project status calls: back to basics

Organising Project Management Status Calls: Back to basics

In a recent piece written for our blogs at Orange Business Services, project management expert and PMI South of France President Michel Operto is once again delivering top notch advice for project Marketing managers. In this day and age, project management is no longer restricted to technical people. Everyone is involved in project management, and above all Marketing managers, chiefly in the high tech sector.

Besides, what Michel is driving at here is not project management techniques per se, but the basic rules which apply to anyone organising status calls and meetings. Simple and straightforward, here are the principles that noone should forget:

I’m often amazed by the apparent lack of professionalism some people demonstrate in running calls, especially with sponsors, customers, prospects, senior management…

I wonder if some of the basics we learned early in our careers have not been forgotten. In my case, I learned these when cell phones, instant messaging, tweets… did not yet exist, and also  at a time when telecoms costs were much more significant than Today. This may explain why some of these basics may seem a bit outdated. However, I personally still find them very very relevant in my day to day communications. I think that they also are a display of my respect towards the person I’m calling and for the time he or she dedicates to discuss with me.

Given time that Project Managers spend on calls, I thought that it could be useful to share how I always try to structure to be in good position. It is quite simple:

1. greet, introduce and relate: if I speak frequently with the person, it is quite simple to find « small talk » topics to break the ice. If I do not know the person very well, I’ll try to refer back to my notes from prior interactions, or perform a quick Google or LinkedIn search. And, if the person is referenced on the intranet directory, look at her information and picture to put a face on the name.

2. position: confirm the purpose and objectives of the call

3. confirm timing: confirm until when you have for this call and then do not overrun unless requested by the person you call

4. communicate plan: provide a rapid outline of the topics you’d like to cover during the call. It avoids surprises, it helps to structure the call and also it gives a way to check progress versus time allotted for the call.

read on on the Orange Business Live blog

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Yann Gourvennec

CEO & Founder at Visionary Marketing
Yann has a long-standing experience in marketing, information systems and Web marketing. He created in 1996 and since then, he has practiced Web strategy, e-business and Web communications in the field. He was a member of from 2008 till 2013. He is a lecturer, a keynote speaker, an author and blogger. In early 2014, he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur when he founded his digital marketing agency Visionary Marketing.
Yann Gourvennec
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