What to Talk About in Project Team Meetings
As a project manager, you should be holding project team meetings at least once a month, often more frequently. You can have them once a week or even, on fast-moving projects, daily.
However often you bring everyone together – and whether you do it virtually or in-person – your project team meetings will cover the same topics on a regular basis.
Here is what to talk about when you get your project team together in a meeting.
The bulk of any project team meeting will be a discussion about the status of the work. This can take several forms but the most common is going round each individual and asking them to explain their progress. This status review gives you a way to track the project’s status overall.
It’s also a good idea to look forward: as well as a status report from everyone on what they have completed you should be asking them what they have to do next. This leads into a: “And do you need any help on that?” conversation so that the team has a chance to ask for and offer help to each other.
Project issues are things that have happened and are causing a problem on your project. That could be anything from not having enough people to a lazy project sponsor to not having a business case. (You don’t have a business case? Find out how to write one here.)
Talk about the project risks that you currently have on your risk register.
Then give people the opportunity to flag up any new risks that they might have identified since the last meeting.
If a new risk is raised, discuss it as a team and work out your next steps.
Your team meeting is a great place to discuss the workload of the people on the team. Who has too much work?
Who can take on more? Does anyone want to learn a new skill and is that skill being demonstrated by someone else in the not-too-distant future? Could they work shadow?
If nothing else, this discussion lets you know that the workload you are allocating to the team is OK. If not, it gives you an early warning that you’ll have to do something about it, such as moving task allocations between individuals to better flatten the overhead on the team as a whole.
It’s helpful to have a view of who is away on vacation and any holidays coming up that might affect the ability of team members to take on tasks or complete their existing work. Often you’ll find that team managers don’t pass this information on to you and you are reliant on the individuals themselves to let you know when they are off.
It could be anything from scheduled sickness absence for a holiday, paternity leave or a national holiday in their country that you didn’t know about – as you can tell, this kind of discussion is particularly important for international and virtual teams.
Any Other Business
Always have time at the end of the meeting for everyone to bring up additional points that were not covered in the main discussion.
You might not need this time, in which case you can bring the meeting to a close early. However, you may well find that there are subjects you have overlooked that others feel are important and want to discuss with the team – that’s what AOB (Any Other Business) is for.
Give the person with AOB the floor to discuss their point. Keep an eye on the time and if you feel that this is a discussion that warrants more time than you can give it right now, suggest that the item is properly covered in the next meeting or that you meet separately to talk about it in detail.