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Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

How to Pay Attention in Project Meetings

The plain fact is that some project meetings can be very, very boring. It's not uncommon for members of a team to zone out through long sessions in a conference room. However, doing so can have a negative impact on your career. A meeting is usually organized by the project manager and he or she expects that all members of the team will attend and contribute to the discussions in a constructive manner, so there are expectations that you need to meet and if you do not pay attention or seem distracted during the meeting your supervisor and colleagues will notice. So here are the ways on how to pay attention in project meetings.

 

1. Get your sleep. Well-rested staff have a better chance of paying attention and really understanding what's going on, and the result can put you further ahead in your professional goals. Think about having a cup of coffee if you think it will help you to really focus in when things are going on in a meeting.

2. Make a list of your questions prior to the meeting. Taking your comments and questions with you will help you stay involved, which will give you a better chance of keeping your attention focused throughout the entire session.

3. Find a good seat. If there is a kind of "blind spot" in the back of the room, avoid this area and stick to places where you will have a good view of projected screens or focal points and where you can hear what is being said by presenters.

4. Keep the meeting on track with proactive comments and questions. Even if you don't have anything written down for a particular topic, you might be one of those people who rightly observes that a speaker is wandering, getting away from appropriate topics, or taking much too long to get across what he or she has to say. In these instances, you can do yourself and everyone else a favor by helping to focus the meeting, staying engaged and actively interjecting when appropriate.

5. Take notes during the meeting. Writing things down keeps you more engaged, and you'll come away with those choice bits of information that will help provide detail on future events or projects. It might help to file the notes that you take so that you have access to them if there's a scenario where they could come in handy.

 

 
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Definitions of Project and Project Management

b2ap3_thumbnail_definitions.pngWhat is a project?

There are many definitions for what constitutes a project; some of these definitions describe the nature of a project and how it differs from other type of work, the descriptions used to define a project include the following:

• A temporary process, which has a clearly defined start and end time, a set of tasks, and a budget, that is developed to accomplish a well-defined goal or objective.

• A temporary effort of sequential activities designed to accomplish a unique purpose

• A group of inter-related activities, constrained by time, cost, and scope, designed to deliver a unique purpose

• An undertaking that encompasses a set of tasks or activities having a definable starting point and well defined objectives.

• A clear set of activities with related inputs and outputs aimed to achieve objectives and goals linked to anticipated (desired) effects and impacts in a target population

From all these descriptions, one can see that there are some specific attributes that define a project and separate it from most ordinary work:

• A project has a beginning and an end.

• A project has limited resources

• A project follows a planned, organized method to meet its objectives with specific goals of quality and performance.

• Every project is unique

 

What is  project management?

Here are some of the standard definitions of project management:

• According to “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMI, Third Edition”, “Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project”.

• The ISO 10006, a standard for quality in project management defines it as; “Unique process consisting of a set of coordinated and controlled activities with start and finish dates, undertaken to achieve an objective conforming to specific requirements, including constraints of time, cost and resources”.

• PRINCE2, the UK standard for project management, has this definition: “a temporary organization that is needed to produce a unique and predefined outcome or result at a pre-specified time using predetermined resources”. I

• PMA, the International Project Management Association, defines a project as “a time and cost constrained operation to realize a set of defined deliverables up to quality standards and requirements”.

In other words, project management is the planning, implementing, and monitoring of project activities to meet project objectives, achieved by effectively controlling and balancing the constraint of time, cost, and scope in producing quality deliverables that meet or exceed the expectations of the project stakeholders.

 

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