Do you believe project status meetings focus only on reporting problems and assessing the project’s risks? How can you contribute to a productive project status meeting? Do you need to be attentive when other departments present their work status? As project managers, we communicate the project’s status to our stakeholders. Usually, in-office project status meetings or virtual meetings focus on me rather than ignoring status updates from others. When asked about project status, we mainly focus on the risks and hurdles in project implementation. Beyond addressing issues, project managers should view project status meetings as an opportunity to showcase their team’s talents and discuss successes. Therefore, taking a strategic approach during project meetings, informing stakeholders about the project’s progress, and engaging them in the project is very important. Meet presenter Margaret Meloni to learn strategies for productive project status meetings.

Speaker Bio

Margaret Meloni holds an MBA from California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. from the University of the West. She is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Her professional background is in IT project management and PMO leadership. Margaret is a dynamic teacher who uses real-life lessons that combine inspiration, common sense, and humor to train her students to navigate the human side of the world of projects successfully. Managing projects can be challenging in today’s world, but Margaret is committed to helping project managers make their project status meetings interesting, fun, and accessible. Visit Coursera and her website (pmStudent.com) to gain the knowledge and skills to manage your projects.

Project Status as an Opportunity

Our speaker Margaret shared her ideology that project status should not be limited to reporting what happened on the project and see it as an opportunity to motivate struggling members. For example, if your team shares responsibilities with other departments, you can gain insight into different departments’ workloads and commitments to other tasks during project meetings. We also use project meetings to demonstrate our professionalism and project priorities by first getting to the bottom line and sharing the critical points related to budget, resources, scope, and schedule at the meeting.

Role of Organization Culture in Project Status

Every organization has its own work culture and norms. The project manager should consider the organization’s method of conducting status meetings and the template for presenting information to stakeholders. Factors such as dress code, office layout, and room allocation can affect attendance at status meetings. Stakeholder beliefs and values ​​can also influence the effectiveness of a project’s status. Demonstrate professionalism and provide accurate information on project status.

Margaret has proposed four organizational cultures that PMs need to be considered during executive project meetings.

1. Power-based culture

2. Role-based culture

3. Achievement-based culture

4. Support-based culture

The power-based culture revolves around one primary leader. Project managers may find it challenging as one person controls everything during the project status. Role-based culture is based on procedures and following rules. Project managers in such an organizational culture have clear goals, and it is essential to do things ‘by the book’ during the project status meetings. The drawback of such a culture is that there is no team collaboration. Achievement-based culture consists of a group of motivated people who work independently and are goal oriented. Support-based culture in an organization has project meetings where employees cooperate and help one another. For successful project status, the organization should adopt a hybrid approach where they have a positive environment where employees co-operate and help each other in project completion and teammate achievements.

Understanding the Importance of Stakeholder Analysis

According to Margaret, research, know your audience, and prepare for project status meetings. Be specific about the topics to discuss at the status meeting. Understanding the audience’s engagement and the project’s status is very important. By analyzing stakeholder expectations and attending meetings, stakeholders are more likely to invest in future projects if they are informed, supported, and involved in current projects. Use project status meetings to ensure that stakeholders’ time, money, and resources are being used appropriately. PM must analyze the level of stakeholder engagement, perception and understanding of the project, and relationships with other stakeholder expectations before the project status meeting. Stakeholder analysis also helps project managers improve stakeholder engagement in project status meetings.

Identify your Stakeholder’s Communication Style

Each stakeholder is different. Investor questions and requests focus on overall progress, while employee questions and request focus on day-to-day operations during project status meetings. Some stakeholders are more actively involved in projects than others. Margaret introduced his four stakeholder communication styles to help you understand how to communicate effectively and meet stakeholder expectations. These styles can be scientifically broken down into four categories: Directors, Expressers, Thinkers, and Harmonizers.

  • Directors, for example, want information in quick, bottom-line bullet points.
  • Expressers want a fuller exploration of different options and ideas.
  • Thinkers want to hear the detailed thinking behind a proposal.
  • Harmonizers want to understand the impact of any proposal on people

5 Steps for Communicating Bad News to Stakeholders in the Project Status Meetings

unexpected changes occur in your project it is very important for the PM to find the right place and strategy to convey the news to the stakeholder is important. The project manager is responsible for communicating the project’s status to stakeholders with the right tone and attitude to express the information. Below are steps a project manager can use to inform bad news to stakeholders.

Step 1 – Prepare emotionally for stakeholder reactions to the news.

Step 2 – Identify solutions to mitigate the impact of bad news on your project/company.

Step 3 – Pay attention to settings and timing of message delivery.

Step 4 – Be honest and specific about the news

Step 5 – Focus on positive solutions as needed.

Best Tips for Productive Project Status meetings

  • Use this opportunity to showcase your skills and team talents.
  • Evaluate your stakeholder’s communication style
  • Highlight to stakeholders the three most important bullet points about the project’s status and prepare for project and stakeholder differences/priorities.
  • Empower and involve stakeholders in making decisions related to the project.
  • Be prepared with a loose script during the status meeting.

Summary

To successfully communicate your status information, be prepared and understand your organization’s culture and stakeholder communication style when presenting your status details. Based on the status and phase of the project, give the essential information affecting stakeholders first. I hope you enjoyed this seminar on advanced topics. The PMI Orange County team strives to provide the latest project management information and the best speakers to help project management professionals excel at their jobs. We look forward to seeing you at the next Advanced Topics Seminar (ATS). Register here!

Contributed By: Megha Bhalwalkar Content Contributor
You May Also Like

Does Your Thinking Limit your Success in Project Management?

If you have not yet joined a monthly Saturday ATS offered by…

Agile Strategy Management from Implementation to Governance with People Focus

A large group from the Orange County Chapter of PMI gathered via…