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Meetings: The Key to Successful Projects (Continued)

This article is a continuation of our previous previous publication. We already discussed the following points related to project meetings :

  • "The best way to ensure that your project fails is to undermine your meetings..."

  • What are the different types of project meetings?

  • How do you hold a project meeting?

Here are our last 4 points regarding this subject.

How often should you meet?

There isn’t a set frequency for all project meetings, but from experience, we strongly recommend that you hold a weekly status (or progress) update meeting. However, whatever frequency you choose must be known by everyone and planned well in advance.

This is also what many other studies and experts suggest. Of course, you could always hold a status update meeting every other week or once a month (depending on the project), but keep in mind that this choice comes with certain risks. In fact, as soon as your team strays from meeting weekly, problems are sure to pop up.

So, meet with your team once a week and you’ll stay in control over your project !

Is there a specific day of the week that works best ?

Certain project managers opt for meeting near the end of the workweek, in order to review the week’s progress. Others prefer Monday in order to direct the meeting around the week’s priorities and objectives.

Personally, our preference is to hold meetings during the first half of the week, preferably Tuesdays or even Wednesdays. That leaves time on Mondays for the team to prepare for the meeting, while also making sure they have time to work on the week’s priorities specified during the meeting for the rest of the week.

Whether you choose the beginning or the end of the work week, try to avoid Monday mornings and Friday afternoons as much as possible if you don’t want to hinder your team’s mobilization on the project !

How do you make a project meeting lively and productive ?

Meetings are when all the ideas come together; they are amazing opportunities for people to exchange ideas and evaluate how the team is dealing with issues. They need to be productive, therefore well-executed and properly documented. The atmosphere should be pleasant, and any remarks should be courteous and respectful.

In general, if you want your status update meetings to stay productive, keep them under an hour.

You should also use a follow-up log (action items list) to document and track the actions identified in the meeting.

Your discipline regarding the meeting’s proceedings sets the overall tone of the project and the level of discipline you will receive from your team.

Meetings are an excellent time for project managers to “establish” leadership, motivate troops, and gain respect and credibility. Therefore, project managers must be coherent. They ought to lead meeting with art and finesse, with firmness but also with flexibility. For example, if they systematically wait for latecomers, future meetings will always start late. Therefore, it is necessary that they start on time and finish within the time limit.

In fact, waiting for the latecomers has a negative effect; it rewards those who are late and punishes those who arrive on time. In the long run, this situation encourages tardiness, making it even more frequent. This ultimately hinders the meeting’s otherwise smooth proceedings and your team’s mobilization.

The interpersonal skills required to conduct a successful meeting

In general, during a meeting the project manager and the team members should put forth their best interpersonal skills. This makes the meeting more productive and ensures the greatest gains.

The project manager’s interpersonal skills will directly impact the atmosphere of the meeting. This includes knowing how to manage meetings, being an active listener, regulating perceptions, navigating conflicts, networking successfully, and leveraging professional relationships for the benefit of the project.

But above all, project managers must have a high level of political awareness (i.e. the ability to quickly understand the power relations of the group or work environment and to take them into account in their approach).

They must also develop a certain cultural awareness. This skill boils down to the ability to understand the social codes governing the group as well as the cultural, ethnic, and religious aspects of those on the project team or among the stakeholders.

If you liked this article, let us know by rating and/or commenting on this blog.

Bernache Consulting

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