We all start Leading projects with a pocketful of illusions and energy… but don’t you have the impression that after all the continuous project meetings never-ending discussions, the positivity fades away? how to keep the energy alive? It’s all about the meetings !!
Kick off the project with energy, but put all that energy in highlight project risks and all your efforts in create a Team and assign accurate tasks to your team.
The first action to keep the energy is to reduce meetings during the what-I-call “long calm phase”. This period is a long time with individual activities from your team and no escalation expected. I remember always telling people : “we talk next week even to say hello”. And that is correct but do you really need weekly meetings?
During the long phase. Just make the meetings to discuss openly important items, follow-up (monthly) action plans or to give interesting updates or to review together a gate. Here is very important to individually understand every department represented (and external) needs. Call them regularly, agree actions with them. And remember always summary of the conversations, take one or two actions related and to your action plan. Do not saturate them with small items actions unless necessary, or at least priorize.
Another important question is how to deal with items in the project meetings. One trick is to orderly program the items by department and release some of the team. But do not take it as a rule, make sure the people release is not connected on activities with others and mentioned later.
When yo make meetings at supplier/ customer/Plant /headquarters? Nowadays the more and more projects are more and more decentralized.
I strongly recommend to unite physically part of the team closer to the last and critical gates in the manufacturing location so you can both prepare location with knowledge and also get the best of your team on site. Again do not burn them with omnipresence.
The most important things about handling project meetings is that your directiveness matches with your Team and project difficulties. Wether you are the into-details Boss handling a really undefined project or a motivation based Project Manager handling a burn out elephant cemetery. You need to be aware of your input on the team and re-direct meetings to avoid conflicts or misdirection of the project. Here is important the power of feedback. Ask your team individually for opinion or just listen to them.
Finally emergencies are emergencies, but try to find a balance on disappointing people by cancelling meeting and relieving them of over meetings. The latter means that sometimes cancelling project meetings can even be productive for motivation.
Also I am a person of punctuality and responsibility. I get very upset by people not joining in. Make sure you tell the people attendance mandatory when it is (and here we go again to make few meetings but complete team). But be reasonable when needed (again know your team , their responsibilities and even their personal life. Understanding others is critical in projects. And if you organize a meeting please attend as a rule do not delegate unless you have a back up in your team.
Finally as a conclusion it is important all mentioned above before sending thirty-forty iterations of weekly project meetings !!! please reconsider, check milestones and use the meetings also to congratulate and celebrate your team from time to time !!