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The Project Status Meeting

Project_meetingFor some reason, this recurring event seems to strike fear into the hearts of project managers everywhere.  What should be a relatively simple and straightforward activity becomes a fingernails-on-chalkboard, grind-to-a-screeching-halt, black-hole-of-time schedule vacuum.

Outside of the basic meeting management principles (communicating a firm agenda, holding dominating personalities at bay, or recording meaningful minutes), many project managers forget the basic purpose of the project status meeting:  to communicate project status.

But what does that mean, exactly?  I'm currently on a project, consulting with the project manager to keep things moving forward.  Our status meetings are a weekly 90-minute conference call (with a web-interface). 

We review two reports:  recently accomplished tasks (i.e., those done since the last status meeting) and the look-ahead report (those tasks slated to be started in the next three weeks).  We go through each report (which is sorted by work functions) line by line. 

The team manager gives a brief, non-redundant recap of the task, if necessary, updates any changes in date or status, and provides any additional issues.  Notes are captured and added back to the project plan for later reference.

In short, your status meeting should do three things:

  • Look back - what did we just do?
  • Look ahead - what are we about to do?
  • Look sideways - what can derail us?

Quick, simple, nobody gets hurt.  Are you running your project status meetings effectively?

Carpe Factum!

Flickr Photo credited to Tech2morrow

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