How a PM can Leverage MS Outlook to Improve Team Planning & Follow Up

Do you struggle with getting your team to attend your weekly meetings or obtain a status on their action items? Sometimes leveraging a tool such as MS Outlook can assist a Project Manager to gain compliance within their team, and ultimately increase their monitor and control efficiency.

Let’s look at two important weekly Monitor and Control Activities that a PM can leverage MS Outlook to assist them in managing their project plan:

  • Weekly status meetings
  • Action item list from meeting minutes

PM ACTIVITY: Weekly status meetings

Problem:

Unclear expectation about who is supposed to attend the meeting.

Solution:

When sending out meeting invitations use the “optional” option to send a request to people that do not need to be in attendance and the “required” option only for those individuals that need to be in the meeting.

View #1: When adding attendees from your address book

View #2: When adding attendees from the scheduling assistant.

PM ACTIVITY: Weekly status meetings

Problem:

The attendees forget that they have a meeting

Solution:

  1. Create a reoccurring meeting on the same day and time to create a cadence of accountability.
  2. Set up a reminder of 1-2 hours instead of the default 15 mins so the team has more time to rearrange their schedule if they have overlapping meetings.
  3. Send out a reminder invitation the day prior. This will remind the attendees about your meeting. Be sure to use this technique sparingly to reduce the quantity of emails that a recipient receives. (As of now Outlook does not have a multiple reminder feature).

PM ACTIVITY: Action items from Meeting minutes requiring an update (this technique can also be used of any email you need a reply):

Problem:

Meeting minutes are sent via email with action items that require a reply, but a response is never sent because they opened the email, intended to send you a reply and got distracted. Or any other reason a recipient would forget to reply.

Solution:

Set up a reminder on the email. For the recipient to receive a message to reply to you by a specific date.

View #1: Add the reminder from the Message tab>Follow-Up>Add Reminder

Hopefully, these quick tips will help you proactively monitor and control your project