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An engineering release meeting is a well-established part of most manufacturing companies and often can have a major impact on the health of a project. All too often, engineering release meetings are carried out in haste and lead to issues down the line that could have been resolved before they even arose. Listed below are five keys to keep in mind when planning an engineering release meeting.
- Preparation: One of the most important steps in holding a productive engineering release meeting is the organizer’s preparation beforehand. Ensuring all the available information is gathered, recorded, and understood will allow for clear deliverables and scope to be set and will help to eliminate the possibilities of unforeseen bottlenecks or repeating previously made mistakes. The engineering release meeting is of critical importance to the success of a manufacturing project and sets the tone for a project’s progression. By beginning a project on the right foot, all members of the team can have clear instruction of their roles and understand what should be their discourse if a potential problem arises.
- Openness: While it is critical that as much information on the project is available, it is equally important that team members are honest about their assessments of this information. By making note of concerns during the meeting when everyone is together, the likelihood of making the correct decision for the project path is greatly increased given that multiple perspectives can be considered and any confusions explained. While there may be disagreements on some decisions, it is important that everyone understands why a certain path was taken and “buys” into the choice. The release meeting is the time to voice concerns as begrudgingly pointing fingers later only hurts the cohesion of the team.
- Accountability: As important as the prep work is, it can all be for naught if there is a lack of follow through or accountability once the release meeting is over. Setting realistic goals and deliverables will help to keep the project on schedule and can also act as valuable metrics for future projects.
- Records: To assist in keeping goals well defined and team members accountable, meeting notes should be taken by a designated member of the team during the release meeting. Once compiled and typed into an easily understood format, these notes should be sent to each member present to eliminate any possible areas of misunderstanding. It is the responsibility of each member to read over these notes and affirm that what is written is also what they understood after leaving the meeting.
- Standardization: By following a standardized format for each release meeting, team members will develop an understanding for how meetings should proceed and therefore can prepare better themselves. By developing this culture, a meeting will move along smoothly rather than being viewed as a burden by members as is too often the case. Tedious and unorganized meetings set a negative tone to a project and can be just as detrimental to the success of a project as late delivery by a vendor; therefore, it is the organizer’s responsibility to be well prepared and set a good example for other members moving forward.