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The Most Overlooked Part of Most Projects

December 12, 2019 in Projects 101

Over the years, I’ve been involved in hundreds of projects. Most of them I have managed, although several I’ve been either on the delivery team or the client team. Either way, despite the nature or scope, I’ve found that the success of a project often boils down to communication. As such, the practice that I find most valuable (and often the most overlooked) is a regular meeting.

What is a Stand-up Meeting?

In the context of a general project, a stand-up meeting is either a phone call or a physical meeting that takes place on a daily, semi-weekly or weekly basis (at the same time & day each time). Some call it a “scrum,” though I will avoid that terminology here as to not confuse this simple practice with the more robust, in-depth concept of scrum methodology.

A stand-up meeting should typically last no longer than 15 minutes, and serves as a key line of open communication between the different parties in a project. Depending on a project’s needs, it can either be internal (e.g. designers, developers, etc.) or external (e.g. vendor and client).

What Makes It Successful?

Regular stand-up meetings ensure that communication is open, and that all people at all times are aware of task statuses and challenges faced. If a challenge or issue arises, it also enables a platform for discourse (although more detailed conversations should be “taken offline” in a follow-up discussion).

Here are some tips for running a successful stand-up meeting:

  • Always schedule it for the same time and day (a recurring calendar event helps)
  • Always have the meeting even if some or most of the participants cannot join
  • If the meeting is a call, then secure a conference line or bridge
  • If the meeting is in person, then have everybody stand up to emphasize the meeting’s quick nature
  • Share everything good and bad – including news, updates, and issues
  • Keep updates short and sweet – if a conversation calls for more detail, force the relevant participants to chat in more detail afterward
What Are the Benefits?

Having regular stand-up meetings is a key project management practice that helps to keep all project members in the know. Even if a particular issue might seem irrelevant to others (such as a PHP error that a logo designer may not care about), it still helps to ensure everybody is informed and aware of a project’s status, timeline and complexities.

Get Started

If you use TaskBranch to manage your project, you can schedule a regular stand-up meeting using the Calendar tool. Simply create an event, invite the people you wish to include, and you’re good to go!

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Aaron Shapland, PMP

Aaron leads the product and strategy team at TaskBranch, where he enjoys making project management easy for digital teams.