5 ways you can make status meetings worth your while

New research shows 36% of UK workers think the ‘status meeting’ – the weekly team meeting where progress on projects is discussed – is a waste of time. While some management experts agree, we think the status meeting can be effective – if done properly.

Here are 5 things to think about.

We’re all familiar with the status meeting – the weekly team meet where you talk through ongoing projects with your team. Thing is, not everyone thinks they’re a great idea – last year they were called “the biggest waste of time in business today” in a business blog post.

Older Businessman Giving Presentation to Younger Audience

And a December 2014 survey by Clarizen, a technology firm, found over a third of UK workers think status meetings are boring and unnecessary.

Actually, we’d argue status meetings are a good idea – if done properly. They help you:

 – project-manage effectively
 – communicate progress transparently
 – spot problems early on

But it’s also true that if status meetings aren’t planned and executed properly, they won’t do their job. Here are 5 ideas for making the status meeting work.

1. Keep it short

Status meetings need to be kept short, sweet and to the point. If not, participants can become disinterested. Those that run for hour after hour can actually do more harm than good.

One way to keep things to a minimum is to have everyone standing up, rather than sitting down. The decision to get rid of chairs also encourages participation, as no one can hide by slouching in their seat.

Remember, you can always host separate sessions for specific issues, so there’s no need to cover everything at once.

2. Hand out an agenda

An agenda tells participants what to expect during the meeting. You can hand this out at the start, or a day or two in advance, it’s entirely up to you. Either way, those involved will know what’s up for discussion.

This should include a list of key points, as well as walk through all of the tasks due to be completed in the coming weeks. It’s also the place to share any news that affects the project in question – just keep it brief.

3. Cap action items

To prevent meetings dragging on – and to maintain enthusiasm – limit action items to as few as possible. Three or fewer is ideal.

Focussing on a select few will bring solutions, as opposed to leading you down dead ends. If you know something can’t be solved yet, don’t bring it up in the meeting. Talking about it will only waste time.

Birdseye View of Meeting and People Shaking Hands4. Encourage contributions

Allocating an adequate amount of discussion time is crucial to status meetings, so always give participants time to have their say.

Q&A is how problems are solved and things get done. It also gives you another opportunity to reinforce key points that you have picked up during the week leading up to the meeting, or in the meeting itself.

5. Finish with a status summary

To keep the project moving in the right direction, you should wrap things up with a status summary.

List conclusions reached during the meeting, plus outline action items to be achieved in the coming weeks. Always end on a positive – this keeps everyone upbeat and should facilitate effective teamwork.


Posted by Julie Tucker

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