Project Management

A Strategic Planning Approach

by Paul D.  Gardiner

Chapter 8 material

References to the website, Chapter 8

Website reference from page 200:

- to see some examples of project charters [to be added].

Website references from page 212:

- ten practical steps to managing meetings more effectively (see below).

Website reference from page 217:

- to find the Belbin team roles self-perception inventory -can be used to identify strongest and weakest team roles of every team member quickly and simply (to be added).
- to read an expanded explanation of the Belbin team roles (to be added).

How to manage meetings

Meetings are essential for teambuilding and information sharing. Many organisations have meetings which are regarded only as a good time to take a nap. Poorly conducted meetings dampen inspiration and enthusiasm, and often serve only as a forum for furthering the personal and organisational aspirations of the more aggressive participants rather than furthering project goals.

The challenge for the project manager is to ensure that all meetings are properly conducted, and that they hold the attention and interest of all participants. Many authorities have published "dos and don'ts" for conducting effective meetings. The following ten guidelines are applicable to the needs of project managers.
  1. Establish a meeting policy, only call a meeting if there is a real need and include this in the project plan.
  2. Make the purpose of the meeting very clear and prepare an agenda. If possible an agenda should be distributed a day or more before the meeting to permit preparation by the team members. An agenda is essential as a communication tool for most meetings since it keeps the meeting on the subject and forces the participants to prepare thoroughly.
  3. Start the meeting on time; follow the agenda as appropriate and end the meeting on time.
  4. Encourage participation and feedback. Feedback is a vital constituent of openness, and includes seeking it, listening to it, taking it on board and acting on it. If a team member is not listening to and acting on feedback, other members will feel frustrated, angry and then give up saying anything, a form of silent defiance.
  5. Use all meetings as part of a teambuilding programme. As a team matures its ability to learn from mistakes increases.
  6. Get to know the individuals in the team - their values and what motivates them.
  7. Ensure all the members know what is expected of them; discuss the goals and any changes with team members, rather than spring things on them.
  8. Show individuals that their contribution is valued.
  9. Give feedback about performance regularly - not just at appraisal time.
  10. Issue minutes and action lists. It is important to make a formal record of all decisions made, action items discussed, task assignments made, and commitments obtained during the meeting. Minutes should be brief, to the point, and should be issued the next day following a meeting. Follow-up on all task assignments and action items coming out of the meeting.

Self-assessment questions for chapter 8

Please click here to start the quiz.