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Meetings in Project Management | PMBOK®Guide

Meetings

Introduction

Meetings are a powerful mode of interactive communication and very important in business. But if the meetings are not planned and conducted well, it would waste lot of productive time. Adherence to  proper etiquettes of a business meeting establishes respect among meeting participants, helps the meeting begin and end on time, and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation. A lack of etiquette and poor planning are two of the main reasons why many business meetings fail, according to business expert Lyndsay Swinton. Project Manager should teach the team on business meeting etiquettes to ensure that meetings are effective.

Arrive Early

Arrive to the location of the business meeting at least 15 minutes early. This allows you to find a seat and get settled before the meeting starts.

Follow the Agenda

The chairperson of the meeting should circulate a meeting agenda to each participant at least one week in advance. Participants should call the chairperson to express any concerns about the agenda at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. The chairperson and  the concerned participant will then have time to make changes if needed! The agenda should also mention the meeting’s start and ending times as well.

Be Prepared

Each participant should come to the meeting with all of the materials and data  that would be needed during the course of the meeting and should have an understanding of the reason for the meeting.

Take Breaks

Meetings should have a break every two hours. Tea Breaks could be for about 20 minutes , and meal breaks could be  for about 30 minutes.

Follow the Dress Code

The chairperson should indicate the dress code for the meeting, either business casual or business formal, and participants should follow the code. A representative listing of the dress code  would be helpful as participants may have differing views on what business casual and business formal is. For example, when listing the meeting as business formal, you can indicate that a button-down shirt and khaki pants are sufficient.

Speak in Turn

Keep the meeting organized by only speaking when you have the floor. Ask questions during the designated question period and raise your hand to be recognized by the chairperson . Do not interrupt someone while they are speaking or asking a question.

Listen

You may find that many of the questions you have about a topic are answered by the content of the meeting. Listen attentively to the meeting and take notes.

Keep Calm

Avoid nervous habits such as tapping a pen on the table, making audible noises with your mouth, rustling papers or tapping your feet on the floor etc.,

Turn off mobiles

Turn off your cell phone prior to the start of the meeting. If you are expecting an urgent call, then set your phone to vibrate and excuse yourself from the meeting if the call comes in. Unless laptop computers have been approved for the meeting, turn off  the laptop and lower the screen so that you do not obstruct anyone’s view.

Prepare minutes

Meetings without actions is simply a time waster. When they meet again you will realize the issues discussed remain where they were. Minutes of meeting with actions, responsibilities, dates are critical to record. It is good to conclude with the next meeting schedule.

Follow-up

In the following meeting the actions assigned in the previous meeting should be reviewed for the status and closure. Obsolete items even if they are not closed should be removed from the list.

Meetings as a technique in Project Management Body of Knowledge

Within the PMBOK® Guide, Meetings technique is used in the following processes. Later within each process, what kind of meetings being conducted and what topics are discussed is briefly mentioned.

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DEVELOP PROJECT CHARTER

For this process, meetings are held with key stakeholders to identify the project objectives, success criteria, key deliverables, high-level requirements, summary milestones, and other summary information.

DEVELOP PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

For this process, meetings are used to discuss the project approach, determine how work would be executed to accomplish the project objectives, and establish the way the project would be monitored and controlled. The project kick-off meeting is usually associated with the end of planning and the start of executing. Its purpose is to communicate the objectives of the project, gain the commitment of the team for the project, and explain the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. The kick-off may occur at different points in time depending on the type of the project:

  • For small projects, there is usually only one team that performs the planning and the execution. In this case, the kick-off occurs shortly after initiation, in the Planning Process Group, because the team is involved in planning.
  • In large projects, a project management team normally does the majority of the planning, and the remainder of the project team is brought on when the initial planning is complete, at the start of the development/implementation stage. In this instance, the kick-off meeting takes place with processes in the Executing Process Group. Multi-phase projects will typically include a kick-off meeting at the beginning of each phase.

DIRECT AND MANAGE PROJECT WORK

Meetings are used to discuss and address pertinent topics of the project when directing and managing project work. Attendees may include the project manager, the project team, and appropriate stakeholders involved or affected by the topics addressed. Each attendee should have a defined role to ensure appropriate participation. Types of meetings include but are not limited to: kick-off, technical, sprint or iteration planning, Scrum daily standups, steering group, problem solving, progress update, and retrospective meetings.

MONITOR AND CONTROL PROJECT WORK

Meetings may be face-to-face, virtual, formal, or informal. They may include project team members and other project stakeholders when appropriate. Types of meetings include but are not limited to user groups and review meetings.

PERFORM INTEGRATED CHANGE CONTROL

Change control meetings are held with a change control board (CCB) that is responsible for meeting and reviewing the change requests and approving, rejecting, or deferring change requests. Most changes will have some sort of impact on time, cost, resources, or risks. Assessing the impact of the changes is an essential part of the meeting. Alternatives to the requested changes may also be discussed and proposed. Finally, the decision is communicated to the request owner or group.

The CCB may also review configuration management activities. The roles and responsibilities of these boards are clearly defined and agreed upon by the appropriate stakeholders and are documented in the change management plan. CCB decisions are documented and communicated to the stakeholders for information and follow-up actions.

CLOSE PROJECT OR PHASE

Meetings are used to confirm that the deliverable’s have been accepted, to validate that the exit criteria have been met, to formalize the completion of the contracts, to evaluate the satisfaction of the stakeholders, to gather lessons learned, to transfer knowledge and information from the project, and to celebrate success. Attendees may include project team members and other stakeholders involved in or affected by the project. Meetings may be face-to-face, virtual, formal, or informal. Types of meetings include but are not limited to close-out reporting meetings, customer wrap-up meetings, lessons learned meetings, and celebration meetings.

PLAN SCOPE MANAGEMENT

Project teams may attend project meetings to develop the scope management plan. Attendees may include the project manager, the project sponsor, selected project team members, selected stakeholders, anyone with responsibility for any of the scope management processes, and others as needed.

PLAN SCHEDULE MANAGEMENT

Project teams may hold planning meetings to develop the schedule management plan. Participants at these meetings may include the project manager, the project sponsor, selected project team members, selected stakeholders, anyone with responsibility for schedule planning or execution, and others as needed.

DEFINE ACTIVITIES

Meetings may be face-to-face, virtual, formal, or informal. Meetings may be held with team members or subject matter experts to define the activities needed to complete the work.

ESTIMATE ACTIVITY DURATION’S

The project team may hold meetings to estimate activity duration’s. When using an agile approach, it is necessary to conduct sprint or iteration planning meetings to discuss prioritized product backlog items (user stories) and decide which of these items the team will commit to work on in the upcoming iteration. The team breaks down user stories to low-level tasks, with estimates in hours, and then validates that the estimates are achievable based on team capacity over the duration (iteration). This meeting is usually held on the first day of the iteration and is attended by the product owner, the Scrum team, and the project manager. The outcome of this meeting includes an iteration backlog, as well as assumptions, concerns, risks, dependencies, decisions, and actions.

PLAN COST MANAGEMENT

Project teams may hold planning meetings to develop the cost management plan. Attendees may include the project manager, the project sponsor, selected project team members, selected stakeholders, anyone with responsibility for project costs, and others as needed.

PLAN QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Project teams may hold planning meetings to develop the quality management plan. Attendees can include the project manager, the project sponsor, selected project team members, selected stakeholders, anyone with responsibility for project quality management activities, and others as needed.

CONTROL QUALITY

The following meetings may be used as part of the Control Quality process:

  • Approved change requests review. All approved change requests should be reviewed to verify that they were implemented as approved. This review should also check that partial changes are completed, and all parts have been properly implemented, tested, completed, and certified.
  • Retrospectives/lesson learned. A meeting held by a project team to discuss:
  • Successful elements in the project/phase,
  • What could be improved,
  • What to incorporate in the ongoing project and what in future projects, and
  • What to add to the organization process assets.

PLAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

The project team may hold meetings to plan resource management for the project.

ESTIMATE ACTIVITY RESOURCES

The project manager may hold planning meetings with functional managers to estimate the resources needed per activity, level of effort (LoE), skill level of the team resources, and the quantity of the materials needed. Participants at these meetings may include the project manager, the project sponsor, selected project team members, selected stakeholders, and others as needed.

DEVELOP TEAM

Meetings are used to discuss and address pertinent topics for developing the team. Attendees include the project manager and the project team. Types of meetings include but are not limited to project orientation meetings, team building meetings, and team development meetings.

PLAN COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT

Project meetings can include virtual (e-meetings) or face-to-face meetings, and can be supported with document collaboration technologies, including email messages and project websites. The Plan Communications Management process requires discussion with the project team to determine the most appropriate way to update and communicate project information, and to respond to requests from various stakeholders for information.

MANAGE COMMUNICATIONS

Meetings support the actions defined in the communication strategy and communications plan.

MONITOR COMMUNICATIONS

Face-to-face or virtual meetings are used for decision making; responding to stakeholder requests; and having discussions with suppliers, vendors, and other project stakeholders.

PLAN RISK MANAGEMENT

The risk management plan may be developed as part of the project kick-off meeting, or a specific planning meeting may be held. Attendees may include the project manager, selected project team members, key stakeholders, or team members who are responsible to manage the risk management process on the project. Others outside the organization may also be invited, as needed, including customers, sellers, and regulators. A skilled facilitator can help participants remain focused on the task, agree on key aspects of the risk approach, identify and overcome sources of bias, and resolve any disagreements that may arise. Plans for conducting risk management activities are defined in these meetings and documented in the risk management plan

IDENTIFY RISKS

To undertake risk identification, the project team may conduct a specialized meeting (often called a risk workshop). Most risk workshops include some form of brainstorming, but other risk identification techniques may be included depending on the level of the risk process defined in the risk management plan. Use of a skilled facilitator will increase the effectiveness of the meeting. It is also essential to ensure that the right people participate in the risk workshop. On larger projects, it may be appropriate to invite the project sponsor, subject matter experts, sellers, representatives of the customer, or other project stakeholders. Risk workshops for smaller projects may be restricted to a subset of the project team.

PERFORM QUALITATIVE RISK ANALYSIS

To undertake qualitative risk analysis, the project team may conduct a specialized meeting (often called a risk workshop) dedicated to the discussion of identified individual project risks. The goals of this meeting includes, the review of previously identified risks, assessment of probability and impacts (and possibly other risk parameters), categorization, and prioritization. A risk owner, who will be responsible for planning an appropriate risk response and for reporting progress on managing the risk, will be allocated to each individual project risk as part of the Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process. The meeting may start by reviewing and confirming the probability and impact scales to be used for the analysis. The meeting may also identify additional risks during the discussion, and these should be recorded for analysis. Use of a skilled facilitator will increase the effectiveness of the meeting.

MONITOR RISKS

Meetings that can be used during this process include but are not limited to risk reviews. Risk reviews are scheduled regularly and should examine and document the effectiveness of risk responses in dealing with overall project risk and with identified individual project risks. Risk reviews may also result in identification of new individual project risks, (including secondary risks that arise from agreed-upon risk responses), reassessment of current risks, the closing of risks that are outdated, issues that have arisen as the result of risks that have occurred, and identification of lessons to be learned for implementation in the ongoing phases of the current project or in similar projects in the future. The risk review may be conducted as part of a periodic project status meeting or a dedicated risk review meeting may be held, as specified in the risk management plan.

PLAN PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT

Research alone may not provide specific information to formulate a procurement strategy without additional information interchange meetings with potential bidders. By collaborating with potential bidders, the organization purchasing the material or service may benefit while the seller can influence a mutually beneficial approach or product. Meetings can be used to determine the strategy for managing and monitoring the procurement.

IDENTIFY STAKEHOLDERS

Meetings are used to develop an understanding of  the significant project stakeholders. They can take the form of facilitation workshops, small group guided discussions, and virtual groups using electronics or social media technologies to share ideas and analyze data.

PLAN STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

Meetings are used to discuss and analyze the input data of the stakeholder engagement planning process and to develop a sound stakeholder engagement plan.

 MANAGE STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

Meetings are used to discuss and address any issue or concern regarding stakeholder engagement. Types of meetings that are beneficial as part of this process include but are not limited to:

  • Decision making,
  • Issue resolution,
  • Lessons learned and retrospectives,
  • Project kick-off,
  • Sprint planning, and
  • Status updates.

MONITOR STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

Types of meetings include status meetings, standup meetings, retrospectives, and any other meetings as agreed upon in the stakeholder engagement plan to monitor and assess stakeholder engagement levels. Meetings are no longer limited to  face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions. While face-to-face interactions are ideal, they can be expensive.

Teleconferencing and technology bridges the gap and provides numerous ways to connect and conduct a meeting.

References:

PMBOK® GUIDE SIXTH EDITION

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