Article #374 With the Growing Trend of Work from Home and Social Distancing, Will Meeting Rooms Continue to Become a Requirement to Have on Construction Sites?

Maybe one of the benefits that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the delivery of capital construction projects is that to have meetings that do not need to have all stakeholders present at the same room. The time wasted on pre-meetings and post-meetings tasks can prove to be quite costly. Take for the example the cost of transportation to a meeting or from one meeting to another which might entail many times the cost of travel, lodging and other associated expenses. In addition, there is the cost of rescheduled or ineffective meetings due to the absence of one the key stakeholders when they cannot be physically present at a meeting.

The work from home requirement imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic’s lockdown and social distancing rules has made using meeting applications like Zoom, Teams, Webex among others a must for carrying out those meetings. Actually, those applications made it possible for project stakeholders to meet more often with stakeholders located at different parts of the world at times that were not possible to have at construction sites. Thus, eliminating much of the wasted effort and cost associated with meetings that require physical presence of attendees.

Nevertheless, regardless of the meeting purpose which could be for design review meeting, value engineering workshops, pre-bid meeting, tender opening meetings, kick-off meeting, progress meetings, technical meetings, contractor meetings, QA/QC meetings, HSE meetings, change management meetings, steering committee meetings, BIM coordination meetings, risk management meetings, interface management meetings, project handover meetings among others, all discussions made during those meetings need to be documented and shared with the attendees. To take advantage of online meetings, capturing and displaying the discussed business items and whom been assigned to for action and by when those actions are due during the meeting will eliminate the wasted time in reviewing and approving the meeting minutes.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, all types of meeting minutes can be documented and shared. Similar to the meeting minutes common on projects, PMWeb allows capturing the general details of a meeting like type, date, meeting start and end time, list of attendees among others as well as the business items discussed during the meeting. For each business item which can be captured in rich text to allow formatting the text, there will be fields for assigned to, due date, category, subject, schedule task that could be impacted by the business items, completion date, notes and confirmation if the business item was done. To maintain continuity of discussions, PMWeb “Create Next” option allows creating the agenda for the next meeting for which all business items labelled as “done” will be removed.

Since it is common when discussing a meeting business item to make reference to some specific project documents, PMWeb allows attaching those documents to each business item. Documents can be uploaded and attached to the relevant business item or use PMWeb document management repository to select and attach the documents that might be already uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. Of course, there is also the option to attach documents and link records and emails to the meeting minutes as an overall.

In case there is a need to review and approve the meeting minutes before it is shared with the meeting attendees and other stakeholders, a workflow will be assigned to the meeting minutes. The workflow will identify the workflow steps, duration, responsibility, available action types and sequence.

The approved meeting minutes can then be shared with the attendees and other stakeholders using PMWeb transmittal module. From within the meeting minutes, the option to generate the transmittal will be selected. The created transmittal form will have its own workflow to share the meeting minutes.

If there is no need to use the transmittal form to distribute the meeting minutes to its intended recipients who might either have or do not have access to PMWeb platform, the Notification option will be used. This option allows sending a PDF file version of the meeting minutes and the document attachments. Of course, there is also the option to send a hyperlink to the meeting minutes captured in PMWeb. Emails can be sent to PMWeb users as well as non-PMWeb users. All sent email notifications will be recorded in the notification tab showing the date and subject of each sent notification.

The meeting minute output form can be designed in any desired form or format to adhere with each organization’s formal project communication branding. The meeting minutes form will display all required data fields in the desired layout with the option to display the list of documents attached to the meeting minutes. The form could be designed to have hyperlinks to those attached documents.

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The register of the history of meeting business items is one of the most important reports that project stakeholders would always wish to have. This report shows the history of all discussions made on meetings business items. The report could include filter options to refine the selection of business items to be displayed.

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Another ready to use output form that is available in PMWeb is the reminder letter or dunning letters sent to individuals who have been assigned actions on the meeting business items. Those letters will be sent to overdue business items that their action due date has already elapsed. The letter format can be designed in any desired format and will include the list of those overdue business items.

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About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 300 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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