
- A discussion of any risks or issues. (Risk = something that may happen. Issue = something that already has happened). The project manager should be keeping a risk and issue log. This log should be reviewed during the meeting and any new risks or issues should be added.
- Changes to the project should also be reviewed. Most companies have a prescribed method for dealing with changes in a project. If your company doesn’t have such a process and documentation, I highly recommend the creation of both a change control process and change control template (this is a standard form in which any proposed changes to a project are documented and subsequently approved or denied).
The weekly status meetings are a critical part of running a successful project. Project team participation should be highly encouraged (mandatory). These meeting allow not only the project manager to know the current status of the project, but also the overall project team as well.
Dan Thompson, PEI