I remember the first project that I managed. It was an ERP project for a client and the existing project manager was leaving to take a position with another company. At about 9:00 in the morning the PM said “Since I am leaving, why don’t you run the status meeting today?” The meeting was for 10:00 and I said “sure, no problem”. Well, the managing V.P. from my firm was in attendance that day.
We had the usual 30 person status meeting. I was a little nervous, but I felt the meeting went well. After the meeting, the VP wanted to meet to go over how the meeting went and for me to get his feedback. Well, it was a meeting I would not soon forget. He read me the riot act! He let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I NEVER conduct a meeting without a meeting agenda. The perception was that I, and the firm, where unprepared. He stated that there was not the FLOW of a properly prepared meeting.
I learned my lesson that day, and he turned out to be one of my best mentors. He was right, of course. The next meeting, I had the Agenda prepped days in advance and ran it by him just to make sure that it was appropriate.
- What is an agenda?
- It is a list is a list of the individual items that need to be discussed to achieve the meeting’s broad aims
- Agendas may be drawn up and circulated to all participants before the meeting, or they may be agreed at the actual meeting.
- Why is an agenda important?
- Helps you prepare
- Communicates expectations for the meeting
- Provides a mechanism for order and control
- Limits the tasks and participants
- Helps measure success/failure of a meeting
- Describes your objective(s) for the meeting and creates an outline of the steps to get to the goal
- Assigns time buckets and set time limits
- Schedules items in order of importance
Here is the Mind Map template that I use for any meeting:
All this will fill out a standard Meeting Agenda template:
I know this may seem simplistic, but this will make your meetings more efficient and will give the attendees a feeling of confidence in the meeting organizer. As a PM, you represent not only yourself, but also the organization. The perception of professionalism is built at the start and it is up to you to maintain it.