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Guidelines and Rules For Meetings

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By Paul Bowsakowski, PMP

Meetings have a potential to be “time wasters” on projects. These guidelines/rules should be followed in order to avoid wasting time in MEETINGS:

All meetings should have an agenda. The agenda should be published/distributed at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

  • The meeting purpose should be stated clearly in the agenda: information; status; issue development; planning; etc. If attendees need to read another document to be prepared for the meeting, then issue the document with the agenda.
  • The individual who calls the meeting is responsible for meeting discipline.
  • Always start meetings on time and do not allow the meeting to vary from the agenda.
  • Routine meetings should be scheduled in the morning. Try to avoid afternoon meetings.
  • Meetings should be limited to 10 people or fewer. Whoever calls the meeting should select attendees carefully.
  • Meetings should be limited to 29 minutes. Take a timer if you need to do so. There is one exception: Planning Meetings should not be limited to time constraints.
  • Meetings are not debating opportunities. Issues should be presented clearly and carefully without attempting to place blame.
  • Meetings should NOT be used to solve issues. Issues should be assigned as action items to a small group of three or fewer. The group should do research and should present recommendations as soon as possible or when directed by the meeting chair.
  • Attendees should be attentive and should NOT carry on “side discussions” while the meeting is underway.
  • Meeting Notes should be prepared and distributed within one hour after the meeting.
  • Meeting Notes should:
    • Document key decisions made
    • Document direction given by: the customer; project manager, etc.
    • Contain action items along with the names of the individuals responsible to prepare recommendations.
    • Have a distribution list containing attendees and those who “need to know” the meeting results.
    • Become part of the official project records.

 If Project team members follow these guidelines/rules, project meetings will be more productive and more professional.

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