Project Management

The Wisdom of 30-Minute Project Status Meetings

Kevin P Korterud is an Associate Director in Accenture’s Delivery Excelleence practice and currently serves as a as a subject matter expert in the areas of high performance Project, Program and Agile Product Delivery. In addition, he serves as a thought leader in harmonizing Waterfall/Agile delivery as well as in the design, build and implementation of Enterprise, Transformation and Program PMOs.

We’ve all been there…

Due to inherent complexity, it seems like project status meetings these days have become longer, are attended by people that have (at best) tangential involvement, and tend to wander with the desire to check off as many of last week’s “open” meeting items as possible. They become more a point of dread than a venue for impactful narrative, especially when it comes to the subject of project uncertainties.

During my MBA studies, I had a finance professor that spent a fair amount of time distinguishing between risk and uncertainty. When managing projects, it’s often straightforward to arrive at a sufficient slate of risks that can be identified and managed. However, the ability to truly navigate around dangerous project situations lies in the ability to identify uncertainties. You can find this skill in project managers that have that combination of experienced wisdom as well as having a sense when things are not right.

As a capable project manager, I make sure that in advance of a status meeting, I know my current position, trajectory and slate of key risks. With a modest amount of time in a meeting spent affirming the status information, I move into what I consider to be potential areas of uncertainty around people, process and technology. To a great degree, I desire to have project status meetings repurposed as …

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