5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 4: Meetings


The fourth chapter covers the Integration Knowledge Area, and there are six processes that comprise this area. Out of these six processes, the following four of them have “Meetings” as a Tool & Techniques

  • 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work
  • 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work
  • 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control
  • 4.6 Close Project or Phase

I wanted to write this post on what PMBOK® has to say about the different types and formats of meetings, as well as the requirements for a well-run meeting.

1. Meeting Purposes

The following is a summary of the different types of meetings. What the PMBOK® Guide means by “types” is what the purpose
of the meeting is.

Type Explanation
1. Information exchange Information is presented from project manager to team members and vice versa
2. Brainstorming, evaluation of options, design Interactive exploration of ideas, options, or design objectives and/or requirements
3. Decision making Options are evaluated with the goal of making a decision which one to take and then implementing it

The PMBOK® Guide basically recommends having one purpose for the meeting and purpose only, and not mixing the three types mentioned above.

2. Meeting Formats

Format Explanation
1. Face-to-Face When participants are all in the same location: most effective format for meetings
2. Virtual Meeting via audio or video conferencing tools: requires additional preparation and organization to be as effective as face-to-face meetings

In addition, each type of meeting may be formal or informal. Formal meetings are for major milestones of the project such as the kickoff meeting, or the closing of the project. Informal meetings are more of the regular work meetings of the project. Formal meetings will require more stakeholders in attendance, those that are both involved in the project work and those that are concerned or affected by the work of the project; informal meetings will involve those that are just involved in the project work.

Virtual teams that are international pose additional linguistic, technological, and cultural challenges. For a review of these challenges, see the following blog post which contains a review of an Economist webinar on this topic:

https://4squareviews.com/2012/10/03/working-together-how-to-manage-virtual-teams-across-borders-an-economist-webinar/

3. Meeting Requirements

Meetings where everyone “goes around the room” reporting their status are boring for the participants, as are “death by Powerpoint” meetings where people use slide shows for their presentations and read each slide as if it were the script for their presentation.

Here’s what the PMBOK® Guide recommends for an effective meeting

Requirement Explanation
1. Attendants The project manager, the team members, and the appropriate stakeholders (those involved in the meeting purpose) must attend the meeting.
2. Roles Those attending the meeting must have defined roles (leader, facilitator, note-taker, etc.) WHILE the meeting takes place.
3. Agenda A well-defined agenda must be circulated BEFORE the meeting which gives the

  • Purpose
  • List of attendees
  • Objective(s)
  • Time-frame
4. Minutes The general points made at the time of the meeting and actions items that need to be followed up on must be compiled in meeting minutes which are circulated AFTER the meeting to the involved and concerned stakeholders.

These meeting categories are designed to make sure that the meeting that is effective in that achieves its purpose, but also efficient in that it does it at a minimum of time taken from everyone’s busy schedule. This will make people more willing and less reluctant to take part in them.

After this weekend’s posts on a webinar regarding Myanmar, I will return next week to a discussion of the fifth process of the Integration Knowledge Area, that of process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control.

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