PM: Meeting Management – Part 4

Now that we’ve prepared for our meeting, set the pace and tone, covered the most important topics and handled any curve balls, it is time for the all-important follow-through.

The All-important Follow-through

After all the time and effort that went into preparation for and execution of the meeting, we cannot forget the most important part: the follow-through. In a nutshell, to achieve maximum value from our meeting, our follow-through must be timely, complete and accurate. Otherwise, what point was it to have the meeting?

I’d suggest this follow-through “begins” at the close of the meeting. More specifically, I’ve found it to be very effective to seek and respond to feedback by asking questions such as: How do you feel the meeting went? Does anyone have ideas to improve? Then, we must listen and repeat back what we heard, to confirm understanding. As necessary and possible, we can then make adjustments to our approach going forward.

Now that the meeting is complete it is time to finalize and share meeting minutes. For maximum value and impact it is important to publish within 24 hours of the meeting (hopefully much sooner).

To start, I like to clearly identify in the meeting notes who attended vs. those invited and weren’t able to make it.

When preparing content for the notes, a key guideline is to realize that this need NOT be a he said / she said, verbatim recording of everything mentioned or discussed. Instead, the PM must judiciously share notes on the IMPORTANT topics such as new or updated information shared and action items needing attention, each at the “appropriate” level of detail.

When organizing meeting notes I like to keep it simple and follow the agenda. That is, I’ll list out each agenda item, any new information, issues, risks or decision shared on the topic, related action items and/or next steps as applicable.

When listing action items I’ve found it to be very helpful to highlight (in bold / red) the owner(s) and due dates to enable teammates to quickly identify items needing their attention.

And, finally, we’ll want to include (as an attachment or link to an online document share) any reference materials supporting the topics discussed.

At this point, our notes can now be published by uploading to our online project documentation share site, as well as sending via email to all those invited to the meeting.

Immediately following the publication of our meeting minutes it is important to follow-up with anyone not in attendance who would have missed an important update (especially if it is particularly relevant to them) or they have been assigned a time-sensitive action-item.

With the publication of our meeting notes, we have now completed the topic of meeting management.

A few reminders:

  • Meeting management can literally make or break a Project Manager. Said another way, it can be a PM’s Achilles’ heel or a powerful tool (by following meeting management guidelines).
  • PMs must demonstrate an ability to dance, to ensure we NEVER appear as a deer caught in the headlights when the inevitable curve ball is thrown our way. Doing so ensures our meetings aren’t derailed and forward momentum continues.
  • The all important follow-through is the PM’s icing on the cake to achieve maximum value and impact from each meeting, if done so completely, accurately, and in a timely manner (< 24 hours after the meeting)!

Now that we’ve completed the topic of Meeting Management we’ll cover additional competencies demonstrated by highly effective PM’s.

In the meantime, if you are looking to improve PM competencies in yourself, or organization, feel free to reach out so we can discuss how I might help you.

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