Why Project Teams Should Meet Frequently

There’s nothing worse than a meeting with no point. People sit around a conference room table thinking about their email inboxes filling up and tasks on their to-do list that still aren’t done and are going to have to wait even longer.

If a project or group has too many useless meetings, people eventually stop coming. They lose interest in the topic and after a while defy the social pressure to come.

Project managers need to make sure their meetings are productive because it is important for project teams to meet frequently. Here are several reasons why frequent meetings are good for a project.

The project manager can hold people accountable for tasks.

project team talking in a circle
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

While the entire project team is responsible for accountability, the project manager sets the example for how team members will hold one another accountable. The project sponsor can also set a tone of accountability at the project kickoff meeting. But again, it is the project manager’s job to model appropriate accountability.

Holding project team members accountable is not complicated, but people tend to shy away from it. Even when project team members are professional and civil in holding others accountable, the situation can get tense. People naturally avoid being held accountable and holding others accountable. They fear the discomfort that can happen, so they simply avoid it hoping someone else will do the dirty work or people follow through without needing prompting from others.

A project managers must be the first one to have the courage to hold others accountable. If the project manager doesn’t do it, there is a good chance no one else will. If no one holds others accountable, the project can spiral out of control.

Project managers should build accountability into projects. Some of the key ways they do this are gaining commitments publicly and following up on commitments in the same way. A project team member has no reason to be surprised or offended when a project manager or another team member asks about a commitment that was made publicly.

Project team members can help one another remove barriers.

As a project team works through the tasks on the work breakdown structure, they are bound to experience problems or barriers preventing them from completing their tasks on time, within budget or up to quality standards. When an individual or subgroup within the team runs into barriers, the first place they should go is to the rest of the team.

The membership of a project team is often crafted strategically. Each person brings particular knowledge, skills, abilities and connections to the project. Where one person may not get traction on resolving an issue, another may have just the right attributes to get the issue moving.

Celebrate little successes.

Not every milestone needs a cake, but project successes need to be celebrated along the course of the project. Sure, you might order a cake when a software release rolls out, but the team also needs to acknowledge and take pride in the little achievements that lead up to the rollout. Keeping with the software rollout example, the team needs to reflect on its success at the end of requirements gathering, the completion of quality assurance testing and the end of user acceptance testing.

A congratulatory email is nice, but it doesn’t compare to sitting in the same room with a team to enjoy shared success. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big party or even a special event. Team members just need to internalize the success so that it can motivate them toward the next milestone or deliverable.