No more pointless meetings please!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind at Whiteboard Consulting, requiring serious time management skills. First, we’ve been delivering our Process Improvement, Project Management, and Data Analysis courses for one of our clients. We’ve also been helping another client with General Management activities. And perhaps most importantly it’s birthday month for us (Ruth celebrated her birthday on Sunday and mine is on Thursday… Happy Birthday to us!) Let me tell you, all that requires some serious time management skills. (Interested in our curriculum for your business? Check out our Whiteboard University series we will be offering to the public this summer!)

So today I thought I would focus on project management and provide you with some tips to help manage your time and energy in the most efficient way possible.

In some organizations project management can be a highly developed function with an entire Project Management Office facilitating the organization of projects and timelines. However, other organizations might not be ready for this rigorous approach, so we’ve developed some simple “entry level” tips for using project management techniques to be Better, Faster and Cheaper. Let’s review the basics first.

What is a project anyway?

“A project is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product service, or result. It is NOT an activity undertaken as part of regular operational business.” (Click to Tweet.)

It follows that anything that you don’t do over and over again is a project, and can benefit from basic project management skills.

The cool thing is that some of those tips can help you time manage just about anything! What about using some project management basics to have more effective meetings, for example?

Have you ever been to a meeting where you are going over what happened at the last meeting? Or where no one completed the tasks that were supposedly agreed upon? Or where things just never seem to happen to any timeline?

Three Project Management Steps that Can Also End Pointless Meetings

1. Have a plan.

Always have an agenda for a meeting so people are prepared, and you don’t waste the meeting time realizing no one brought the necessary information to the table to make a decision. If possible take minutes so that anyone missing can catch up at the future meeting without needing to rehash this week’s content at next week’s meeting.

2. Hold people accountable.

Included with your agenda and minutes, have an action list that clearly outlines who is responsible for a task and when it is due. Review this action list at every meeting to hold people accountable for their tasks. If you are super keen, add an issues/decision log as well so that as new team members join the regular meetings, they are up to speed on things that have already been discussed and decided on. This helps nip “What if we do it this way” conversations in the bud.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Ugh. So cliche, but so true. Communicate the agenda, minutes, and lists in a few different ways. Send them by email for those who want to read and digest on their own and ask questions later, and also read them aloud in the meeting. Everyone digests information differently, and this allows everyone to be involved at their own level. They key thing here, is to not let up. Don’t let minutes and agendas fall to the wayside because everything seems to be going well. That is precisley the time to persevere and be tenacious and keep prodding along.

These simple tips can help make meetings Better.Faster.Cheaper. People will be prepared, not need to re-hash conversations, discussions, and decisions, and you can get things done on time! Sounds easy right? I get it. Doing this stuff is a royal pain – but, I promise that the effort put in is far less painful than that of never moving forward.

Want a quick and easy template for agendas,minutes, and action lists? Just send us a note and we’ll send you a template for one that makes the whole process a snap. Give us a shout via Twitter @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper or email us atinfo@whiteboardconsulting.ca/staging.

Tweets by @WhiteboardCons

Until next week,
Nicole

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