Sometimes people forget to follow up on their Action Items from meetings. They sometimes misremember meeting decisions as well. To mitigate this, I usually take detailed meeting notes in Google Docs and tag people on the Action Items they're responsible for. However, we don't always have meeting notes (e.g., for an ad hoc situation). What are some best practices for avoiding misunderstandings?
A few ideas I have are:
I like the ideas from @Mistplay. My general approach is that there should be something written down that you can refer back to for any meaningful decision. It could be an email, a 1:1 doc, or even in a code change, but there should be some written trail.
Depending on how large and/or contentious the change is, I'd also consider making others aware of the decision, e.g. make a post so that the whole team/manager/director is aware of the outcome.
The other element to keep in mind is consistency in messaging. For example, a week later, send an update email reiterating "Last week we decided X, and here's the update on that".
When people reply to action items with when they'll be done, don't reply right away. Wait a couple of days, then thank them, ask if they are still on target to meet their original estimated completion date.
Why can’t it be “reply right away to acknowledge if needed” and “follow up a couple of days later about the progress”?
Something about the “don’t reply right away only to do X later” advice feels very off to me.
Not sure what the intent behind that is but if the idea is to play (manipulation, political) games — I’d stay away from adopting such tactics because I don’t want to think like that.
Especially when alternate solutions that are more pleasant are easily available.
Use the most common async communication channel (be it email, Slack, Teams, or Workplace) to post the list of action items. Each item needs to include:
Now the most important part: You need to follow up by reposting this list of action items again and again in a predetermined cadence with updates. Something like this:
Everybody can see the behavior difference between A, B, and C. They are held accountable in public. Of course, you need to reach out to them in private before posting an update if you are not sure about what's going on with their action item. Give them a chance to update you even if you see no activity. Give them a chance to share the context of what happened and why.
Do this in the team's public space if it's relevant to the team, even if the action items came out from a 1:1. It's not about whether it came out from a 1:1. It's about how it matters to the team and how to make sure the team gets what it needs to succeed.
Post it as soon as the meeting finishes. If you are not sure if someone signed up for something in the meeting, ask them. If they are tagged but didn't think they sign up for it, they should speak up as soon as possible or everybody assumes they signed up for it.