Avoiding Chaos in Meetings
Unless a project only involves one person, there are going to be meetings to discuss requirements or tasks or testing or issues or risks or any number of topics that cannot be decided by one person. It often falls to project managers to facilitate meetings whether they are responsible for it or not. With remote resources and matrixed project teams, meetings can quickly dissolve into chaos where no one is paying attention. Instead, some attendees are chatting amongst themselves or looking at their smartphones, one person has started ranting about a topic totally unrelated to the project and the people on the phone have the meeting on mute while they discuss a recent sporting event.
Fortunately, the prepared project manager has a few tricks up his or her sleeve to keep the meeting from turning into a complete waste of time. These tricks are nothing magical--they are simply common sense applied in a careful manner, and it is important to revisit them in order to keep the focus sharp in meetings. After all, if a few minutes can be saved by facilitating meetings, then the entire project and project team will benefit.
Behind every great meeting is a great agenda. Yet many agendas get cluttered up with lists of attendees, meeting location, minutes from previous meetings, etc. All of these things are certainly needed, but they do not keep a meeting on track.
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