Four Reasons Why the Dreaded, Mandatory “Daily Project Meeting” is Beneficial

Your project is cruising along just fine and then you hit a speed bump that knocks the entire team for a loop. Something goes wrong, a deliverable was missed, or maybe a key person left the company (and subsequently the project). Things get behind, the project slips into Yellow and then Red status and the mandate kicks in that there will be a daily project meeting. This daily meeting will typically include an executive or the project sponsor until things get back on track.

Painful? Yes.

Helpful? Yes. Here are four reasons why:

  • Heightened Sense of Urgency: There is nothing like having the team report in every 24 hours to move things forward. This extremely high visibility causes people to think in terms of answers and solutions to what can be done to get things back on track.
  • No Stone Goes Unturned: Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when the team is heads down in the details. Although uncomfortable, questions will be asked in these daily meetings that cause everyone to see the big picture and reprioritize accordingly.
  • More Options Become Available: These options are dependent upon who attends the daily meeting. For example, additional resources could become available, automation of previously manual tasks could be implemented, or customer expectations could be managed.  These “outside of the box” options are limited only by the team’s creativity and original thinking as everyone navigates through this rough spot.
  • Things Get Done: While everyone understands that the mandatory daily project meeting is necessary, the reality is that nobody particularly enjoys this meeting. It interferes with other activity and consumes a large amount of time. Getting the project back to Yellow or Green status is what will make this meeting disappear. Everyone’s attention is then focused on getting things done that will eliminate the need for this meeting.

These meetings seem to be most productive when the attendees include the project manager, the project sponsor/executive as well as the functional managers that can direct their teams. Team members that specialize in a certain area can be brought in as needed, however, their time should be focused on remaining heads-down and getting the work done necessary to get things back on track.

So, what do you think? Are the mandatory daily project meetings beneficial or a waste of time? What other options have you found successful, and what are some things you have done to make these meetings most effective and keep people engaged? 

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