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  1. 1. Conducting Effective Meetings 2009 NASA Project Management Challenge Daytona Beach, Florida February 24-25, 2009 Presented byIvan Rosenberg, Ph.D. Gary Blackwood, Ph.D.Frontier Associates, Inc. California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory © All rights reserved. 1
  2. 2. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. The Cost of MeetingsAssume for the meeting is anyinteractive time with another person(telephone, hallway, etc.)A common perspective is that onaverage 50% of a person’s workday iswasted just due to ineffectivemeetings. © All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. What’s Wrong With Meetings? Too long and too many Purpose not clear Don’t produce the intended results People not prepared Wasted time is not visible Used for information distribution Some people dominate the meeting Superiors thinking of their own efficiency No one is managing the conversation © All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. Assumptions about MeetingsNo preparation time is neededNo skill needed to run meetingNo focus is needed on runningmeetings betterMeetings are inherently inefficientMust have meetings.Holding a meeting is a solution toeverything. © All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. Purpose of a Meeting People thinking together © All rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. Definition of a MeetingA meeting is a group of people thinkingtogether to forward the fulfillment ofcommon commitments and accountabilities. © All rights reserved. 7
  8. 8. Conducting Effective MeetingsConversation is a meeting of minds withdifferent memories and habits. When mindsmeet, they dont just exchange facts: theytransform them, reshape them, drawdifferent implications from them, engage innew trains of thought. Conversation doesntjust reshuffle the cards: it creates newcards. -- Theodore Zeldin President of the Oxford Muse Foundation, English philosopher, sociologist, historian, writer and public speaker. © All rights reserved. 8
  9. 9. Signs People are Thinking TogetherHigh percentage of involvementNew ideasbeing suggestedHigh energyNo make wrong © All rights reserved. 9
  10. 10. Meetings as a Set of ConversationsOne way to look at meetings is as a set ofconversations.Then a meeting’s effectiveness could be saidto be a function of our ability to manage theconversations appropriate to meetings.Conversation Manager: Job is to have theconversation accomplish its purpose. Perceived as neutral. Is not involved in the content, only the process. © All rights reserved. 10
  11. 11. Guidelines for Good Meetings Operate according to the suggested definition of a “meeting” Plan (agenda, etc.) Service: participants as your customers Integrity / Time Management Meeting Roles Manage the Conversation © All rights reserved. 11
  12. 12. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings 1. Establishing a Meeting 2. Preparing for a Meeting 3. Conducting a Meeting 4. Improving a Meeting 5. Follow-up after a Meeting Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 12
  13. 13. 1. Establishing a Meeting Create Meeting Purpose Create Meeting Agenda Identify and Enroll Participants Establish Logistics © All rights reserved. 13
  14. 14. Create Meeting PurposeCreate the Commitment that theMeeting forwards. Example of Commitment: The Story of the Three Stonecutters © All rights reserved. 14
  15. 15. © All rights reserved. 15
  16. 16. © All rights reserved. 16
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  18. 18. Actions, Goals, and CommitmentsAn action is a movement, somethingthat is happening (I’m cutting stones).A goal is a condition that someoneintends to be true by a specific timein the future (I cut two stones/day).A commitment is a state of beingemotionally impelled (I’m building acathedral). © All rights reserved. 18
  19. 19. Examples: Commitments that aProject Meeting Might Forward The project is successful. The report is a contribution to its readers. Any obstacles to accomplishing the project’s goals are successfully resolved. All our customers are satisfied all the time. Forward the high quality strategy of the company. © All rights reserved. 19
  20. 20. Create Meeting Purpose1. Create the Commitment that the Meeting forwards.2. Create the Intended Results of the Meeting. What is it that we want different at the end of this meeting that wasn’t true at the beginning of it?” © All rights reserved. 20
  21. 21. Examples: Intended Results Used in a Project MeetingAll actual or potential problems that wereknown to the participants were listed andnext steps established for each one tothe satisfaction of all participants.All obstacles to delivering all the work of[Project] have been identified andresolved.The group is in agreement regarding thestrategic direction to be taken. © All rights reserved. 21
  22. 22. 3. Determine Whether to Hold the Meeting Does the potential group of attendees have a common purpose? Is there a clear and shared Meeting Commitment? Are there clear and shared Meeting Intended Results? Do the Meeting Intended Results require thinking together? Is the cost of the meeting justified? Will the Meeting Leader and the participants be adequately prepared for the meeting? © All rights reserved. 22
  23. 23. 4. Create the Meeting Measurable ResultsMeeting Measurable Results are theobjective, measurable, visible resultsthat will be used at the end of themeeting as evidence that the meetingwas successful. © All rights reserved. 23
  24. 24. Examples: Measurable Results All next steps have been recorded as actions (promises). At the end of the meeting the president of the prospect company said to our presenter, “That was a great presentation.” The group formally agreed on a strategy to be followed. A list of possibilities was generated and a next step established to analyze them. A particular decision was made. The prospect agreed to have another meeting on a specific date. © All rights reserved. 24
  25. 25. 1. Establishing a MeetingCreate Meeting PurposeCreate Meeting AgendaIdentify and Enroll ParticipantsEstablish Logistics © All rights reserved. 25
  26. 26. Meeting Agenda GuidelinesAlways have oneEstablish the Meeting PurposeDetermine time availableDetermine agenda items and orderEstablish meeting policiesDistribute the agenda in advance © All rights reserved. 26
  27. 27. All logistical and version info at top Meeting Purpose Meeting Roles RSVP info Open meeting Promise Review(c) 2009 All rightsAssociates, Inc. © Frontier reserved. 27
  28. 28. Agenda Item OrderEase of disposal (easiest first)Logical order (schedule those thatmust be considered first)Controversy (least or most first, ormix)Importance and Urgency © All rights reserved. 28
  29. 29. Importance vs. Urgency IMPORTANCE LOW HIGH Consent Calendar LOWURGENCY HIGH © All rights reserved. 29
  30. 30. Consent Calendar• For Low Importance Items• All items handled with one up (or down) vote• No discussion (can remove item on request) © All rights reserved. 30
  31. 31. Agenda Item -Title -Elapsed Time -Start/End Time Intended Result -Presenter -Conversation Manager -Preparation -Supporting Documents © All rights reserved. 31
  32. 32. Action Items Generated Agenda Items for Next Meeting End Meeting Unassigned Agenda Items Promises Not Yet Due(c) 2009 All rightsAssociates, Inc. © Frontier reserved. 32
  33. 33. JPL Version of Agenda Purpose, Roles, Logistics ClearGroup the Agenda Topics Recurring – “Keep the Deal” © All rights reserved. 33
  34. 34. Review other Intended agendas for week JPL version – p2 Results for each Agenda Item Record new Requests/Actions Agenda items distributed among team members © All rights reserved. 34
  35. 35. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings 1. Establishing a Meeting 2. Preparing for a Meeting 3. Conducting a Meeting 4. Improving a Meeting 5. Follow-up after a Meeting Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 35
  36. 36. Suggested Meeting Guidelines Keep your word Follow the Agenda Stick to the topic Be concise One person talks at a time Listen with an open mind Everyone is responsible for the success of the meeting All supporting materials are distributed at least 1 week in advance of meeting © All rights reserved. 36
  37. 37. Meeting RolesMeeting Leader – “owns” meetingMeeting Manager – manages meetingMeeting Recorder – records meetingTimekeeper – monitor timeAgenda Item PresenterAgenda Item Conversation ManagerParticipant – responsible for meeting © All rights reserved. 37
  38. 38. Beginning the MeetingIntroductions (as appropriate)Get People Present to the MeetingGet People Present to the MeetingPurpose Access brain’s creative thinking sideReview Meeting Guidelines (ifappropriate)“New Business” agenda item. © All rights reserved. 38
  39. 39. Reading How a Meeting is GoingMeetings have ebb and flow.Need to be able to read where ameeting is at any particular point in timeso can intervene as needed to fulfill theMeeting Purpose. © All rights reserved. 39
  40. 40. Completing a MeetingConversation for Being Complete Suggestions for future topics Resolve Parking Lot issues Check Measurable Results, Action ItemsConversation for Appreciation andAcknowledgement Debrief – What worked, etc. Thank you’sDeclaration of Being Complete © All rights reserved. 40
  41. 41. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings 1. Establishing a Meeting 2. Preparing for a Meeting 3. Conducting a Meeting 4. Improving a Meeting 5. Follow-up after a Meeting Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 41
  42. 42. 4. Improving a MeetingImmediately after the meeting – majorroles debriefDeclare the Results of the Meeting: Were the intentions of the meeting realized? What was produced?Analyze the Meeting Process What worked? What didn’t work?Next Steps What are the next step(s) and who will take them? Any significant information that should be recorded? © All rights reserved. 42
  43. 43. 5. Follow-Up After a MeetingSet some rules for Meeting Manager (orassistant): Actions distributed electronically within 1 day of the meeting Similar for minutes Announcement of following meeting (if recurring)Record these steps at bottom of agenda(for reminder) © All rights reserved. 43
  44. 44. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 44
  45. 45. Interpretation for Recurring MeetingsConsider a Group’s weekly standing meeting: Meeting Time in between MeetingA B C DMeeting will change the state of the Group – somethingshould be different at the end of the meeting than at thebeginningMeeting can also cause a state change before the nextmeeting Done via assigned actions, assisted by a culture of closing actions (relate to as “promise” instead of “try”) Some things handled better between the meetings: “Take it off line.” Handle in smaller group and report back. © All rights reserved. 45
  46. 46. Tips (1) - StructureKey Features of Every Meeting: Room / projector / etc are setup prior to the start of the meeting Hardcopies distributed Time is managed – Timekeeper acts as “Big Ben”, defers to Meeting Manager to manage the remaining time. Next steps are recorded as promises (what / who / when) - Recorder Meeting ends on timeKey Follow up Promises made – are distributed quickly Promises due – are made visible continuously between meetings © All rights reserved. 46
  47. 47. Tips (2) – For Meeting ManagerManage the meeting time firmly Be flexible, but protect the end point. Manage to constraints – the group will be pleased!Ask questions How can we get there? What’s missing? What could go wrong? What are the next steps that we should capture? Can you finish your presentation in 5 minutes? © All rights reserved. 47
  48. 48. Tips (3) – Things to do whenthe Meeting gets Bogged DownMeeting Manager asks questions like: In the time remaining, what else do we need to do to achieve the Intended Result? Show of hands - who thinks we have we achieved the intended result of this agenda topic?Sometimes a point simply needs acknowledgement without agreeingor disagreeing: “Got it.”Open up conversation when it’s stuck: How about…. How about….This idea? How about…We try this for a few weeks and see how it goes?Make clear requests. Will you…? Opens up the possibility for a promise to act.Manage to discrete end points – avoid unnecessary tangents. Achieve the Intended Results one at a time. Use the agenda to break apart topics into manageable chunks.Don’t be afraid to ask the Meeting Recorder to capture an action. © All rights reserved. 48
  49. 49. Tips (4) - AdvancedFor teams with weekly meetings: Team rules that apply to that meeting, such as: Is meeting mandatory or optional? Are alternates permitted? Do decisions hold even if a member is not present? Cancellation policy (e.g. “if no agenda sent with N hours, the meeting is automatically cancelled”) © All rights reserved. 49
  50. 50. Conducting Effective Meetings Meetings in General Five Steps to Effective Meetings Practical Tips Software Tools © All rights reserved. 50
  51. 51. Software Tools Used by Meeting Manager and Recorder prior to, during, and after meeting Make the meeting more efficient and effective Serve the participants –promises made visible to all parties Three web tools used extensively:Project Status Meeting Meeting Tool Agenda Minutes Tool Manual Entry Action Item Read Tool Automatic © All rights reserved. 51
  52. 52. Meeting Tools & BenefitsTool Description of Web Primary Benefit ToolProject Collection, formatting, Big time savings for reportStatus automatic distribution preparer of project status Group time not spent on Searchable records status Timely distributionAction Item Online tracking system Integrates across all for all project actions meetings on project Visible to managers and Replaces multiple Excel lists all action item Reinforces accountability recipientsMeeting Online record of Convenient and quickMinutes agenda, minutes, and distribution of minutes actions Automatically populates Searchable records Action Item Tool © All rights reserved. 52
  53. 53. Project Status Tool – Input Historical Status Input field for brief status Near Term Plans © All rights reserved. 53
  54. 54. Project Status – Output Chron job sends email automatically each week Well-organized output for easy reading Result: Big Time Savings! © All rights reserved. 54
  55. 55. Action Item ToolMore than a list in Excel!The JPL web-based tool: Accepts actions from multiple teams and events. Integrates all actions on user’s home page. Shows manager all actions he/she assigned in various events. Sends reminders to users. Produces convenient reports for meetings.Result: Dramatic increase in action completion(across entire project) when compared toExcel lists alone. © All rights reserved. 55
  56. 56. Action Item – User’s View Actions from Different Meetings Collected for User Slip count boosts © All rights reserved. closures! 56
  57. 57. Action Item Tool – Input Page Distributed: Used for multiple meetings and reviews Email notification Attachments Permitted © All rights reserved. 57
  58. 58. Action Item Tool – Manager’s Page Manager can see all those actions assigned in their name © All rights reserved. 58
  59. 59. Action Item – Output Page Used by Recorder in Meetings Integrates actions from differentAI Slip Not Action Item Element Event Assignee Due Date Status DoneNo. Count Done2363 Make an xls list of chart System titles and purpose of Core Michael Engineering Team Brenner 12/08/2008 0 Open forums each for the ACDR and send to core team1759 Do a sensitivity impact System TFMR Michael 12/09/2008 7 Open study on the isolator Engineering Brenner location on the core structure (and present at Scorecard for a tech telecon) meeting2359 Update the "Missed Rec/Del" Table and Management Core Gregory P Team Tyler 12/11/2008 0 Closed attendees send to Bob for PMR.2425 Confirm the contract MOST I&T TFMR [Gregory P 12/12/2008 0 Submitted release date for CGH Tyler] and verify that the task [Jeffrey J is in the schedule and Cornish] confirm with Gary B. [Serge Dubovitsky] Results: •Dramatic Increase in Timely Completion •Fosters culture of Requests/Promises/Completion © All rights reserved. 59
  60. 60. Meeting Minutes – Input Create Meeting and Agenda Record notes during meeting Actions automatically sent to Action Item Tool © All rights reserved. 60
  61. 61. Meeting Minutes – Output Searchable Record + Email sent to Participants Decisions Made Recorded Actions Result: More follow through from meeting © All rights reserved. 61
  62. 62. SummaryEnsure people think together.Deliver net value to the participants.Plan and be prepared.Operate with integrity.Separate context and contentmanagement.Manage the conversation.Keep improving. © All rights reserved. 62
  63. 63. Suggested Next StepsPick one meeting you manage andcommit to improve it. Create a Meeting Purpose. Create a Meeting Agenda (suggest use one of the Meeting Templates). Conduct the meeting using these principles and tips. Get feedback. Improve the meeting until it hums. © All rights reserved. 63
  64. 64. For Further InformationGive card to Ivan if you want: Copy of this presentation. Free access to on-line library of 23 articles on Conducting Effective Meetings, including a downloadable Meeting Template (includes free monthly e-newsletter).Contact Gary for more informationabout meeting software tools. © All rights reserved. 64
  65. 65. AcknowledgementsThe authors wish to acknowledge: Sherry Bennett Jennifer Gregory Tu-anh PhanFor development and implementation of thesoftware tools described in this presentation © All rights reserved. 65
  66. 66. Conducting Effective Meetings Presented byIvan Rosenberg Gary BlackwoodFrontier Associates, Inc. Jet Propulsion Laboratory4804 Laurel Canyon Blvd. 4800 Oak Grove DriveSuite 804 MS 126-347Valley Village, CA 91607 Pasadena, CA 91109-8099818-505-9915 © All rights reserved. 66