by Kristoffer Fongen | December 10, 2019
Do you sometimes look for information in the meeting minutes?
Or try to write up minutes in the evening for a meeting you don’t remember all the details of?
And how often do the meeting participants turn up unprepared to your meetings?
These are some of the challenges I come across when speaking to project members in the construction industry. Almost everyone despairs over the time that is lost and constantly asks him- or herself how to become more efficient, but no one seems to know the answer.
That’s why I’m writing this blog post: to let you into the secrets. I will explain how you can turn the ship around and move the focus onto your MEETINGS. Meetings are, after all, the forum where you get together to go through projects with the aim of allocating tasks, ensuring that projects progress as they should and finding efficient solutions. So, it’s no good if meetings just result in boring minutes that are rarely read or followed up, is it?
Wouldn’t it be better to think again? For the project meeting to be the highlight of the week?
It would clearly be more efficient if a particular case rather than the meeting minutes served as the starting point for gathering information during project meetings, as it is almost always a particular issue you want or need to update yourself on. So, why can’t all the history for a particular case be saved in one place?
Excel is often used to create overviews. The content often consists of short search words, offering many sorting options. Alongside Excel, Word is usually used to describe each case in more detail, and the document often forms the basis for the meeting minutes. If there are also links to other documents, such as drawings or descriptions, you end up with a real muddle of documents to keep track of, not least as the information is often stored in different places and parts of the project structure. As you probably realise, it’s not that easy to find information later in this mess.
To avoid unnecessary administrative work, it is therefore important to try to find a solution in which the Word document, Excel and other files can be saved in the same system and place.
Colourful columns in Excel that show if a project is in progress, completed or somewhere in between is something many will be familiar with. A good overview provides control over everything that happens, which is crucial to the continued development of the project. In situations like these, the visual elements are incredibly important, so it’s useful to be able to hide activities that are no longer relevant to show, as it is of course more important to be able to see clearly what needs to be prioritised. Tools are needed that provide an easy and good overview and control and that can be adapted to different needs. The right tool, easy search functions and clear priorities allow project members to work efficiently.
Postponing things that need to be done wastes time in many projects. It’s not unusual for emails to be sent just to delay something that should already have been completed. Once an action has been completed, an extra check is often performed to ensure that everything has been done according to the contract – sounds familiar? So, let automatic reminders do parts of the job. A tool that sends out reminders when tasks are allocated and at set times before the deadline facilitate the work of the project managers. Automatic reminders of, for example, inspections, mean that project managers don’t have to keep everything in their heads or check manually when an inspection is due to take place, as they receive notifications when it’s time. This is one of many examples of how small features can really make a difference to the everyday work.
Interaxo gives you access to an efficient solution that makes it easier to manage meeting minutes, find information and update documents. All the information is collected in one place, making it easy for all project members to access. Good control and overviews build confidence for you and the other project members.
How much time would you save in your project if every member saved an hour’s work a week?
Creating an overview of the issues to be addressed is an important part of preparing for a meeting. Start by creating an overview of issues with ‘in progress’ status. This will make it easier in the next step to filter/group the issues based on subject areas/types of cases. Department, meeting date, persons responsible, due dates, etc. are examples of subject areas that can be useful to sort on. Subject areas are considered supplementary information and can be formulated according to your needs. By sorting the issues by subject, you can create different overviews to easily return to at a later time. These tools help you quickly create a meeting agenda that is easy to follow during the meeting.
Once you have chosen what to raise during the meeting, you need to decide exactly what should be shown. When you open a case, all the information is shown: who is responsible, deadlines, what the assignment covers, etc. One and the same view shows all the supplementary information, all files linked to the case and a log of all changes that have been made. There is also a smart communication/dialog box with a useful overview of the messages that have been sent as a result of the actions carried out by different project members.
When there is new information about a case, it should be entered in a text field (part of the supplementary information). The text should clearly show who has said what. Information can also be added about who attended the meeting. If necessary, you can go back to this information at a later time to follow the process and see which issues are related to the case. Update the information and make sure it is shown on the big screen in the meeting room. This gives everyone the chance to speak and insert comments if anything needs to be reformulated or changed. Then move on to the next case. This creates a good structure for your meetings and means you don’t have to keep minutes. It is also a great benefit as everyone can take part in and discuss the case within the framework of the whole project.
External parties are often given responsibility for different issues. So, it may be a good idea to add a check function to ensure that the task is carried out in accordance with the agreement. This can be a challenge, but with Interaxo it is easy as you can just add an extra step, a so-called check step, before the status of the case changes from ‘in progress’ to ‘completed’. Cases that are completed will then automatically go to this step and, if you want, you can activate a feature that automatically sends a message to the person concerned. To be absolutely sure that all cases are dealt with in the right meeting, it is important that only one person is responsible for deciding who has the right to change the status from ‘checked’ to ‘completed’ for different cases. A good check is everything when it comes to quality assurance and secure deliveries.
Once a case has been completed, its status is changed to ‘completed’ and the information is locked to prevent editing. All information, including decision bases, is now saved during each action. When the case has been completed and ‘archived’, it is shown as completed. However, the information is still available for viewing if required. This means that all documentation relating to the case is stored and can be retrieved when necessary.
If, for some reason, a report of the agenda for a particular meeting is needed, it is possible to export the agenda to Excel. From there, the information can be processed further.
Interaxo is a cloud-based solution. This means that project members can easily keep themselves up to date and update cases between meetings. By ensuring project members always have access to up-to-date information, the need for physical meetings is reduced, saving both time and money. As the right people can be notified automatically when something happens in the project, the response time decreases, not least because they don’t need to look for updates in different places.
Remember the following 5 points before you start your next meeting:
With the help of action lists in Interaxo, you get a full overview of all cases, making it easier to find information and see current project statuses. You can also make sure project members always have access to up-to-date information – and you don’t have to write separate meeting minutes afterwards. It is easier for project members to find areas of responsibility and what is important, and they will come better prepared to the meetings. In other words, case management becomes much easier and smoother. Our experience shows that project members won’t be overwhelmed with emails and that decisions will be communicated with greater clarity. This makes actions clearer and above all: your meetings become more exciting and efficient, and maybe even the highlight of the week!
Contact me by email to find out more!