Patrick Lencioni’s book, Death by Meetings, is a great book and relevant to the PPM community.
“Meetings are boring because they lack drama”
“Meetings are ineffective because they lack contextual structure”
Problem #1—Lack of drama
Meetings are interactive and relevant to our lives, yet they usually lack some amount of drama. “When a group of intelligent people come together to talk about issues that matter, it is both natural and productive for disagreement to occur. Resolving these issues is what makes a meeting productive, engaging, and fun.”
PPM application: portfolio management is both fun and exciting because it is the mechanism for accomplishing strategic initiatives. There are always ongoing changes that requires participants to be engaged, strategies to be clarified, priorities to be established and communicated, and projects to be executed. Keeping this view in front of the portfolio management team and project managers will help keep everyone focused.
Problem #2—Lack of Contextual Structure
The basic problem is that too many things are crammed into meetings and often frustrate many people for different reasons. Tactical near-term decisions may get added to the same agenda as longer-term strategic items. Nothing gets the attention it deserves, people don’t get to weigh in sufficiently and/or are not adequately prepared. The problem isn’t to necessarily spend more time in meetings as it is to break down the content for the appropriate meeting. To resolve the contextual structure issue, Lencioni advocates four types of meetings:
1) The daily check-in: this may be relevant for a leadership team or another group that does work closely together. It’s intent is to provide everyone a quick overview of the days events in five minutes or less (approximately).
PPM application: for organizations that are project focused, having such a meeting may help project managers and key team members stay on the same page with each other.
My personal approach is to right-size portfolio management processes to fit an organization's culture and maturity to be effective without creating a bureaucracy. Please contact me if you would like to know more about how project portfolio management (PPM) can help your organization achieve its strategic goals.
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