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How often should you run status meetings?

The purpose of a status meeting is to get an update on a particular project or goal and prevent or identify any problems or blockers. On one hand, you want to make that you are not creating more work by checking in too often or micromanaging. On the other hand, you want to get ahead of any potential issues to make sure that your team feels supported. There are a few elements to consider when deciding how often you should run status meetings.

The scope and length of the project

The larger scope and term projects often require less frequent status meetings since they are spread out and need more time to show appropriate progress. Often the first few weeks of a project will start as weekly as everyone gets clarity and then might reduce to bi-weekly. Weekly meetings might recommence near the end of the project as loose ends are tied up.

The complexity of the project and the urgency of communication

The more complex the project, the more frequent meetings should be. This prevents long intervals where work might not be going in the right direction. It gives everyone an opportunity to check-in and ask questions regularly to keep things on track. Weekly is probably appropriate.

The purpose of the status update meeting

Are you telling your supervisor where things are at on a project for accountability? Are you giving a customer a milestone update? Do you have questions for either? Regular communication for all of these is important.

Setting weekly or bi-weekly recurring meetings with your team with consistent, structured agendas sets expectations for what will be discussed, who is responsible for presenting on what (accountability!), and builds trust with customers. Everyone knows they will get a chance to have their questions answered.

Summary

The answer to how often status meetings should be held is less about how often and more about the outcomes you want from the meetings. Is it a straight status report. Status reports can be delivered via email or as an attachment and don't necessarily even require a meeting. Is it an update followed by specific questions that impact which direction you take going forward on the project? Is it a status update to the customer which is tied to billing?

The key is focussing less on the frequency of your meetings and more keeping the meeting purpose clear, efficient, and structured. Don't have unnecessary meetings just because they are scheduled, but don't spread them out so far that you don't have a good idea of the status of your projects.

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