This post contains my recommendations to help you run a highly productive status meeting. In Part 2 of this series, I will outline exactly how I use Instant Agenda to make this easier and even more productive. You have probably been in a few status meetings if you’ve been a part of any sizable project, program, or product development effort. There are plenty of descriptions that outline what a status meeting is and how to run one.
The Foundation of a Status Meeting: KPIs
Scheduling a Status Meeting
Preparing for a Status Meeting
Starting a Status Meeting
1. Capture Last Minute Topics
It is useful to start by capturing any last-minute topics that could’ve come up. Take just a minute or two to let participants add the additional topics to the agenda. Ideally most of your topics have already been added and vetted, but it is important to collect anything that may have come up just prior to the meeting.
2. Prioritize Topics By Voting
Next, quickly review the available topics and have all participants vote on which they feel are the most urgent or most valuable to address. Your votes will be used to determine the agenda order. We recommend giving each attendee three to five votes. This step is critically important so that the most valuable topics are addressed first. Following this practice ensures that the topics are given the time that they deserve, and that there is ample time to resolve them. This way, if you do run out of time, it is the least valuable topics that are postponed or dropped.
3. Required Topics
Finally, determine if there are any mandatory topics that must precede the voted agenda. This step is not intended to countermand the vote of the group, but rather to address certain topics that must precede the others logistically. A good example might be to review all open action items from the previous meeting session.
Discussion & Facilitation
Use a Topic Timer
The best solution it is to prioritize your topics as described above and then set a short timebox to start the topic (for example, five or ten minutes). The timer helps keep everyone focused. When the timer runs out, take a quick vote on whether there is value in continuing the discussion. Add more time if the group wants to continue. If a majority votes to stop discussion before the desired outcome is reached, ask someone to take an action item to figure out next steps to move the topic forward offline. In most cases, the issue has come down to one or two people who must settle a few details – you don’t need to take everyone’s time for this.
Essentially, you’re using frequent check-ins to manage your time. This keeps everyone moving towards the goal and also makes it obvious when you are not making forward progress.
Timeboxing is a great way to ensure your discussion stays on track. Start with a short timebox and adjust as needed after checking in with your team.
Collaborative Notes, Action Items and Decisions
Latest posts by Michael Ball (see all)
- How I Run Informal Meetings Using “Quick Meeting” - January 30, 2018
- How to Run a Status Meeting (If You Must) – Part II - January 19, 2018
- How to Run a Status Meeting (If You Must) – Part I - January 19, 2018