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Project Management Review
Project Management Reviews are the formal documented meetings held periodically between senior management and the project team. The purpose is to inform senior management of project status and risks to achieving the project objectives.
When to use
Most organizations have a business calendar with regularly scheduled Management Review meetings (typically monthly). A project team should prepare for the meeting two or three days ahead of time in order to have current status, but also have time to integrate all inputs to the meeting. If a project has an unexpected issue arise between regularly scheduled meetings which requires immediate senior management attention, a special meeting should be called. In this case, the standard template for management reviews does not need to be followed, the presentation should focus on the issue and its impact to the project and the organization.
Meetings occur for one of three purposes. They are to convey information, solve a problem, or make a decision. Most regular management review meetings are to convey information. Be careful not to mix purposes within a meeting unless you have clearly explained what you are doing. Otherwise, some meeting attendees will be confused and unprepared.
- Use the standard organization template when preparing for the meeting.
- Update the project status charts within the presentation.
- Update the issue/risk items within the presentation.
- Review the action items from previous meetings and ensure a response has been prepared.
- Determine the key message(s) of the presentation and how you would get to that point if your time was cut short.
- Dry run the presentation – look for inconsistencies.
- If required, distribute the presentation prior to the meeting.
- On the day of the meeting be prepared to go earlier or later than the assigned time.
Hints & tips
- Most senior managers will make their judgments about the project based upon these meetings. Ensure you are correctly communicating status and issues.
- Managers are far more concerned about whether the project objectives will be met than they are about some intricate or obscure technical challenge that the team overcame. You are presenting to the managers – not to the project team members – so know your audience.
- Be polished and professional. Your presence conveys confidence or distress to the managers.
- It is OK to talk about risks and problems. All projects have them and if you don’t mention them, the managers may think you are either clueless or lying.
- When presenting a risk or problem that you have known about for more than 24 hours, you should have a risk response path that you are following. The risk doesn’t need to be resolved but you should have a path that will lead to a solution for the risk.
- Take action items from the meeting and quickly respond. Even if it is a stupid or irrelevant action, respond to it. Ignoring requests from senior management creates animosity towards you and the project.
- If the team is not in agreement about an issue, don’t hide it. Present both sides (fairly) and your approach to get to a resolution. Be prepared to receive “help” from managers on the issue.
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