Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Today, we will talk about the subject of what are the most important meeting in project management and how to organize them.
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Know how to organize and hold meetings is quite an essential skill for project managers. We could say that project manager is the hardest job in the world, because not only the project managers have to motivate the team members to work for them but also have to listen to the orders of their leaders. Without any formal executive power in a matrix organization, project managers have to learn how to “borrow” power from their leaders to perform all the work of resource management and stakeholder management. And the most effective and important way to “borrow” power is to organize meetings. Every effective meeting is like a “Game of Power” for project managers to use their leader’s power to affect all the team members.
Therefore, a project manager who knows how to organize various meetings is a smart and effective project manager.
There are four meetings that are most important for the project manager to manage all the team members or stakeholders.
1. Kick-off meeting
The project kick-off meeting is the most important meeting in the process of project management, but the fact is the importance of kick-off meetings is very easy for project managers to forget.
The main purpose of the kick-off meeting is to notify the official initiation of the project and to introduce the overall situation of the project to all key stakeholders and team members. The essential contents of this meeting are not much, which is the reason why many project managers think the kick-off meeting is too formalized and has no big effect to push the project forward, especially those who just start their project management career.
But for the experienced project managers, the kick-off meeting is not only the symbol of the formal initiation of the project but also the best timing for them to “borrow” the leader’s power and gain the power for project management. Therefore, in their point of view, not only the kick-off meeting must be held, but also: the grander the better, the more stakeholders come to attend the meeting the better, the bigger leaders the better, and the more support from the leaders the better.
The kick-off meeting is the first step for project managers to gain their power, and also is the most important step. Hence, all project managers should pay much attention to it.
2. Regular project meeting
If the kick-off meeting is the meeting in which the project manager gains his power, then the regular project meeting is the meeting in which the project manager can execute his power. The behavior of project management would be presented in every regular meeting.
To organize a regular meeting, the meeting room does not need to be too big, a normal office is usually sufficient enough for the meeting. And it does not require a fixed specific time for holding the meeting, any time in a workday is feasible. The form of the meeting does not need to be specific as well. It can be a simple stand-up meeting if it’s short and has not many attendees. It also can be a video conference if the attendees are distributed in different locations. The team members or stakeholders who need to attend the meeting should not be too many, just the ones who really have problems or information to communicate should attend it.
The essential of the regular meeting is the word “regular”, which means the project manager has to regularize it and make the team members accept that it is a normal meeting during the project. In the regular meeting, every attendee has to give feedback on the allocated tasks and project problems, and discuss how to push the project forward. As mentioned above, this is the meeting where the project manager’s power can be reflected.
Finally, the decisions made by the regular meetings must be communicated to all relevant stakeholders, especially the relevant leaders. In this way not only can the project manager enhance his influence, but also let the leaders know the project manager is making some progress in the project.
3. Decision-making meeting
Power comes with responsibility. The project manager “borrows” power from his leaders through kick-off meeting, which means he has to take the corresponding responsibility.
But in reality, when it comes to making essential decisions for some key problems, without a formal executive power the project manager may not be able to take all the responsibility and risks. Especially when the decision involves spending much more money or requires more human resources to solve a problem, the project manager normally would not have the authority to make such a decision.
And that’s why the decision-making meeting is needed in this situation. The main purpose of the decision-making meeting is to ask the relevant leaders who have the equivalent power to perform an endorsement when making big decisions. In this way, if the decision causes some problems and negative effects afterward, the project manager can still protect himself using the endorsement of the leaders.
For the decision-making meeting, the project manager and the project team should develop some feasible solutions and plans for resolving certain problems in advance. And during the meeting, the project manager should explain the problems and solutions to the leaders in detail and list all the pros and cons of the solutions. And let the leaders make the final decisions.
4. Final review meeting
A project review meeting is a meeting on which all relevant stakeholders and customers/clients come to review all the project deliverables and signed the acceptance documentation.
For the final review meeting, the project manager must invite all the key stakeholders. Who are the key stakeholders for this event? Well, if someone says “no” to the final product and will cause the product not able to be accepted, then this person will be one of the key stakeholders.
If the final review meeting is held successfully, and all stakeholders have signed all the acceptance documents, then the project would be officially over. At this point, the power which the project manager has “borrowed” from his leaders, and his organization would be returned. And the equivalent responsibility would also be discharged at the same time. For the project manager, the “Game of Power” is over.
In summary, this article introduces the four most important meetings for project manager during project managing and discuss how the project manager should borrow, execute, and return the “power” of the project management.