10 Simple Ways to Revitalize Your Project Meetings

Discover 10 ways to get more done in your meetings

How often do you hear someone say, “We’re having too many meetings, lasting too long, and they are woefully mismanaged.” And yet, meetings can be the indispensable tool for getting work done.  Let’s look at 10 ways to revitalize your project meetings and get more done.

revitalize your project meetings

 

10 Meeting Boosters

1. Meet somewhere new. One simple but effective way to reinvigorate your meetings is to meet in a new location. What about meeting at an external location or meeting outside on a nice day. Variety is the spice of life.

2. Meet at a different time. You have a recurring meeting where you’ve been meeting from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday for the last year. How about moving the meeting to Tuesday morning from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., schedules permitting, to leverage greater energy in the mornings.

3. Use a different facilitation technique. A bad habit is using the round robin every meeting. You start with the person on your left and you rotate from one person to another for updates. Use a different technique such as a whiteboard for example. Ask for the most significant limiting factors on your project and capture them on the whiteboard.

4. Rotate meeting roles. For meetings with ten or more people, I recommend that you assign meeting roles—facilitator, scribe, time-keeper, and gatekeeper, to name a few. Consider rotating the roles allowing different people to lead in different capacities. This gives everyone a greater appreciation for each role.

5. Invite someone new to the meeting. Perhaps you and the team have been trying to resolve a problem and you’ve met three times. Feeling stagnant? Invite another subject matter expert to provide a different perspective?

6. Undertake a team-building exercise. Wise leaders know how and when to inject team building exercises. Facilitate a problem-solving exercise, develop a work breakdown structure, or identify ways to improve project communication.

7. Develop or revive your ground rules. Perhaps your team has developed some bad habits—getting off track, showing up late, or reading emails on their smartphones. Ask your team to identify ground rules for future meetings that can drive better performance.

8. Do more planning and problem-solving. One big meeting problem is the lack of engagement. Participants are passive—brains are turned off. Rather than using meetings to report status, use the time to plan, to solve problems, and to innovate.

9. Stand up or walk for a meeting. Many agile teams perform daily stand-up meetings, fifteen minutes in length, to discuss: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Are there any impediments in your way? Rather than having a stand-up meeting, try a walking meeting (notify them in advance) where you discuss these questions.

10. Monitor energy levels. I’m not a fan of all-day meetings, but sometimes, they are necessary. Recognize that energy levels will likely diminish in the afternoon. What can you do to improve energy throughout the day? Provide good coffee and healthy snacks. Take a periodic stretch break. Break up into groups to discuss a topic or problem—have someone from each group share their group’s thoughts. Keep things moving.

It’s Your Turn To Revitalize Your Project Meetings

Good leaders shape their team cultures. Think about your teams. What changes would you like to see in their attitudes and behaviors? Implement one or two of the ideas in this article. Evaluate whether the team is getting more done. Never let your meetings get into a rut. Periodically, try something new!

Why PMPs Should Actually Read the PMBOK 6th Edition

Four Reasons to Read the PMBOK 6th Edition

The Project Management Institute (PMI) released the PMBOK 6th Edition on September 6th, 2017. Some certified project managers may respond with, “Ho-hum. I’m glad I got my certification behind me.” However, I think PMPs and other certified project managers should actually read the PMBOK 6th edition. Why?

PMI Members can download their PDF copy of the PMBOK 6th Edition.

Four Reasons to Read the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

1. Stay Current

PMI conducts Role Delineation Studies for each certification every five to seven years. These studies help PMI understand how project managers perform their duties and lead cross-functional teams within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope.

How to Actually Boost Your Team’s Performance

Discover 10 Words to Motivate Your Team

Why is that one project team can vastly outperform another team although both teams have similar skills? Motivation. If you want to boost team’s performance, speak encouraging words consistently.

picture of coffee cup by a thank you card

Each day presents opportunities for you to breathe life into your teams. Your teams are more than a group of zombies. They are human beings with emotions that want to make a difference in their world.

Here are ten words that can stir up your team members and help them to stay focused, remain committed, and jump the next hurdle.

How to Engage Stakeholders Through An Internal Blog

Project Stakeholder Management

There are many ways to engage stakeholders. You can facilitate discussions in your project meetings. A business analyst may elicit requirements. The lead tester may develop a team for testing. Let’s look at a different form of engagement–the use of an internal blog.

3 business people reading blog on a tablet

Engage: occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention)

One communication tool that I’ve used for enterprise programs such as implementing a Project Management Office (PMO) or an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Program is an internal blog. Blogs are a form of pull communication used for large volumes of information or for large audiences such as an organization. Subscribers access the blog content at their own discretion.

What’s An Internal Blog?

An internal organization or company blog is a regularly updated website or web page that is written in an informal or conversational style. An individual or a small group may run the blog. Blogs are a great way to share internal news and knowledge, improve company and team communication, and inspire stakeholders.

Stakeholder Management: How to Know Which Ones Matter

Project Stakeholder Management

Project stakeholders–individuals, groups, and organizations– may be impacted by or may have an impact on your projects. It’s critical to understand how people inside and outside your organization may affect your projects. Let’s explore stakeholder management power tools that can help you quickly identify which stakeholders matter.

group of stake holders around computer

Why Analyze Project Stakeholders

Some project managers say they don’t have enough time to analyze the stakeholders. So, why is it important? The short answer is to determine how to spend the limited time project managers do have.

Stakeholders are not the same. Their power, interest, influence, expectations, and impact differ greatly. Consequently, it’s important to identify the most influential stakeholders.

How to Develop a Stakeholder Register

Project Stakeholder Management

Last week, we looked at 15 awesome ways to manage your project stakeholders. Today, let’s explore the development and use of the stakeholder register.

Stakeholder Register Benefits

Projects are dynamic and stakeholders make things interesting. At any given time, an individual may exert their influence and cause disruption to your project. Or perhaps a group may be struggling in terms of their attitude towards the project. And let’s not forget outside organizations who may be impacted by our project.

How do we keep up with all these moving parts? The stakeholder register. A little time spent identifying, evaluating, and capturing stakeholder interest and concerns can pay big dividends. The register is particularly helpful when managing large projects and projects that are moving at a fast pace.

There is something about putting our pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. As we see all the stakeholders in once place, we can determine how to best use our limited time. How and when should we use our interpersonal skills to engage and influence stakeholders?

15 Awesome Ways to Manage Your Project Stakeholders

Practical Tips for Identifying, Analyzing, and Influencing Your Stakeholders

Projects can be engaging and even enjoyable, or it can be a source of aggravation and stress. If you put some care and time into identifying, analyzing, and managing your project stakeholders, you’ll have a better project experience and improve your chance of success.

picture of team working together

Remember what Charles Schulz said through the character of Linus: “I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand!!” Schulz is saying that he loves mankind. But the problem is that individuals have flaws that can make life difficult.

One of the most critical elements of project management is developing relationships with key stakeholders—individuals, groups, and organizations. It is through these relationships that we can better define and control scope, understand requirements, mitigate risks, and improve project processes. One of the top reasons that projects succeed is stakeholder involvement.

How to Develop a Successful Buyer-Seller Relationship

Project Procurement Management

For most of my career, I have served in financial service organizations. As a project and program manager and PMO director, I’ve had the responsibility of procuring the necessary products and services from sellers. In other words, I was a buyer.

picture of handshaking

I recently left the corporate world to develop my LLC where I provide consulting services and teach courses to help project managers prepare for their PMP and PMI-RMP exams. Now, I am a seller.

Whether you are or a buyer or seller, good communication and doing what you say is critical to success. What can we do to get everyone on the same page and for the buyer and seller has a mutually beneficial relationship? Allow me to offer three recommendations.

1. Define the Buyer/Seller Relationship

First, healthy buyer/seller relationships require clarity in the roles and responsibilities. Think about a project that requires third-party professional services. Perhaps you need an outside team to develop a new software application.

Preventing Kickbacks to Those with the Power to Purchase

Some vendors exploit the weaknesses of your employees

This is a guest post by my twin brother Charles. He is a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He is a partner in the firm McNair, McLemore, and Middlebrooks & Co. Charles lives in Macon, Georgia, with his wife Kelley. He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He blogs at cpa-scribo.com.

A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn. Proverbs 17:8

Last week, Harry and I were running, and he told me about his procurement risk blog series. Since I am a fraud prevention guy, we began discussing the risk of vendor kickbacks to those with the power to purchase.

I have seen vendors provide free liquor, women, trips, cars, boats, and cash–all to guarantee their bid acceptance. One such case provided “hundreds of competitively-bid contracts to favored vendors in exchange for gratuities” including “hot tub parties with strippers.”

If vendors know your employees’ weaknesses, they can exploit them. And if they do, significant harm lies before you. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ fraud survey showed that 35% of the cases were corruption-related with a median loss of $200,000.

Four Practical Ways to Improve Project Procurements

Discover the Power of Project Procurement Management

As we initiate our projects, we may find that our organization lacks the skills and knowledge to create the project deliverables and meet the project objectives. In other cases, we may need products outside of our organization. Project managers use procurement management to secure these needed products and services.

picture of someone signing an agreement

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) says that Project Procurement Management “includes the processes necessary to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team.” Our ability to find and procure the right resources at the right time will enhance our chance for success. 

Project Procurement Management

1. Develop a Procurement Management Plan

So, how can we improve our project procurements? Start by developing a Procurement Management Plan. The plan describes your approach to acquiring the necessary products and services from outside organizations. This plan may include things such as:

  • Types of contracts
  • Procurement process and documents
  • How you will identify sellers
  • How you will evaluate and select the sellers
  • Who will be involved in the evaluation process
  • Who will execute the agreements
  • Constraints and assumptions
  • How you will handle decisions such as make or buy