Posted by: nedpelger | August 8, 2008

The Joy of Job Meetings

This week I ran three job meetings for three separate jobs. My current projects under construction:

  1. 320 apartment units in 11 buildings (some 3 story and some 4 story)
  2. 76,000 sf, 3 story church addition which includes 7 performance venues and a floor of offices
  3. 50,000 sf factory and office building

I mostly work as a Project Manager these days, trying to get the projects designed and built efficiently, quickly and well. Over the years, I’ve found a job meeting every two weeks help us focus on the overall job problems and direction.

The Superintendents and Foremen of the various trades meet much more often (daily if you include impromptu meetings), but those meetings tend to focus on the coordination of the moment. The bi-weekly job meeting forces us to consider the overall cost, schedule and performance issues on the project. Any decent Project Manager always keeps track on the status of the Cost, the Schedule and the Performance (includes quality, safety, Owner expectations, etc), so changes don’t come as a surprise at the project completion.

I remember getting beat up a few times as a young Project Manager for allowing Owners to be surprised at project completion. It turns out, no matter how much an Owner says he or she cares about the schedule, the cost matters too. So a good Project Manager keeps the Owner informed and bi-weekly job meetings help force this process to actually happen.

So how do you run a good job meeting? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Have a clear agenda that you follow, don’t let the meeting take a life of it’s own.
  2. Take meeting minutes (distributed to all stake holders) that cover the items discussed and the action agreed upon, by whom and with a date for completion.
  3. Follow up on the action items at each meeting.
  4. Don’t allow multiple conversations at one time.
  5. Try to have meetings standing up, when practical. They take much less time.
  6. Have some fun. Humor works as a social lubricant. We accomplish more with people we trust and like.

So what do you think of the job meetings on your project? Are they effective?

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