If you’ve been invested with the role of Project Manager, you also probably have to set up project update meetings with your client.
Don’t let yourself be found unprepared.
If you really can’t escape setting meetings to share project status updates with your client, these are the 5 things you have to remember to prepare beforehand – so that you’ll get the whole thing done quickly and productively.
Why do you need a meeting?
I mean really, why?
Meetings are widely regarded as a huge waste of time in the workplace. Employees hate them, and even managers who organize them would rather avoid seeing the clients to often, especially if the client has been difficult to work with.
Thankfully, email and communication tools allow exchanging status updates, communicate in real time, and send files and reports, saving the necessity of setting a meeting altogether.
However, there may be cases in which your client will want to meet with you to be updated on the progress of the project:
- It could be a big, challenging project with many goals and tasks;
- Clients may need reassurance on the progress if they need the bring in to an end on a tight deadline;
- Don’t underestimate the power of human interaction in business. Your client may not be your gym buddy, but they may still prefer to talk in person instead of relying on cold emails.
To make sure your status meeting is actually useful you have to be very well prepared before you even start.
5 things to remember before a project status meeting:
- Check with the team over the tasks’ progress;
- Pull out the previous meeting’ report or agenda;
- Prepare a list of what is been done;
- Organize the meeting agenda;
- Set up a date and invite people.
Check with the team over the tasks’ progress
Needless to say, you need to know what has been done and what has not.
A good manager knows how to monitor the progression a project without watching the team members like a hawk (if you do, then there’s a big team management problem going on you may want to address).
Project management tools and time tracking tools alike offer several features that can help with that.
Project management tools like Asana or Basecamp allow managers to assign tasks and see if they’ve been completed or not. Features like comments on the tasks can help managers see the history of the task and if and why something has gone wrong.
Time tracking tools like Timeneye make sure you know how your team’s been allocating their time – and are essential if the project is billed by the hour, or has to be completed within an hourly budget.
Pull out the previous meeting’s report and/or agenda
Where did you leave things at in the last meeting with the client?
Make sure take back any written report/email/agenda with the notes and to-dos of the previous meeting (if you don’t keep track of this, you should really start, otherwise you can end up in real trouble).
Prepare to update on the status of what was decided during the previous meeting. What was completed? What was not, and why?
Be precise to avoid important request getting left behind, or misunderstandings (“No, but we said—” “No, but we decided…” “But no, you said…” and such.)
Prepare a list of what is been done
To conduct your meeting quickly and on point, have a complete list of all the work that’s been done to keep with you and share with the client.
For example, Timeneye allows you to download a list of the time entries registered for a project and export them to PDF – having such a file at hand will not only save you lots of time, but the client will appreciate the transparency.
Organize the meeting agenda
You should be convinced by now that every meeting needs to have a clearly defined agenda.
Without it, you’ll risk that your meeting will go out of control and waste your time.
So take some time to outline a meeting agenda – and prepare to stick to it no matter what.
Set up a date
Now you’re prepared to face everything that may come up during the meeting.
Set up a date and time for your meeting and share them with your client. I’d suggest using Google Calendar so that everybody is synched and (hopefully) won’t forget about it.
If you synch Google Calendar with Timeneye, you’ll see the event pop out as a suggestion inside the tool to remind you.
Cover photo via Stocksnap.io