Status Meetings Are Necessary


Well, I’m off to my weekly status meeting.


But, before I go, I wanted to pop in and recommend to everyone that they have a status meeting. Yeah, that’s right, most organizations that I work with rarely have status meetings where the developers (or more commonly the dev lead) meet with the project champion or end users.


Before I get too far, let me describe what a project champion is in our environment. A project champion is, essentially, the lead end user. So, the project champion is our (the dev team) main contact in the end user world. There can obviously be many many end users so communicating with all of them is often impossible. A project champion, on the other hand, can be the point of contact and how they communicate the group at large is up to them.


Back to status meetings – I recommend status meetings on any projects that are longer than 3 weeks. Simply pick a date and time (every Thursday at 8am in my case) and bring your project plan and small summary of what it is you have been working on the last week.


Your end users will love you for communicating with them regularly!


UPDATED: I work on a very large project where many people are involved. Face-to-face meetings are not ALWAYS necessary. Status Updates are always necessary (don’t want your end user/client to wonder what you are doing), however. Don’t want everyone having more pointless meetings than they already do now. =)


Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that status updates are necessary, especially for a project that has many team members. But, I have been developing software for a long time, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s not that you actually have them, it’s what can we gain from them.

    Too many times you go to a status meeting and the answers are ‘we’re on schedule’, ‘we need to extend a week’, ‘had to push back because the lead is out sick’, ‘we want to add ??? to the project’ … all of these things could have been sent out via an email.

    I prefer an email status meeting or a group IM status meeting. Only if there is a real need to meet face-to-face will we get together.

    Anyway, just my two and a half cents.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thom,

    I hear you loud and clear! =)

    I should have given more context for that messages’ title. I work on a very large project and we interface directly with the CIO and other high level members of the IT staff of our client. We deliver as much of the status updates as we can via email/con call. Our face-to-face status meetings have much more to do with clearing open issues that require an explanation not easily done via email/con call and with sharing our design, architecture, and techniques with our client’s staff.

    So, I should say that face-to-face status meetings are necessary in large complex projects involving many parties. =)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can see how certain projects require that sort of face to face interaction … BUT …

    My experience with weekly status meetings was a disaster. Meetings would VERY quickly degrade into a free-for-all, with the most common topic being what one or the other did for dinner, over the weekend, etc. Bad management? No control? You bet… but the fundamental problem here was that there was literally no reason to have a meeting.

    I now run my own development team, and I’ve discovered that meeting individually with team members at milestone points keeps me happy and reasonably well informed. I call full team meetings (sparingly) when I need to put all the bits together for the team and for "special events" like training.