You will rarely find any construction project, regardless of its size, type, location or duration that does not require having meetings between the project parties. Meetings are scheduled gatherings of individuals for stated purpose, to discuss and act upon matters of common interest. Meetings serve valuable purpose in the project to effectively communicate information, exchange ideas, render decisions, resolve issues, coordinate work, prevent problems among others. It is estimated that project management team members spend more than 50% of their time in participating in meetings.
What Meetings Are Common to Construction Projects?
During the construction phase of a project, there are different type of meetings for which each serve a specific project management purpose and accordingly the attendees of those meetings could differ by type. Those meetings include kick-off meeting, progress meetings, technical meetings, contractor meetings, QA/QC meetings, HSE meetings, change management meetings, steering committee meetings, BIM coordination meetings, risk management meetings, interface management meetings, project handover meetings among others. The frequency of those meetings could vary as some could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or when needed.
How Can Technology Improves the Management of Project Meetings?
The majority of those involved in managing and delivering construction projects today, continue to use applications like MS Word and MS Excel to capture, report and present their meeting minutes. This limits those involved in taking actions or ensuring actions were taken on those meeting minutes from tracking, monitoring and evaluating the status of those actions as well as who need to use the meeting minutes information to support a claim submission or any other type of argument.
Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution like PMWeb provides the parties involved in delivering construction projects with a single web-enabled platform to manage all project processes including meeting minutes. To start with, the project manager needs to establish the dates, timings and locations of the different meeting types to ensure that the required team members needed for those meetings are available to attend.
What is Common to All Meeting Minutes?
All meeting minutes share the same requirements for what data to capture although the content will vary from one meeting type to another. The first requirement for a meeting minute is that it needs to capture the particular of the meeting such as project, type, subject, WBS level, location, date, timing among others. Second it needs to captures the details of those invited to attend the meeting and who has actually attended the meeting.
The third requirement which is the most important of all, the business items discussed during the meeting, who are responsible to address those business items and by which date, the status of this business item if it is still open or closed, the actual date this business item was closed and the project schedule activity that could be subject to be delayed if this business item is not closed as per the set due date. Of course, additional details such as business item category and type can be added to improve the classification of the business item.
Another challenge in maintaining complete, accurate and effective meeting minutes is that it is common practice during a meeting, documents such as drawings, reports, pictures, videos, catalogues among others are shared among those attending the meeting. Therefore, it is critical that all those documents are attached to the meeting minutes to ensure that they can be reviewed when needed. In addition, the meeting minutes could have links to other PMWeb records like submittal, risk register, changes among others that can be linked to the meeting minute.
Sharing and Distributing the Meeting Minute
When the meeting minute is complete and all supportive documents are attached, the meeting coordinator can then generate a transmittal to distribute the meeting minutes through a pre-defined workflow to those who have attended the meeting as well as others who might need to be involved to review, approve and share the content. Usually, if within 2 days no objection is received on the meeting minutes then they are considered approved.
Generating the Next Meeting Agenda
In addition, meeting minutes require to keep track of the history of business items from one meeting to the other. Therefore, the follow-on meeting agenda needs to be generated from the previous meeting to ensure that closed items are removed and on-going items get captured in the next meeting. This will enable the project team to keep track of all business items and when those items were closed.
Presenting the Meeting Minutes
Most construction projects, at least in the MENA region, requires the party authoring the meeting minutes to formally present a printed version of the meeting minutes. The layout of the meeting minutes could vary from one project to another and even between one meeting type and another. Those printed meeting minutes can be designed in an intelligent format to provide the authorized reader the option to drilldown to the meeting minutes item captured in PMWeb to review all attached documents and linked records to that particular meeting minute business item.
Tracking Status of Business Items
PMWeb Business Intelligence (BI) report writer allows creating different reports to track the status of the different business items discussed and recorded in the meeting minutes. For example, a report can be created to capture the history of each business item, when it was first recorded and when it was closed. The report could include filters to limit the reported data to a specific individual for which the business items were assigned to. The report could be limited to single type of meeting minutes for a single project or portfolio of projects or for all meeting types across a single project or portfolio of projects.
Searching Content of Meeting Minutes
Sometimes there is a need a search for the content of meeting minutes as well as other project records for specific incidents and events. PMWeb allows the project team member to search for key words that relate to those incidents and events across all project records including meeting minutes. Those records that are related to the specific incident or event can be saved in an electronic issue file to enable the project team member to review and take the needed actions.
Analyzing Business Items Performance Trends
The granular data captured from the meeting minutes business items for the different meeting types across the different projects managed by the project owner provides unmatched knowledge and insight to the quality and efficiency of meeting minutes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can be created to measure the efficiency of resolving meeting business items as well as trigger actions when the performance is not in accordance with approved performance benchmarks.
Project Communication Dashboard
In addition to meeting minutes business items, there are other formal project communication that needs to be managed, monitored and evaluated when it comes to delivering construction projects. Usually, a project communication dashboard is will be created to provide the insight on the performance of other project communication RFI, Submittals, Transmittals, Correspondence among others. The communication dashboard will usually display key performance indicators for volume, growth over time, approval periods, items by status among others will be captured at this dashboard.
The project communication data along with other project’s data captured from cost management, schedule, risk management, quality control, safety and health and other PMWeb modules will provide the input for the project dashboard. This is a dashboard that will summarize the KPIs of all those data sources as well as show additional data such construction camera among others.
Project meetings is one of the most important formal communication that takes place during the construction stage. Meetings bring project entities to discuss and act upon matters of common interest. It is estimated that project management team members spend more than 50% of their time in participating in meetings. PMWeb PMIS helps in capturing the details of all project meetings regardless of their type. This enables monitoring and evaluating the performance of meetings minutes in communicating information, exchanging ideas, rendering decisions, resolving issues, coordinating work and preventing problems.