Why would you hold a team meeting? What reasons would you have to schedule a team meeting? Too often I see team meetings held for the sake of holding a meeting when there are more simpler and efficient ways that collaboration and information sharing could occur. Here are 4 reasons for team meetings that I see are valid.
To introduce the team members to each other.
I find this an invaluable exercise at the start of any project. I gather together the key members of our project team, get them together and walk them through our project. This includes explaining the background, what the business case is for the change, what our deliverables are and then I ask those present to introduce themselves and what they do. This allows the other team members to meet people that they don’t know of. It also allows those present to alert me to the fact that we should have others with us to assist. Quite often key people are picked up and added to the team at this early stage, making the difference between success and failure.
To bring everyone up to speed as to how the project is tracking.
At these meetings I talk to the team about what has been delivered in the last week. What issues have arisen; we discuss problems that have arisen; we talk about risks and items that are going to cause delays with our delivery schedule. These meetings are invaluable for me as they allow me to see where I need to be focusing my time – is it gaining more buy-in from the business stakeholders; is it seeking and gaining support for more resources; is it dealing with the businesses expectations.
To celebrate our success.
I like to hold meetings over morning tea so that we can celebrate as a team with coffee and cake. It doesn’t happen every week, or every meeting, but I do schedule these sorts of meetings at key times when we’ve met a delivery milestone, or fixed a major problem that has arisen, for example. They help with team culture and morale. The meeting is more informal and allows for some fun and laughter that perhaps might not be present when we are having our other more focused team meetings.
To deal with conflict amongst team members.
I have held a team meeting when I’ve had two waring teams who weren’t supporting what I needed to do. They were battling against each other and I wasn’t getting what I needed. I bought the two teams together in a room and asked them to explain the problem that they currently had. This proved an amazing and valuable thing to do, because all of a sudden the other team got to hear what was happening from the others perspective. They gained insight that they didn’t already have, and then amongst themselves came up with a solution with both teams working together. Another great outcome from holding a team meeting.
If you hold team meetings for these reasons, on your project, you are sure to engender more trust from your team, which will ultimately have a positive impact on delivery.
Wasting everyone’s time when there is a busy delivery schedule is not worth it. It negatively impacts on morale and you will find that team members become jaded and then do not involve themselves fully in the meeting anyway. Next time you are about to schedule a meeting, stop and consider if it is really necessary. Is there some other way to get information or gather decisions from your team members.
I used to hold one team meeting a week. I found that in doing that most team members attended, as they knew it was the one place where everything was discussed. Outside of that there was a lot of sharing and discussion that went on, so that everyone felt involved and informed even though there were not formal meetings.
Written by Karen Munro
*Photo courtesy of Ambro on Freedigitalphotos.net