PM Focus: No More Boring Meetings

PM Focus: No More Boring Meetings

This week, we worked with a client who has been struggling to achieve higher attendance and engagement in their weekly status meeting.   What are some signs that your team meeting has gone stale?

  • Long blank faces around the table
  • One or two participants doing most of the talking
  • Mysterious last minute meeting conflicts
  • Brief and repetitive status updates

What was our advice? Never have a weekly “status meeting.” Reporting status for the sake of an update is not a measure of progress.  It also does little to help move things forward.  Instead, have a goal-oriented meeting with clear desired outcomes that translate directly into results.  One developer made the issue clear in a post titled, "Please Stop Holding Project Status Meetings" on

"What makes these meetings so dreadful for me is that I'm only an active participant for two or three minutes. For the rest of the time (an hour and a half, or more, once a week, on my last project), I don't have any real involvement with what's being discussed. I'm a captive. I can neither provide any useful commentary on the discussion nor gain any useful insight from it."

How can we help the captives?  Focus the meeting on deliberate actions based on events and obstacles.  Some tips for energizing the meeting include:

  • Use a modern on-line collaboration tool
  • Change the name of the meeting to foster clear expectations
  • Match the meeting cadence to the pace of activity
  • Engage actively between meetings
  • Adjust the invite list often (smallest group possible)
  • Create the agenda collaboratively and assign topic leads
  • Vary the theme of the meeting around fresh and trending topics

Status meetings are a fixture of corporate life.  They don’t have to be the dreaded low point of the week.  We can elevate our meetings to a better place where plans evolve and problems diminish.

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