Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Facilitating a Summit

~ By Kenneth Darter

People listening to a summit speaker

Meetings are the lifeblood of a project. Whether they are held in person or virtually, there is no better way to communicate and make decisions. There are times, though, when short, regular meetings will not take care of everything, and there will be the need for a summit. A summit is an all-day meeting, even multiple all-day meetings, where a particular topic is discussed until there is a definitive conclusion or decision for the team to move forward with. It could be a meeting where requirements are defined and agreed upon, testing cases are written, or when the entire project team needs to assess out the nitty-gritty details of the schedule. Preparing for and leading these types of meetings are different from facilitating regularly scheduled meetings. The project manager will need to do more homework and prep work to lead a summit meeting.

1. Stick to a Schedule

The first step in organising a summit is to come up with a schedule. In a way, this is just like creating a mini project plan. There should be a scope statement that lets everyone know what needs to be accomplished in the summit, and the project manager must make sure they stick to that scope and do not suffer from scope creep during the meetings. The schedule for the summit meeting will help everyone plan and be ready for the meetings to be successful and useful instead of being just another aimless meeting.

2. Pace Yourself

You need to make sure that meetings are paced well, just as runners pace themselves during a race. Trying to squeeze everything into one day may not work; do not be afraid to schedule multiple days if there is a good reason for it, but they must be planned out well in advance. If you finish part of it early, then everyone gets a break, but it is important to not try and work too hard to get everything done too quickly. Not pacing yourself will just lead to burning people out. You might feel that if one topic has been discussed and finished, then you need to immediately start the next topic, but in reality, it may be more helpful to let people be done early so they can come in rested and refreshed to start on something else the next day.

3. Be Respectful

One last piece of advice, that should go without saying, is be respectful to the people in the meeting. The facilitator and the management team need to be aware that everyone in the meeting has other things to do and obligations that must be met. Keeping people past the scheduled end-time, just because things are not finishing as quickly as you want them to, or trying to convince others to stay late because you want to get something finished, will only serve to demoralise the entire team. If you want to have a successful summit meeting, then it is time to practise your people skills and learn to play well with others.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
1500
Enter the third letter of the word castle.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Risk Management Options

Risk management written on a puzzle piece

Risk management is an ongoing process to identify potential problems that could arise when new projects occur within a business.

Four Steps to Project Time Management

Man pointing at an alarm clock

The four steps outlined in this article will help you better define and measure the activities that make up your project timeline.

Better Risk Management With PRINCE2

Red flowchart showing risk element

PRINCE2 has always had a solid, but simple way of dealing with risk. With the latest version a number of excellent ideas and concepts have been introduced.

Project Cost Management

Pile of British one pound coins

How do we know what a project will cost? We really don't until the project is complete because we can't accurately predict the future. What we can do is create an estimate.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Cheryl commented on…
How to Become a Project Manager
- Fri 30 September 4:37pm

Matthew commented on…
Why Over 90 Percent of All Projects Finish Late
- Wed 28 September 4:16am

Duncan commented on…
10 Rules of Highly Successful Project Management
- Mon 26 September 7:50am

Latest tweets

What are the Eight Skills Needed on the Path to Project Management? https://t.co/U6eYw4qNuO #projectsmart #pmot about 19 hours ago

General Project Management • Categories of Communications? Need Advice. https://t.co/Bk2tEqauQb #pm #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Best Certification For Me? https://t.co/KZdv5lIiKy #pm #projectsmart about 2 days ago