(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Meetings. They are a big part of project management. Because project teams must collaborate, we meet for many reasons.
This guide to project meetings will teach you:
These are the 5 types of meetings (including one I hope that you never have)
How to get the most out of each type
How to organize better meetings
These links will take you to other resources that offer brilliant tips and tricks for effective meetings.
Working together to accomplish things often means spending time together (physically or virtual) discussing tasks, making plans, and taking action.
It is in everyone’s best interest to make all types of project meetings as productive as possible.
Jean Tabaka explains 5 types of project meetings in Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills For Software Project Leaders
Retrospection meeting (post-implementation review)
The meeting that should never have taken place.
It’s important to understand how to get the most out of meetings, regardless of how unpleasant they may be.
Tip for PMI exam-takers: You can be tested on your knowledge of meeting management techniques. Before you can take your exam, you will need to be confident you are familiar with best practices in meeting management. Status meetings
Status meetings allow you to reflect on the current situation and make a report.
Agile teams have the daily update meeting. You don’t even need to be part of an agile team to have a daily standup.
How to get the most out of a status meeting
Do not repeat in a meeting what you could have written on an email.
If you provide written status updates, people will do the pre-reading.
If they don’t/won’t, devote the first 10 minutes to reading updates.
2. Planning meetings
Facilitating a planning meeting requires some effort. These sessions require more preparation than a regular status meeting.
This is evident in the kickoff meeting. It is a chance to set the tone and clarify expectations.
How to get the most out of a planning session:
Set a clear agenda
To plan with others, divide people into groups
You can either hire an external facilitator or you can facilitate your own facilitation.
By not having the HIPP present in the room, you can avoid defaulting to HIPPO (highest-paid person’s opinion).
If you have difficulty getting everyone to the same room, consider using strategies that can be used to make meetings more efficient.
3. Working sessions
This type of meeting allows you to meet with one or more people in order to accomplish a task. This is an example of peer programming.
You could be co-creating documents, creating prototypes, or drafting speeches. A working session could be used for anything that requires multiple brains to work on it.
This category also includes meetings whose main purpose is to teach someone how to do something.
How to get the most out of a working session
You should ensure that the ‘workers are matched to the task at hand. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone update a spreadsheet slowly when they have better Excel skills than you.
One exception is when the session is for coaching/peer assistance and someone is available to learn. This is obviously different.
Set clear goals and time limits for the meeting
If people claim that there is not enough time for a meeting they should call it something else.
4. Retrospective meeting
These are what Tabaka refers to as “retrospection meetings” and they could be referred to as post-implementation reviews, or look back meetings.
It’s a chance to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and what you will do differently next year. Everyone is welcome to share their opinions and thoughts.
This may sound a little too agile for your team. Then take a look at the benefits of an agile approach to meetings. It will make you more productive.
How to get the most out of a retrospective meeting