When you want to be organized on a project: share and make the time to meet

Rounding out my tips for managing projects, share what you’ve documented. I know…another duh! Another “no kidding”…you might be thinking. I have seen beautiful projects plans in my day that sit in a shared folder or SharePoint team site that don’t get touched, reviewed or updated.

The only reason to document a project is to share it with others to create a mutual understanding of what we are doing, why, who needs to do what and by when. These documents only exist to enable the team to work efficiently.

Lots of organizations are talking about becoming agile today resulting in daily stand-up meetings, quicker releases with iterations rather than big plans that take 18 months to implement. Whatever the preference, meeting with the team and doing a quick review of tasks is always a good thing.

I find when people don’t hold project meetings it is usually because they are intimidated by the project plan. It can be large if the project is large in scope. Don’t focus on the the entire plan every week. The key to success is to break it down. You can keep weekly meetings to be short and impactful.

  1. Spend 5 minutes on the big picture – how are we tracking toward the main deadline, the main deliverables. If there are concerns, talk about them. If needed, assign the concerns or risks to a smaller subset of the team to come up with solutions.
  2. Focus on the items that are NOT tracking on time. Ask why, ask for new dates, ask how this impacts the big picture.
  3. If something is scheduled soon to be released or completed, quickly review what is releasing to whom and ensure communication plans are in place.
  4. Ask for other concerns or risks.

This agenda keeps weekly meetings to a reasonable length and breaks down the project into smaller chunks that will seem less overwhelming.

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