Project Management Training Manual 3.1 - Preparation for Project Meetings

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Objective: PCI project managers (PM) need to operate at a high level of performance in order to set the standard for the rest of the team to follow. Periodic project meetings are essential in bringing the team together to report on the status of old action-items and assign new action-items in order to move the project to the next phase. The PM typically will conduct the project meetings in order to efficiently conduct the meeting and make the meeting productive for all team members. The following email and document control ideas should strongly be considered when preparing for a meeting.
  1. Manage Email In-Box Daily - Start by reading emails each day from the oldest to the newest. Find emails that supersede others and then file the email that has been superseded (Reference Electronic Filing System section of PMTM, which needs to be followed to quickly retrieve documents when needed). The PM should be cognoscente of attachments and all information included in the email. Review the final email and either:

         a. Simply file the email.

         b. Print & put the email in your project folder as a New Item for Discussion or hand write a reference to the meeting minute item # on the email. The email will then be reviewed again during the Final Meeting Preparation just prior to the next meeting (see item 3 below).

         c. Respond to the email. Summarize all applicable action-items (1, 2, 3, 4, etc) in order to make sure all parties clearly understand who is responsible for following up. This email now goes into your out-box for further management.

      2. Manage Email Out-box Daily - Briefly review emails that have been superseded and file those that no longer apply. For those emails that have been responded to, the response is now in your in-box and will be managed appropriately as a part of the in-box management (see item 1 above). For emails that have not been responded to and are old (a couple of days), then develop a respectful and professional email reminder by replying to your out-box email. (This maintains the paper trail and lets the recipient know that you have not forgotten about the action-item.)

    3. One Day Prior to Project Meeting - Final Meeting Preparation:

         a. Review Meeting Minutes.

          b. Make hand-notes on the minutes of any updated information. Some of these updates could come from emails in your folder. These notes allow you to hit the highlights of the item in the meeting in a concise manner without having to read the entire email in the meeting. (You may choose to take the email with you for reference if needed). Use dates of documents/emails in the minutes in order to continue the paper trail documentation.

         c. Make notes on minutes of phone discussions that are applicable to particular items. It is strongly recommended to do a confirming email to a phone discussion, especially if commitments are made. This now puts verbal commitments in writing.

         d. Emails that have not been answered will likely need to be discussed during the project meeting and added to the minutes as a New Item Discussion, therefore, print applicable out-box emails to discuss during the meeting. The PM will then transfer the applicable information to the minutes and the out-box email is now superseded by the minutes.

        e. Summarize, by hand-written notes, all PR's, ASI's, RFI's in the appropriate parts of the minutes, including Pending Changes. (This will keep the meeting moving and assure that the pM is up to speed on all potential cost changes.)

        f. In order to lead an efficient and time productive meeting, be aware of all issues.

        g. Agendas - If the meeting is not a follow up meeting, then be sure to distribute an agenda prior to the meeting.

  1. During the Project Meeting - The PM will take brief notes on the old set of minutes during the course of the meeting. Clearly document the key issues and the responsible party to follow up (see PMTM Meeting Minutes section).
  2. Directly following a Project Meeting - Begin preparation for the next meeting:

       a. The PM will dictate the notes to give to a typist. There may be action-items that the PM is responsible to follow up on. The PM should develop a separate to-do-list and follow up immediately. (Many times follow up from the PM can be done and the minutes can document the results of the follow up). You may want to ask the typist to send you an email reminder of your action items or request confirmation that an action item has been completed. It is critical that the PM fulfills follow up responsibilities, especially since the PM will be holding others accountable for their commitments.

     6. Other Cost and Document Control Items - Many times the PM will get Change Orders or Contract Authorizations during the week that need to be updated on either (1) the Budget/Actual Report or (2) a Change Order Log. As these documents are received, the PM should:

       a. Hand-write any new authorizations in the appropriate category on the Budget/Actual Report and put a sticky-tag to mark the update that needs to take place electronically. The hand-written note should read something to the affect of" *New...PO# - description of contract, Vendor...Cost...From *category. The communicates information for the PM Assistant to update the B/A Report.

      b. Print the authorization document and hand-write on the document the following check-boxes that should be checked off when complete. Once all items are checked off, then the hard-copy can be filed for a paper trail of B/A authorizations (contract file):

       - B/A

      - CO Log

       - Minutes

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