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The Project Meeting Facilitator: Facilitation Skills to Make the Most of Project Meetings

ISBN: 978-1-119-12021-6
240 pages
March 2015, Jossey-Bass
The Project Meeting Facilitator: Facilitation Skills to Make the Most of Project Meetings  (1119120217) cover image


Have you ever been involved in a project that didn’t require a meeting? Neither have we. Well-run project meetings allow teams to get through the maze of distractions and obstacles to achieve results. Unfortunately, many project meetings aren’t well-run—they are viewed, by team members, as unproductive, tedious, wastes of precious time. But you can change that. The Project Meeting Facilitator contains practical techniques and practices that will help you facilitate our meetings more effectively, transforming them into well-planned, well-managed journeys that engage the team while achieving the intended goals.



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Table of Contents



1 What Is a Project Meeting Facilitator?

Profile of a Project Meeting Facilitator.

Are You the Right Facilitator for the Meeting?

Assessing Your Skill Level.

Applying Your Skills.

Summing It Up.

2 The Basics of Project Meeting Facilitation.

When to Meet—and When Not to Meet.

Profile of a Productive Meeting.

Types of Project Meetings.

Summing It Up.

3 Facilitation Tools for Keeping Meetings on Target.

Tools for Meeting Preparation.

Tools for Managing Momentum and Focus.

Tools for Clarifying Communication.

If It’s a Virtual Meeting.

If There Are Telephone Participants in Your Meeting.

Tools for Sharing Meeting Results.

Summing It Up.

4 Facilitation Tools for Keeping Everyone Engaged.

Meeting Engagement Tools.

Meeting Management Tools.

Summing It Up.


5 Facilitating Project Initiation Meetings.

Overview of the Initiation Phase.

Project Initiation Meetings.

Troubleshooting Guide.

6 Facilitating Project Planning Meetings.

Overview of the Plan Phase.

Project Planning Meetings.

Troubleshooting Guide.

7 Facilitating Project Execution Meetings.

Overview of the Execute Phase.

Project Execution Meetings.

Troubleshooting Guide.

8 Facilitating Project Control Meetings.

Overview of the Control Phase.

Project Control Meetings.

Troubleshooting Guide.

9 Facilitating Project Close Meetings.

Overview of the Close Phase.

Project Close Meetings.

Troubleshooting Guide.


Resource A: Recommended Reading.

Resource B: Recommended Websites.

Resource C: Recommended Organizations.

The Authors.



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Author Information

Tammy Adams, B.S., CPF, CQM; Jan Means, M.S., CPF; and Michael S. Spivey, M.A., CPF, PMP, are independent consultants and certified professional facilitators with years of experience in guiding project teams to produce key project deliverables. They combine their years of experience in hands-on project management, process design, supporting technology design, and group facilitation to bring proven practical assistance to companies who need to improve their ability to execute and internalize change.

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“For anyone thrown into the stormy world of managing project meetings and herding humans, The Project Meeting Facilitator provides the definitive survival kit to enable the preparation, management, and successful achievement of results from the necessary evil of project meetings. Tammy Adams, Jan Means, and Michael Spivey have combined their years of experience in real-world facilitation and teaching to provide any facilitator with a ‘Who, What, When, and When Not’ guide, supported by real tools, examples, and pitfalls.”--Dale Carr, manager, Business Analysis


The Project Meeting Facilitator is focused on traditional project meeting facilitation techniques but is easily applied in more iterative approaches like Agile, Lean, or Design-Build methodologies."--David Spann, certified professional facilitator, past MBA Director at Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah; and president, Agile Adaptive Management


  “Simply the most useful reference book available today for project managers.”--Bonnie Burkhardt, IT manager, KeySpan Corporation


“This is an excellent resource for everyone from the novice to expert project manager using a non-directive but comprehensively structured facilitative approach.”--David A. Wayne, Ph.D., CEO, Four Seasons International Consulting, Inc., past chair, International Association of Facilitators


“Every project manager should read this book—it provides clear, straightforward, easy-to-follow guidance for better meetings and more successful projects based on the sound project management and facilitation experience of the authors.”

--Gary Rush, certified professional facilitator, president, MGR Consulting


“A unique and practical approach to project facilitation mapped to the initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing phases of the project management life cycle. This book is practical in its application on projects and sets you up for success every time you facilitate a project meeting.”--Kenneth Steiness, PMP, principal consultant, Statera



“Jan, Tammy, and Michael have done it again!  Their previous masterwork, Facilitating the Project Lifecycle, was a must-have for every project manager. This time their focus is even sharper:  a whole book devoted specifically to the facilitator’s role—and to the skills and mindset required to execute that role effectively. This book is so loaded with tools, techniques and templates that even seasoned project managers will keep their copies close at hand.”--Sam Kaner, author, Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making 



  “Ineffective meetings become a thing of the past when you put the ideas in The Project Meeting Facilitator into practice. The authors not only offer a practical guide to every type of meeting in the project life cycle, they also let practitioners know when they have taken a wrong turn.”--William M. Ulrich, president, Tactical Strategy Group, Inc. and author, Legacy Systems: Transformation Strategies

  “At last—a practical guide to effective facilitation geared exclusively to the unique needs of project managers! Chock-full of easy-to-apply tools and tips, this book affirms that with proper planning and follow-through, project meeting facilitators really can play a critical role in helping teams accelerate time to results. Virtual project teams and those that work face-to-face will benefit equally.”--Nancy Settle-Murphy, president, Guided Insights


“If we had to pay for every hour we spend in meetings, would we say they are worth it?  Not usually in my experience. Well-run meetings, however, are worth every penny. This book provides practical tools and, more importantly, some real insight for the reader to evaluate their personal skill set and target areas for improvement.”--Lynn McDonald, president, Greenlight Dynamics Inc.


“Finally, a book that specifically addresses the unique facilitation skills required in project management meetings. PMs can easily match the different types of project management meetings with the skill levels and processes best suited for what they are trying to accomplish in each.”--Charles Tombazian, director, Global Strategic Planning Avnet, Inc.


“We know facilitators and facilitation help project teams to be more effective and efficient, but who helps the facilitators? Tammy Adams, Jan Means, and Michael Spivey do and the opportunity to connect to their knowledge and skill through this book is an important one.”--Cameron Fraser, IAF certified professional facilitator and chair, International Association of Facilitators


“Adams, Means, and Spivey have created a very accessible book for project managers and team leaders who want to improve their facilitation skills. There is a lot here for experienced facilitators, too. Having clearly presented the book in an organized format and a conversational tone, the authors demonstrate their own skills in facilitating (or making easy) the process of planning, running, and troubleshooting project meetings. The opening chapter includes a self-assessment of our project meeting facilitator skills—a quick way to help us pay attention to what we already know and what gaps the book can help close. I like the approach of looking at different types of meetings through the life cycle of a project from initiation to closure. This book is a great reference guide to keep dipping back into as we move through the various stages of a project.”--  Julia Young, vice president, Facilitate.com




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Related Websites / Extra

The Project Meeting Facilitator, Ancillary MaterialsThe Web material includes tools, techniques, templates, checklists, and an overview of work sessions.
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