The Status Review
Status Meetings are the means by which information can be disseminated to stakeholders at the same time. These events allow for the discussion of project progress and suggestions for improvements and requests for change. The two types of status meetings are:
- The Team Meeting
- Project Stakeholder’s Meeting
Team meetings involving the project implementation team can occur daily during periods of high activity. These meetings are usually brief (30 minutes or less), outline the day’s goals and any changes to team members’ tasks. As project activity tapers off, these team meetings will likely occur less frequently and be curtailed at the end of the project. Higher level project status meetings may occur on a weekly basis to keep project stakeholders apprised of how work is progressing. Contrasted with the daily team meetings, these gatherings are attended by technical managers and the project clients. The meetings provide the opportunity to share information, discuss common problems, and review new techniques. The meeting gives the project managers opportunity to seek input and offer and solicit comments from the team. Meeting minutes are an essential output of each team or project status meeting. This communication medium documents such things as important points covered in the meeting, questions raised, tasks completed and action items to be worked on before the next meeting. Many project teams use meeting minutes to begin the agenda at subsequent meetings, by reviewing the status of any open items. The status meeting is a work meeting between the project manager and the project team. It occurs on a continuing basis at some regular interval appropriate to the project, usually weekly or semi-weekly. Remember that tasks developed should not exceed two status periods. If they cannot be reduced to this length, then interim status goals should be set. This meeting is always preceded by a written agenda and an open task report (OTR) that is distributed to all involved at least one to two days beforehand. Some project teams rotate the meeting facilitator role, thus giving all team members a sense of ownership for the project. A typical status meeting agenda would cover the following:
- Items from sponsor, management, and customers
- Using the Open Task Report, get a status of every task that should have been started or completed since the last status meeting. Discuss any problems and if action is required include it in the OTR for the next meeting. Every action should have a deliverable, a person responsible, and a due date. Don’t try to solve problems that are too big for the meeting. If a problem takes more than its allotted time, assign it as an action item in the new OTR.
- Review the readiness for next week’s tasks in the OTR. Review the resource assignments. Check for any known obstacles.
- Develop an open task report for the next status meeting.
Using an agenda like this, the facilitator can move through the topics quickly and avoid tangential discussions and problem solving.
For our brief status review meeting, I’d like you to prepare a one page overview describing to me where you are in the project. Please use the following headings in your status review document.
- Overall Status: Are you on schedule and will you be ready with a quality solution?
- Paper Progress:
- How are you progressing with the paper?
- Have you done any of your research and have you found good resources?
- If not, where do you plan to look?
- How are you going to divide up the labor?
- Are you working on a draft yet?
- Is your team functioning well?
- Is everyone doing their part?
- Do you have any major challenges you need help with?