5 Steps to Preparing an Agenda for an IT Team Meeting

Traditional meetings have a bad reputation. They often are seen as a waste of time. Maybe one or two people dominate the conversation while everyone else politely listens. Today, participation in meeting is even more difficult obtain.

Video conferences are part of everyday business, nowadays. It�s pretty easy to play Farmville 2 on a laptop while a video conference plays out on a small window in the corner of the screen. Leaders face a tremendous challenge to execute effective meetings because of continual technological disruptions.

Why is this Meeting Important?

Before setting an agenda, determine the need for the meeting. Successful businesses revolve around goals. They give the company and the employees a direction and help them focus.

Meeting leaders should be able to envision the end result of the meeting. If there is a problem to be solved then leaders should set up the necessary steps needed to solve the problem. A big part of successful meetings is organization.

The leader of the meeting should have a list of topics to cover during the meeting in addition to the agenda. The list can help the leader move the meeting along and keep it on track. The list might even have time limits set for each topic.

It is probably best to address the most important topic first. That way everyone is fresh, and there is less chance someone will miss out because he has to leave early.

Invite the Right People

If the subject of the meeting is a broad IT issue then there probably will be many players involved in the project. Not all of them need to be in every meeting. Target those players who have direct input in the specific aspect of the project that will be covered at the meeting.

This goes back to the idea of not wasting people�s time and maintaining focus on achieving the goals of the meeting. There is no point in having a meeting, if the key players can�t make it. It�s better to reschedule.

Often the main purpose of an IT team meeting is not to update everyone on the status of the project but to get everyone moving in the right direction, says Michael Sisco of Tech Republic. A good project manager should know what the status of the project is before the meeting.

In planning the agenda, the meeting leader should identify the blockers to completing individual tasks. It�s best to formulate a plan to eliminate the blockers before the meeting and clarify what needs to be done during the meeting.

Logistics Are Part of the Agenda

Not all conference rooms are the same. During agenda preparation, the leader should take into account the size of the group and find a room that is suitable.

Not all video conferencing vendors are created equally in their accommodations. Even if the meeting leader has run meetings a 100 times, it�s good to check the equipment before the meeting and work out any bugs.

It would be pretty embarrassing to host a meeting with IT employees and have to delay because the projector does not work correctly or the Wi-Fi is down. Collaboration is easier today thanks to communications technology.

With the right equipment and proper operation of such equipment, companies can accelerate innovation. Connecting with external partners is critical, says Brian L. Heckler of KPMG.

Call on Everyone

If the invitees are indeed relevant to the meeting then it makes sense to contact them during the agenda planning stage. This will help make sure the proper terminology is present in the slide deck at least.

Another advantage to involving players in agenda planning is to clear up misunderstandings about technical capabilities. This will help avoid surprises and disappointments during the meeting. If all participants know what is expected up them before the meeting, they will be more likely to show up prepared.

By giving everyone advanced notice of the status and expectations of his specific task, the meeting participants will be ready to give answers. There won�t be a lot of time wasted because people won�t have to try to come up with solutions on the spot.

Find out What�s Been Done

Hopefully, there are minutes or notes from previous meetings on the project or similar subjects. This is good information to research so the agenda for the meeting will not repeat ground previously covered.

Hopefully, the meeting leader can summarize the problems to be solved and give background information to participants in the agenda text and distribute it to the participants at least a day before the meeting.

IT team meetings can be productive and go quickly, if the leader plans the agenda properly and engages with the participants before the gathering.