UX Project Management Series: Time Management and You (Part Three)
This is the last part of our time management series in this UXproject management series. The other parts of the series can be found under the UX daily tab on our website. We’ve just got a few more tips for keeping your time on track to deliver your creative projects with ease:
Be Ruthless in Meetings
Meetings were the biggest time waste of my employed life. It’s amazing how you can bring a lot of busy people together and they prioritize idle chit-chat a ton of digression over getting back to work. Then they all complain about the late nights they do. You can make meetings much shorter with a few simple tips:
Eliminate chairs. It may seem mean but people tend to be a lot more focused when they’re not sitting down in comfort. I found that taking the chairs out of a meeting room would result in 50-75% shorter meetings.
Send an agenda for a meeting if it’s your meeting and don’t go to meetings without an agenda if it’s not. The purpose of a meeting should be clearly defined. So make sure you define what your meetings are about and then share them ahead of time. I refused to go to meetings without an agenda – if the holder can’t tell me what they need to achieve, I can’t prepare and the meeting has no hope of staying on track.
Stick to the agenda. Work to the agenda. If people go off track; help them park their ideas/issues for another meeting. Say something along the lines of; “That’s great input, thank you but we’re here to focus on XYZ topic. If that idea needs some more time – can we schedule some time after this meeting to look at it?” You don’t have to spend your time discussing things that aren’t relevant to your meeting.
Help others stick to the timetable in meetings that aren’t yours. Be pointed about the fact that you are in the meeting for x amount of time. Explain that you have other things to work on and can’t be late. Then offer reminders when that time starts to disappear.
Make notes and circulate points of agreement after the meeting. I’ve lost track of the number of meetings I’ve attended where nothing actually happens after them. It’s not enough to get agreement on something – you need action from meetings. Make notes and send out tasks, timings and responsibilities after each meeting. In the worst case scenario this also covers your backside when someone comes back and says; “I didn’t know I had to do XYZ…”
Send notes before meetings. Meetings go faster if you don’t have to spend half your time recapping the last meeting. Send notes on what has already been done and what you need to get done in the meeting. That keeps participants prepared and lets you get work done faster in the meeting itself.