Traxidy Project Status Meetings

How to Get the Best Results from Project Team Meetings

Picture of By: Steve McBroom, CEO,  Traxidy

By: Steve McBroom, CEO, Traxidy

(Click to follow me on LinkedIn)

The Project Manager doesn’t work alone. And the greatest chance for project success is by working together with your Project Team. One way you can be more successful working with your team is to make the best use of everyone’s time when you are together as a group.

Successfully facilitating your project team meetings, as you review the latest updates, risks and new action items, is critical to your project’s success and to your success as a Project Manager.

Some meetings can be the most challenging and unpredictable interactions you can have, without a sports jersey on! Remember as facilitator you are essentially the one in charge of how the meeting proceeds and in charge of the outcome or goals of the meeting. At times, you have to walk a fine line of also being a mediator and participant as much as a facilitator.

Meetings can be the most challenging and unpredictable interactions you can have, without a sports jersey on!

Build Trust by Showing the Team You are Listening

One of the best ways to show people you are listening is to literally show them the information you are capturing from the meeting, right on the screen for everyone to see. There is no need to capture every last word, but rather the important messages, context, data and action steps.

This may take some getting used to. Your typing skills may need some improvement, but having the screen in front of the team as you listen and accurately input their updates, can build trust. This is part of what’s called ‘active listening’ and a useful tool while facilitating any meeting.

Effective project team meeting facilitation starts with preparation. Prepare and organize the project information you plan to discuss and refer to in the meeting in advance, to keep your meetings focused and productive.

Have you noticed how team members always look for their name if it might be on any screen of information, and can pick it out in an instant? Save time and have the list of information or project work items you are going to review, already sorted by action owner.

Team members always look for their name on any screen of information and can pick it out in an instant.

Park It and Stay Focused

Project Managers as facilitators walk a fine line to keep the meeting focused on the agenda (including the latest project information and updates) while also managing the flow of new information and questions that may appear to be different from the update(s) on the planned work.

When possible, use a “parking lot”, or a place to “park” or record any topic that you feel is not aligned with the meeting goals. Try to have the list where everyone can see it. This way you don’t dismiss the topic and appear to not value a person’s concerns or ideas. You acknowledge the topic or question (using your ‘active listening’ here) and you keep the meeting on track and flowing in the right direction. A win-win situation.

Here’s the best part about the parking lot. You can make the best use of the meeting time with your team, and visit the parking lot items if you have time remaining.

Don’t forget that some rules are also meant to be imposed on the facilitator themselves.

Rules?! We Don’t Need Rules for Meetings!

There’s a long list of reasons why people don’t enjoy going to meetings very much. The culture of your organization or group you are working with, will dictate the need to discuss and clarify meeting rules. Just bringing up the topic of meeting rules, can be an interesting discussion for any meeting.

A set of ground rules for meetings, can help set expectations, ensure that the team is aligned and to start everyone off with the understanding and the importance of the group’s project goals. Good discussions, free flow of information and insights that only individuals can bring, will be highly valuable to the Project Manager and the project.

Don’t be late, come prepared, speak your mind, and send someone to represent you if you can’t make it, can be some of the better rules for those expected to attend.

If there are ‘rules’ around meetings, don’t forget that some rules are also meant to be imposed on the facilitator themselves.
Start the meeting on time. Don’t forget to put in some “straggler time” if you think the culture of the organization accepts lateness, but that amount of time should be known to the team and used exactly.
Stop on time. Nothing annoys people more and takes away the trust you may have earned, by going past the time you said the meeting would be over. Effectively, winding-down the discussion as the time to stop the meeting is near, is another part of being a good facilitator .

There can be other rules for the facilitator as well:

  • Set agendas to ensure the meeting time is effective
  • Share information and updates that may have come from key stakeholders that affects the project
  • Keep the team updated on the bigger picture of the project as much as you can
  • Gather and record information accurately
  • Stay objective
  • Actively listen
  • Encourage project team collaboration and feedback and allow people to talk, discuss or debate (to a point)
  • Get a record or link of the meeting notes out to everyone in a certain timeframe after each meeting

Meetings can be different every time. No one can accurately predict exactly how a meeting will actually unfold. That’s what makes facilitating one a challenge, and something you can be proud of, when you do it successfully.

The Meeting is Over, Now What?

How does your organization expect the meeting information to be shared? The Project Management Institute (PMI PMBOK v6.0) mentions the need for Meeting Minutes to be used as a tool in the process of Meeting Management.

Meeting Minutes can be a real time-waster for a Project Manager and will not provide enough value for the effort.

Meeting Minutes can often be over-done with too much unnecessary information. If not done properly, Meeting Minutes can be a real time-waster for a Project Manager and will not provide enough value for the effort.

A little known history of the meeting minutes report is that the name is believed to come from the Latin “minuta scriptura”, meaning “small notes”. That is to say, the original intent was to get to the point with a minimal amount of information, and simply reference the actions and decisions from the meeting.

A basic, no-nonsense approach for Meeting Minutes is to (only) list the information and recent updates regarding the project and only the records that were part of the meeting.

  • Action Items, Updates, Due Dates and Owners
  • Risks and Risk Owners
  • Changes
  • Decisions Made

These will be the very items you were working on in the project status meeting. Anything else that people should know from the project meeting, can be added into a ‘comments’ area, including ‘parking lot’ items.


Conducting and facilitating project team meetings effectively needs practice to achieve smooth and consistent success. Each time you facilitate a meeting, try to go in prepared with access to all the specific reference material you’ll need and be ready with a very specific goal to achieve.

  • Set guidelines for how you want the group to interact during the meeting
  • Set out your own responsibilities to the team
  • Be prepared with the information that is to be discussed
  • Be trustworthy in recording the information
  • Be consistent
  • Listen
  • Build on each experience and learn and improve

Learn more about Traxidy, the easy-to-use, standalone Project Manager App purpose-built for individual Project Managers to help save time and increase project success. The personal project workspace makes it easier to track, manage, collaborate, and report on project action items, priorities, risks, changes, status updates, and more. Traxidy helps you to better capture meeting updates, lead and facilitate discussions and keep your meetings on track. 

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