September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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Why not use a visual task board (online) which team members updated regularly (ideally daily) to indicate the status of their work and any blocked work items? That plus brief daily standup calls can eliminate the need for inefficient weekly status meetings.
Juan - I certainly applaud your efforts thus far. Trying new things, using the technology and capabilities available, and striving to the most efficient and effective use of everyone's time while satisfying the overall intent.
Based on your summary, it is working with having them update the planner board ahead of time. That is great. Exactly what the tool is intended for. Centralize and make available the information. Still a good idea to have the call to get everyone together. Even if only for 15 or 30-minutes. It's a good opportunity to socialize the progress, identify dependencies or risks, and as we all know, a comment from one can spawn a conversation amongst others. Also, why not ask your team. What is effective for them?
Lastly, maybe try video calls through Teams as a means to change things up. Maybe a little uncomfortable at first, but it becomes normal.
Create some forms and have them to fill regularly
I agree with Kiron. A Scrum board that team members update at the end of each day, and daily standups that are 10-15 minutes at most. Any other discussions needed should follow and only include those that need to be there.
Efficient meetings are something that takes real work to make happen. I've spent a lot of time and effort in that area. I try to make it so that people want to attend my meetings because it will save everyone a lot of effort. I have to play "bad cop" a bit to do that, but once people know me they know that I am saving them time not wasting it.
A couple quick tips:
- Be very clear on the purpose of the meeting. Status only? Info sharing, technical integration, or anything else included? If you sometimes wonder why you are meeting, I assure you others are too. The more value people see, the more they will support it.
- Be prepared, and set the tone that others should be too. Project meetings should be focused and crisp, not a journey of discovery.
- Make an agenda and stick to it. That is your outlined plan and demonstrates a commitment on your part to stick to the plan and the schedule. You ask others to honor the schedule; honor your own.
- What you need to achieve from the meetings dictate both length and frequency. If you don't think you have enough to discuss, cancel it and get what you need offline. If you need more, set up side meetings. Length and frequency required will change throughout a project. There are patterns to observe and adjust to.
- If you can get people to provide status before the meeting, that is HIGHLY recommended but it can be hard to make happen, especially if things are changing rapidly You can work on that though. If they do their homework, the meeting goes quickly.
- Do not spend all your time making people watch you type. Take notes, write minutes, and send out the minutes for concurrence. Writing the minutes in your words actually gives you a lot of control on the plan.
I'm very opinionated on the subject and could go on, but those are some of the top ones that come to mind.
The only things that work is to show people that you will help them to perform tasks related to project. Between those tasks is the update of project tasks. The first mistake is to request an update, project manager must help them to update those activities. You have to demostrate people the value for each time and space they invest on the project. All the other things are simple methods and techniques so it will not change the situation.
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