Status meetings are a key part of a well-managed project.
It’s unlikely that badly run status meetings will be a direct cause of project failure but they can certainly have an impact. If stakeholders are already concerned about the management of a project then an ineffectual status meeting will only compound the issue for the project manager.
Good status meetings need to be structured, standardized and forward looking.
A project manager needs to utilize good structure to control a project. For status meetings this structure starts with an agenda. Status meetings can easily devolve into a whinge session on the current crisis du jour. The agenda provides structure to ensure the meeting stays on track and provides guidance for when input is required from specific team members.
Standardization enables all team members to become very familiar with what is expected of them. It’s important that all agendas and reports use a standard format so that everyone knows what to expect. Having a regular scheduled time provides consistency and also helps maintain attendance.
It is very ineffective if all the time in a status meeting is used to check up on team members to see if they have completed their assigned activities. It is much better if the meeting looks forward. This can be achieved by collaboratively discussing issues & risks and then agreeing on a clear set of actions to be undertaken. A great way to make a status meeting forward looking is to have individual team members enter their own updates into a project management system which frees up time for the project team to focus on future issues.
The Intellilink Team