What are good practices to make sure action-items get followed through after meetings?

Austin Yang
26 replies
Hi guys, what are some useful tips to ensure action-items discussed in a meeting get followed-through, and not just forgotten?


Philip Wels
Great question. Depending on the team dynamic and company culture, there are different ways to approach this. Not every approach or tool works for everybody. It would be great to have more insights about the situation you are having this challenge in. Generally, I would say, make sure that you only have meetings with the relevant people with a clearly predefined goal and somebody writing down meeting minutes (protocol) that are available to everyone that attended the meeting after the meeting. The meeting minutes need to cover at least the following: 1. Participants, time and location 2. Agenda of the meeting / topics that were discussed 3. Decisions that were taken and action-items that were given, including the responsibilities and deadlines. 4. List of pre-defined follow-up measures. (can be part of your culture) When you have the meeting minutes, you can take the action-items and put them in your task management system, add the deadline into your calendar or set up a follow-up meeting. For example, we use MS Notes to write the meeting minutes and push the tasks to MS Planner for our internal weekly meetings. Updating this is part of the weekly meeting agenda.
Austin Yang
@wtphilip Thanks! Who is usually in charge of taking minutes?
Philip Wels
@iamaustinyang You could for example assign 2 different people responsible for the meeting minutes. One does the writing and the second only reviews and amends the notes. It really all depends on your team structure, existing skills, topics discussed in meetings, existing office infrastructure, etc. The input of Lluis Ventura regarding comeet.me might also work well.
Sebastian Bauer
Have them as real postits at a wall, looking on them every single day as a group and holding each other accountable for them.
Niranjan Yadav
Be Polite Be Casual Be Patient Best followup approach: Through Email/Original Channel - post meetings Bad followup approach: Whatsapp/Social Media Best day to followup: T + 15 Day Bad time for followups: within 7 Days Most conversions happen: T + 8 Day Hope this helps!
subho Dhar
Me want to practice.
Lluís Ventura
At comeet.me we have been trying to answer that same question ourselves, and here is our solution to it. Few points to answer: 1. Send a recap email with meeting highlights and next-steps always (don't need to be big, but clear) 2. Next steps should be visible and trackable so when is done everyone involved can see it (we do that in your Calendar) 3. In your Next meeting should be easy to follow-up That's exaclty what we are doing, inside your Calendar, anf you GMeet. Happy to show you more.
Kenaz Kwa
Every action item must fulfill some key requirements: 1. Clear understanding of the goal or objective (the "what") 2. Clear understanding of how the action item contributes to that goal or objective (the "why") 3. Clear ownership of who is responsible (the "who") 4. Alignment on priority of the action to the person doing it In my experience, the problem is usually 4. Sometimes it's 1 or 2 or 3. But usually it's that whatever the action item is is more urgent to you than it is to the person who is responsible for it. Also, the list above forces me to reduce action items to a small set (i.e. 1-2 things per person at most) that actually move the needle and can be fully explained.
Shed Life
How about trying to allocate ownership to each action-item before culminating meetings
Gergely Varga
@shedlifepod That's a very important point. Assigning ownership to tasks during and after the meeting is the way to go.
Sebastian Bauer
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Bud Ross
Getting Things Done (GTD) is a great book. We use Notion's Kanban board and then utilize a RACI approach. Each meeting then we have a different scribe who goes through each card to get an update. Additionally, we're able to create new tasks and initiatives during all of this. So new initiatives get a new card, and new tasks within an initiative are added directly.
Bud Ross
And always always have at least one person who is accountable and a due date. And make sure it's absolutely clear who is owning it.
Thomas Alan
Has anyone here experimented with using the app Otter otter.ai for taking meeting notes. I’m not affiliated with them in any way but it looks promising. I’m someone who struggles to actively listen in a meeting while taking notes and I always wish I had more.
Alan Cox
I'd encourage you to read up on Elon Musk's, Jeff Bezos and Jason Fried (Basecamp) take on meetings. Meetings usually are a huge cost. My 2 cents is to keep meetings small, very short, highly focussed and yes make it clear who owns action points.
Kangle Lin
defiantly make advancement, you write them down so u won't forget it.
Guillaume Clement
Our company has been using the EOS methodology for a little over a year. Every week we host what is called an L10 Meeting on running the business. I've borrowed a lot of concepts from that methodology to run all of my meetings. The Identify, Discuss, Solve portion of the meeting is like a mini Sprint planning session while running a meeting. Quite interesting:
Shadab Khan
Thank you sir Aap ko mere baat acchi lagi
Wayne Smallman
Hi @iamaustinyang, when working with major corporations, we often have a designated person who: 1. takes the minutes of the meeting; 2. shares those minutes to everyone afterwords; 3, and then follows up on each action point that had been assigned to a person or a team. On the face of it, it's a simple enough approach, but I'm certain it took a lot of effort (herding cats, knitting fog, so on and so forth).
Robert Zalaudek
This isn't necessarily a practice but an app that helps make meetings more productive and ensures that follow-up actions are sent to meeting participants and flagged for the next meeting if they're not done. https://www.thena.app/
Lakhan Jain
We generally do our discussions on whiteboard, and add separately our action items on the whiteboard itself. After the meeting, we send the pic of the whiteboard to members via slack channel or email. Respective owners create the tickets for their action items. But this type of approach works only when every person in the meeting has a sense of ownership.