They’re probably not going to come
right out and tell you, but there are certain things about working for you that
your team members really don’t like.
Take all those meetings you think are so
vital to corporate strategy. Let’s just say
your team members see them differently.
And those sudden changes in project
plans you pass along at the very last
minute? Well, they have some choice
words about those, too.
Whatever the issue, project managers need to pay attention to their
team’s concerns and figure out a
response—or face the consequences.
Here are five of the more common
complaints, along with some tips on
how to avoid an uprising.
THE ISSUE: OUT-OF-
Team members are called into yet
another meeting—just like yester-
day. Only the PowerPoint slides
have changed. And here’s the truly
twisted part: Most of these mandatory
meetings only have tenuous links to the
deliverables people could be working on
if they weren’t being held captive.
WHAT TO DO
Give the people what they want—
nothing more, nothing less. Keep team
meetings targeted and stick to the
Project managers should go in armed
with a clear idea of what the meeting is
actually about—and what’s in it for the
attendees, says Kelly Doyen, PMP, project
lead, research and analytics at retail chain
Best Buy, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
“Nothing kills a mood like a meeting
that nobody understands the value or
purpose of,” she says. “Always have
some sort of an agenda or introduce
[the meeting] with how people are
going to benefit from it.”
Ms. Doyen also recommends restricting the number of attendees,
especially at bigger companies.
“Best Buy has 5,000 people on its
corporate campus so there are many
people who don’t know each other.
Limit the numbers. It establishes a comfort zone, especially with big project
chartering meetings where you’re setting
up a project community.”
Set the ground rules—or you could
end up with 50 people.
“How do you have a productive
meeting with that many egos in the
room?” Ms. Doyen says
One way around the dreaded cycle
of seemingly never-ending meetings
is to hold a two- to four-day kickoff—and then promise to never do it
The project planning can be done as
a group in an initial meeting and from
then on, status meetings can be limited
to 30 minutes each week, says John
Patton, PMP, CEO of Cadence
Management Corp., a project management consulting and training company
in Portland, Oregon, USA.
To keep on target, project managers
should state the project objective in less
than a minute—just to set context—
then go down the line of active tasks and
get an update on the open ones.
“People can say during their status
updates that the task is red or green or they
have an issue,” Mr. Patton says. “If it’s red
status, or there’s an issue, it means they
need to stay to work on their problems.
Everyone else is free to go back to work.”
Of course, every meeting should be
structured to the audience at hand—
and not everyone necessarily minds
“It depends on the reason for the
meeting,” says Yukio Kohara, PMP,
director of the project management
office at Fujitsu Advanced Engineering
Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
“We might dislike a half-day staff
meeting but that isn’t because of the long
hours,” he says. “It’s usually that there’s a
disconnect between the ‘power players’—
the project manager, the boss and others—and the team members.” For example, stakeholders and team leaders will
want to hit milestones and get the project
done, while team members may focus on