A Project Manager’s Guide to Efficient Project Meetings

By Jake Moyer, Senior Project Manager
Making sure that project meetings are efficient—and useful—is no small task, so we asked one of our Project Managers, Jake Moyer, to share his advice on the subject.
“As a project manager, I am generally the person running the meeting. Therefore, it is my duty to ensure that the meeting stays on task. It is critical to the project that I stand my ground regarding expectations and conflicts, acting as the owner’s best advocate at all times.”


Top Tips for Efficient Project Meetings

1. Develop, and stick to, a solid agenda

Project meetings necessitate covering a lot of information within a relatively brief amount of time. It’s crucial to develop a detailed and cohesive agenda to keep the meeting moving along smoothly and ensure that you cover all desired topics. Stick to your agenda and make sure all items are discussed.

2. Review previous meeting minutes

Meeting minutes from previous project meetings are always a good start for an agenda. You also want to cover the previous meeting minutes to tie up any remaining loose ends and refresh everyone’s memories about what was previously discussed.

3. Ensure the right subcontractors are at the meeting

Make sure that the appropriate subcontractors are present at the meeting in order to discuss the issues at hand. For example, it is worthless to talk about plumbing, if the plumbing subcontractor is not present at the meeting.

4. Invite the right owner representatives to the meeting, if necessary

Owner representatives are not always required to attend project meetings, but in some cases, it is both appropriate and important. Make sure that the right owner representative—one who can answer questions and provide the necessary input—is invited.

5. Stay firm and advocate for the owner

As a project manager, I am generally the person running the meeting. Therefore, it is my duty to ensure the meeting stays on task. More importantly, it is my duty to ensure that the project is moving along smoothly. At times, I must stay firm with my expectations of subcontracted work or scheduling conflicts. It is critical to the project that I stand my ground and act as the owner’s best advocate at all times.

6. Gather everyone’s thoughts and questions

Each person at the meeting should have the opportunity to voice any questions or thoughts they may have. Although not all questions can be answered on the spot, it’s important to get those questions on paper and develop a plan for responding.

7. Discuss significant issues

During a project meeting, it is both fitting and expected that significant issues will be discussed. If a problem has arisen or is anticipated, it is imperative to discuss that problem as soon as possible. The sooner an issue is tackled the better.

8. Talk about impacts to schedule

With all projects, the schedule can be a moving target. As timelines move around for materials or subcontracting, the schedule can be impacted. Review scheduling expectations and discuss how to make sure the schedule is followed as closely as possible.

9. Handle conflict appropriately

There are times that conflict may arise during a project or project meeting. Any disagreement must be handled in a professional and direct manner. After the project meeting, I will often have a separate meeting to handle any issues directly and avoid dragging the conflict into the original meeting.

10. Prepare and distribute meeting minutes

Almost as important as holding the meeting is the documentation of the meeting’s events. It is incredibly important that all meeting conversations are captured and incorporated into the meeting minutes. Distribute meeting minutes to the necessary parties in order to keep everyone on the same page and communicate clearly and efficiently.

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For more information regarding project management, contact Jake Moyer at 717.581.9967 or email JMoyer@HorstGroup.com.

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