When a deep technical discussion is scheduled, the project manager may decide that they will multitask during this discussion since only the development or testing teams will mostly participate. In meetings such as this, where the project manager is not the focal point of the meeting, it still behooves the project manager to pay attention during these calls. Below are the top 5 reasons why the project manager should not multitask during meetings.
The Project Manager is Accountable to Understand the Action Items
Yes, the rest of the project team are mostly participating on this call rather than the project manager, but the project manager is accountable to understand the action items that surface from these calls.
For example, if a software developer is having a detailed discussion on implementation, they will speak of the actions necessary to complete this integration. The project manager must walk away from this meeting understanding these steps at a high-level and understanding what are the associated risks or dependencies. The project manager shouldn't be answering emails during this discussion.
The Project Manger May Miss Critical Decisions Made
During the course of the meeting, there may be critical decisions being made that the project manager needs to log. This is crucial because, later in the project, the decisions log can be referred to so that there is no confusion on what decisions were made especially when it comes to scope.
For example, if there is a requirements document review by a business analyst, the project manager must pay attention during this call to note decisions made about scope management. If items are removed from scope, the project manager must add this decision to the log. Logging decisions like this is especially crucial when dealing with software vendors.
It's Annoying When People Have to Repeat
If the project manager is caught not paying attention people will likely get a sense of this. When information is constantly repeated to the project manager, this will become annoying to the project team because they have a lot of work to do to get the project done. It doesn't help if the project manager is demonstrating that they're not paying attention.
Risks May Surface During the Discussions
During deep-dive discussions for development or requirements gathering, new risks may surface during these calls. The project manager is accountable to gather these risks, discuss a mitigation plan, and log them into the risk register. If there is no time to discuss these risks on this call in detail, the project manager will need to arrange another time to discuss these risks in detail.
The Project Manager May Learn Something New
If there are discussions around integration, this is an opportunity for the project manager to understand how different technologies integrate with each other. During architecture discussions, the project manager can learn how data flows from one database to another. Finally, if there are business requirements meetings, the project manager can understand the business use cases and how the new system will work.
It makes sense for the project manager to utilize their time as wisely as possible. However, this must be done in a way that doesn't impede the project manager from their work and understanding what needs to be done. During meetings, the project manager must pay attention and determine what time slots are available to take care of the administrative work.