Plan and conduct efficient project meetings

Sven Flätchen


7. February 2022


Reading time: 6 min.
With our article we would like to show you our best practice for efficient and successful planning of our project meetings.
Plan project meetings and meetings efficiently

Why plan and conduct project meetings? Surely you have already taken part in meetings where you would have preferred to run headlong into the wall because it was pure organizational chaos, there was no agenda or predefined meeting points, or the agenda points were not adhered to. Or old topics are rehashed, which you thought had already been solved in previous meetings

But project meetings / meetings do not necessarily have to be sorrowful affairs. They can be quite meaningful and useful if they are carefully planned and executed. If you use project meetings properly, you can learn more about team members’ working methods; you can brainstorm, analyze problems, and make faster decisions.

Plan meetings / project meetings correctly

Preparation is king! Consider in advance, for example, the following points:

  • Define the purpose of the project meeting / meeting. This first step will help you invite the right people and allow participants to prepare for the meeting.
  • Decide who should participate and why. More is not always better. You could do as Jeff Bezos did with his two-pizza rule: Never have more people at a meeting than can be satisfied with two pizzas. OK, admittedly, pizza sizes and hunger are quite individual, but Jeff was referring to the American pizza. This is supposed to fill four people (what?), so a maximum of 8 people would be efficient for a meeting. You get the idea… Invite only as many people as makes absolute sense for the meeting. Otherwise an active exchange between all participants will hardly be possible and the whole thing will quickly degenerate into a lecture. And then you might as well write an e-mail.
  • Schedule correctly. Invite people to the meeting well in advance so that the people you want to be there also schedule the meeting with you and are actually there.
  • Determine the goal of the project meeting. Most people are more willing to attend a meeting if they know why their attendance is important.
  • Prepare a written agenda that defines the topics and times. This way everyone can see why their participation is desired, plus the agenda is your common thread for conducting the project meeting.
  • Provide the agenda and other information in advance, if necessary. This gives your participants time to think about what they want to say. This also increases the efficiency of the meeting for the project. We do this internally with our own tool.
  • Project meetings / meetings should not exceed one hour. Long project meetings or long meetings in general rob concentration and productivity steadily decreases, participants lose focus. When it comes to more complex topics, good preparation is particularly helpful. If necessary, send a small paper to everyone in advance with formulated points, or simply plan several meetings. Project meetings are also part of a successful projectmanagement.

Conduct a project meeting / meeting properly

Whether your project meeting is successful depends on how you conduct your meeting. Here are a few tips you can watch out for:

  • Start the project meeting on time, even if someone is missing. If your participants notice that you wait until the last participant arrives, then eventually everyone will be late.
  • Watch the time. This is always difficult, but pay attention to the time on your defined topics so that the times on the agenda items are not exceeded. It may help to designate one person as a “watcher” to take on this task.
  • Keep a written record of who participated, which topics were discussed and who was given which tasks. There again we would have smenso… OK, exactly, that helps you and the participants to look at the information again and to understand the distribution of tasks.
  • List the items to be discussed or worked on further after the meeting. Assign a responsible person for each point and distribute the To Dos. This way you ensure that topics are discussed at one of the next project meetings and responsibilities are clear.
  • If the right person is not present for a particular decision or information is missing, cut the discussion short and put the item on a To Do List.
  • Always end the project meeting / meeting on time. Time is precious, and just out of respect for everyone’s agenda, you should end the meeting on time and put topics that could not be discussed on the to-do list or as an agenda item for the next meeting.

The successful follow-up of your meeting / project meeting

The meeting is over, but the work usually doesn’t stop there, or it shouldn’t You’ll get the best benefit from the meeting if you prepare the post-processing with the help of tools. No, this does not mean setting up a PowerPoint and sending the PDF of it…
  • Provide minutes: Provide all participants with minutes of the project meeting with all important information while they are still “fresh” in their minds.
  • Distribute to-dos: Check the to-do list and the responsibilities again and distribute the tasks accordingly to the team or the participants of the meeting. If necessary, attach important documents to the tasks in the tool and don’t forget to set deadlines.
  • Controlling the to-do list: It can’t hurt to keep track of the progress of the tasks from the meeting. The best way to do this is with a tool like smenso, with which you can, for example, create a list view with special filters on the meeting or the people involved in your project.

Plan projects with a team all digitally, quickly and easily with one tool. Try smenso for free.

Plan project meetings and meetings efficiently

In addition to these basic tips for conducting meetings, we would like to show you some aspects for more specific types of meetings:

  • Regular team meetings (Our “Daily”. This takes place daily in the morning).
  • Spontaneous meetings in small groups where only one topic is discussed and debated.

Regular team meetings (daily meeting)

Regularly conducted team meetings enable those involved to inform each other about the state of affairs and any problems and to maintain productive, trusting interpersonal relationships. Especially in today’s world, where many people work or have to work from their home office, this is particularly important in order to maintain a certain bond among colleagues and with the company. At smenso, we conduct our so-called “Daily” every morning, in which all employees connect via a virtual video conference. Agenda items are not mandatory here.

This type of meeting also offers all participants the opportunity to once again agree on the focus of our activities and company goal, and to inform all participants about activities within and outside of the project that could have an impact on their work and thus on the overall success of smenso.

If the regular meeting applies to a specific project that is to be managed or realized over a long period of time, we recommend that you also consider the following points in this regard:

  • Even if the meeting is regular. An agenda to the meeting is also recommended.
  • Provide a status report for all stakeholders.
  • Provide Background information which relevant for the meeting.
  • Lockers discussions, that go into too much depth.Separate meetings are scheduled for this purpose, as the regular meeting is only intended to provide a joint status overview.
  • Prepare protocols about the meeting and make it available to the participants.

Spontaneous meetings

In the course of a project, problems often arise that may not have seemed relevant or been considered during the planning phase. For this, spontaneous meetings can be helpful to keep the project on track. For spontaneous meetings, we recommend a small group of participants, especially with those responsible for the project. Since problems often arise unexpectedly, we recommend that you keep the following in mind during a spontaneous meeting:

  • Make the problem clear and communicate it to the participants, explaining why the problem needs to be solved and what you want to achieve in the meeting. Explain to the participants the purpose and necessity of the meeting.
  • Think about who needs to be present at this spontaneous meeting and who could be affected by the problem – even indirectly.
  • Document the meeting and derive tasks from it. Ideally, you can enter the tasks directly in your workspace of smenso and assign the task to a person. If the task is urgent, you can mark this accordingly.
  • The meeting info must be available to all participants. If not already done, invite participants to the smenso project folder. This way, all participants have the project status and can see when the urgent tasks related to the identified problem will be solved.

Plan projects with a team all digitally, quickly and easily with one tool. Try smenso for free.

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