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How Often Do You Talk to Your Team? (#3 in the series Three Questions that Separate a Good PM from a Great One)
By Didier Thizy

The answers to this question tell you a lot. So much about project management has to do with communication, but more doesn’t mean better. Efficient communication that involves the right people at the right times is key.

Who hasn’t experienced the dreaded two hour meeting where twenty participants give their status for 30 seconds and spend the rest of the meeting trying to stay awake? If twenty people waste two hours every week, that’s a total of 260 person-days per year.

I ask this question in several parts:

  1. How often do you talk to your team?
  2. How often do you meet as a team?
  3. Who are the participants in the meeting?
  4. What is the agenda?
  5. How long does each meeting last?

There are plenty of good answers. An hour-long weekly team meeting, where the agenda focuses on announcements, upcoming risks, and issues, is reasonable. Supplementing this with daily scrum meetings, or additional bi-weekly meetings with the team lead are good ideas, too.

You might raise a flag if a candidate suggests:

  1. Daily meetings involving ten people and a long agenda. Especially if they say this takes only 15 minutes a day.
  2. Round-table status report meetings. Productive meetings usually have a structured agenda focusing on what’s coming up, instead of what’s done.
  3. Frequent one-on-one meetings and no group meetings. Sometimes group meetings are the most efficient way of sharing information.
  4. Excluding team members, for example, QA or documentation.

Note: This article is part of a series about interviewing Project Managers.

Didier Thizy is a Director of Project Management at Macadamian, a global software consultancy that helps companies create software products that their customers will love, from concept to market. Didier is a certified PMP, and oversees a portfolio of projects and ships dozens of successful product releases a year.

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