I have been to countless meetings in my professional career and I can honestly say that meeting minutes don’t work and are a waste of time (IMO). What typically happens is that someone sends out a few bullets after (sometimes weeks) the meeting occurs. Oftentimes there are decisions made or follow ups that need to be managed. There is usually a project folder with all of the meeting minutes sorted by date. Having a folder of meeting minutes means that team members need to sort through each document to find the relevant information and it rarely gets revisited.
A more effective technique to manage meeting information is to track it in central “living” documents. There are really only four things that can happen in a meeting and each of these things should be tracked in it’s own document:
1. Action Item Log – Any follow up item from the meeting should be documented here with the date assigned, owner, due date and status
2. Issue Log – Any issue that is brought up in the meeting should be tracked here with the person who noted it, the assigned owner and progress
3. Risk Log – Sometimes risks are raised in meetings which need to be managed with the impact and action plan
4. Decision Log – Any decision made in a meeting needs to be tracked with the date, who made the decision and a description of the decision. This is really helpful as projects progress and decisions are sometimes forgotten or questioned.
These four documents can then be managed on a regular basis, communicated out, followed up on by the Project Manager, and reviewed at upcoming meetings. It makes the finding of information easy instead of trying to remember which weekly status meeting a specific topic was discussed.