Project management is a herculean task. Whether you’re a full-time project manager by trade, or just taking on the role of project manager for a single initiative, you’re responsible for planning, navigating, and documenting every step your team takes. All eyes are on you, and losing track of even a single detail might mean months of rework.
Which is why, as any experienced project manager will tell you, communication is key. And while project managers have a number of options for communicating details like team progress and the next decisions that need to be made, one strategy is almost universal: meetings.
Love them or hate them, for most organizations, meetings are an essential part of leading projects through to successful completion. They enable project managers to identify key details, facilitate team collaboration, solve challenging problems, and make more informed decisions. Whether it’s a kickoff meeting, a weekly status meeting, a stakeholder meeting, or a review meeting at the end of a project, every project meeting is necessary for making sure objectives are met, tasks are completed on time, and pivoting happens when it needs to.
There is, of course, no shortage of advice for making meetings more effective. In the last year or two, however, a new idea has quickly begun to gain popularity among innovative project managers, largely because it’s both simple to do in every meeting, and surprisingly effective at encouraging more productive meeting behaviors.
What’s the secret? Record every project meeting.
Sound crazy? Only because the idea is still new. For those organizations already doing it, the value speaks for itself. In fact, here are 5 ways recording your project meetings can not only make them more effective, but also help you become a more successful project manager.
5 Reasons You Should Record All Your Project Meetings
1. No detail can get lost or forgotten
When you record your project meetings, you’ll create an exact record of everything that was presented and discussed — a perfect fallback resource for anyone who’s ever had the thought, “didn’t we cover that in our last meeting?”
What’s more, when it’s time to present important summaries along the way or review the project at the end, you’ll have complete documentation of what decisions were made and how they were made throughout the project. That means you can focus on using that intelligence to determine next steps or improve upon your management of future projects.
2. Never hear the words “schedule conflict” again
Sometimes simply getting the right people together at the same time can be the biggest hurdle to moving critical projects forward. Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Webex and GoToMeeting can make geographic distance less of a problem, but they still can’t enable people to attend two different meetings at the same time. In an era when everyone’s schedules are already overbooked, experienced project managers know that finding a time that works for everyone can quickly put you at odds with hard deadlines.
By recording and sharing your meetings, you give your busiest team members the option to watch and even contribute to meetings after they’ve occurred. That added flexibility helps your team balance your project with everything else they’re working on, without requiring you to schedule meetings weeks or even months in advance.
3. Improve focus and engagement during the meeting
Having team members take detailed notes during your project meetings seems like it should be a positive, right? But documenting your discussions as they happen — whether by taking formal minutes or informal notes — comes with a catch: when team members pause to write something down, by definition they’re no longer actively participating in the meeting. That means you’re likely going to spend more time repeating yourself, and get less value out of the conversation.
Thanks to automatic meeting recording and transcription, however, no one on the team has to be distracted by the need to take down notes ever again. Instead, your attendees will be able to focus and participate more actively, making your project meetings that much more valuable and effective.
4. Get new contributors up to speed quickly
Project teams often expand, and it’s up to the project manager to get new contributors up to speed quickly. Having recordings of your project meetings can save you time when it comes to briefing them on the project goals and what’s transpired to date — enabling you to stick to communicating the high-level information they need to get going, while providing them access to all the details in videos they can watch on their own.
5. Support collaboration outside the meeting room
Often, revealing new information in a meeting counter-intuitively can lead to more work. Once others realize someone has new and valuable knowledge, it won’t be long until that person is sidetracked with requests for creating written documentation, scheduling training sessions, or holding repetitive one-on-one download meetings.
Having a recording of the initial meeting can go a long way to instantly share knowledge with others without taking more time away from a subject matter expert. And if deeper training is needed, having the tools to quickly record a presentation and share the video internally will make that knowledge available on-demand for other team members in the future.
Recording project meetings gives your people a valuable resource filled with detailed information they can reference on-demand — and does so without any extra effort on your part.
What’s better? You almost certainly already have the tools you need to make those recordings.
Using a video conferencing system to connect with at least one member of the team? Tools like WebEx, Zoom, and Skype already have recording options. Alternatively, if you’ll be able to get everyone in the same room, many conference rooms now include cameras to help facilitate other video conferences. And even if yours doesn’t, it’s a safe bet that there’s a webcam built-in to the laptops and smartphones your team carries with them.
You don’t need Hollywood-level production values — you just want to capture all the information you’re sharing. And those existing recording options are more than good enough to capture all that, so all you really need to do is just click “record” and hold the meeting just as you always would.
It’s both the easiest and smartest way to engage your team, keep them focused, and ultimately improve collaboration, both during the meeting and after the meeting ends.
An Essential Video Tool For Project Management
Recording your meetings with your onboard webcam or your video conferencing software is a quick and easy way to create useful meeting videos. And for some projects and some organizations, just having those files is enough. Oftentimes, however, once you’ve got the meeting recorded, you’ll want to do more with that video than those systems are able to support.
A video platform like Panopto is a perfect complement for video conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Webex Meetings, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans. Panopto automatically uploads every meeting recording to a central, secure video library, transcodes videos so they can be played on any device, indexes every word spoken and shown in the video for search, and generates a full transcript of the entire meeting.
Panopto also includes flexible multi-camera video recording and editing tools that anyone can use — it’s as easy as pressing “record.” For project managers, the ability to quickly record detailed HD video presentations can offer the following productivity benefits:
- Reduce your time writing detailed “next steps” emails after the meeting ends. Stop spending time polishing up meeting minutes or decoding pages of notes. Simply paste the link to the meeting recording into your email and include your action items to the team.
- Easier documentation with video. You spend hours formatting documents and pasting in screenshots to communicate every detail. Why not just record a video with supporting slides and an on-screen walk-through? With Panopto, you can capture multi-camera presentations that show every detail in far less time than it takes to write a formal written document with the same information.
- Enable more time for collaboration and decision making with flipped meetings. Meetings are where stuff gets done. But not if the first 20 minutes is spent presenting information attendees could have already watched. Record and send the presentation ahead of time so your team has the entire meeting to collaborate and problem-solve.
- Provide engaging project updates for busy stakeholders. When you don’t need to meet with influential stakeholders face-to-face, you can keep them engaged and up to date in between meetings with professional HD video presentations you record right from your laptop.
Watch a video presentation for a flipped meeting recorded with Panopto:
When combined, your video conferencing system and a video platform together can give you a simple but powerful solution that will help you turn your meeting recordings into strategically useful assets for your organization.
Record your next project meeting with Panopto Express.
Then send it to Panopto where your meeting recordings are private, searchable, and easily shared.
Panopto Express is a free video and screen recorder that works right in your browser.