Project Management

Methods to Stop Meeting Madness (Part 2): What’s Your Agenda?

Dan leads the Project Management Office of The Medical University of South Carolina's Office of the CIO. He also owns PM One, LLC (www.pmone.net), a leading project management training company serving the Southeast USA. Dan is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS), and a HIMSS Fellow (FHIMSS).

As project managers, we attend or lead a variety of meetings, but most can be summed up into just a few basic types:

  • Daily standups/check-ins
  • Tactical/recurring meetings (status updates)
  • Outcome driven (risk identification, risk prioritization, etc.)
  • Problem solving (issues, risks, etc.)

As you move down the above list, the need for strong and experienced facilitation goes up. Daily standups are, by design, not facilitated by anyone. They are driven by the needs of the team and are an open discussion about the work to be performed that day. If anything, they are “vaguely facilitated” by someone whose only job is to ensure that the team is following any project methodology they are using--but in reality, it is the team itself who manages the meeting.

The tactical meetings, which are typically weekly or biweekly meetings where project statuses are discussed, are completely different. These meetings require an agenda and facilitation, but the facilitation is frequently performed by the project manager. What sets these meetings apart from many others is that their agenda should be progressive (as in progressively elaborated)!

A sound agenda for such a meeting may include a few minutes to approve minutes (which should have been read before the meeting), and then one to two minutes per person to provide a general update on their …


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