Designing a Meeting Room Solution for Project Management Meetings
The key to designing a meeting room for project management meetings is really understanding what your project managers do. Don’t even think about making a purchase before you’ve sat down with a project manager to outline their job role and responsibilities.
Remember, they don’t necessarily know what they need from you to get the job done, but they do know how to get the job done, so sit back, listen and take notes on their key responsibilities and details of their role.
Whether you have a dedicated space for project management meetings or your project managers use a shared meeting room, understanding their role down to the minute details is essential before you can create a checklist of the audio visual and technical solutions that they need in place to bring out their productivity.
What’s the Agenda?
Whether overseeing projects in the advertising and digital marketing industry, or working in property and construction, at the heart of any project manager’s position is teamwork. But not everyone works in the same way; you’ll need to get hold of a few meeting agendas from your team to assess exactly how the project managers at your company run their show.
You’re looking for the information that will help you plan your purchase decisions, so ask questions about who they hold meetings with, whether they are always with internal members of staff or if they sometimes need to bring in clients or contributors remotely, what kind of information is shared at the meetings and what’s the structure of the meetings in terms of how many people will be contributing at once.
You can then reinterpret this information and their team agenda with an eye to the products and solutions they need to get the most out their meetings.
At the heart of any meeting room is the display screen, but what does a project management meeting demand of a screen? Chances are there will be a lot of status meetings looking at budgets , assessing how far through the scope of work the project is, plotting timelines, deadlines and deliverables.
There will no doubt be a spreadsheet or two involved to present all of this data and as such, detail will be paramount. For the meeting room display, if budget allows (and prices have dropped substantially now that 4K has become established), this means a 4K ultra high-definition (UHD), screen for maximum clarity to ensure that even if your team are sharing the screen with two contributors working from their own input devices, the display is always as sharp as possible.
Of course the screen has to be the right size for the room. You can read more about how to choose the right screen size for your meeting room here. But something like the 4K NEC Multisync X651UHD-2 at 65 inches is a great option to consider if you’re looking for intense image accuracy and clarity. A sharp image of this calibre is perfect for project management and ideal for displaying exceptional detail both in the initial planning process and when showcasing high quality visuals, such as new branding or a series of interactive videos, adverts or even engineering or construction blueprints and plans.
This particular screen is flexible in its connectivity options, with four HDMI ports and a DisplayPort connection. It also benefits from free Multi-Display Management Software, so if your meeting room serves a dual purpose and displays company content in between meetings, you can manage this and multiple NEC MultiSync displays from a central location.
Not every meeting will be focused on high detail - perhaps some status meetings will focus on presenting a timeline in a project management tool like Trello (which can display visual assets or design work), MeisterTask (which supports agile project management methodologies) or GanttProject for detailed Gantt charts and reporting. Even so, if you make sure that the room caters to the most detailed information your team are likely to present, then you can be confident that other content and material will look even crisper.
In addition to 4K display screens, there is also the option to install a high definition or even 4K UHD touchscreen. These screens can provide excellent image clarity but also enable group annotation, perfect for hands on meetings that focus more around feedback and collaboration. Take screens like the Clevertouch Plus 75 4K; the screen enables up to ten touch points at once and offers a variety of connection solutions, including three HDMI ports and front mounted USB ports for Android and Windows devices.
If your project manager wants other team members to contribute to meetings, it needs to be as easy as possible. With these front-mounted USB ports, contributors can connect just about any Android or Windows device to the screen and start sharing the content from their personal device instantly. This only becomes a problem if the team want to use Apple products as input devices, which unfortunately Clevertouch doesn’t cater to. Alternatively, you can take the dedicated PC approach, and set up a computer in the room that contributors can plug a USB stick straight into if they have information or visuals they need to share.
Touchscreens are great for teams that know each other, but what if your project managers regularly collaborate with contributors out of office or even bring clients in on meetings? In these cases they are often looking for a more formal means of communicating progress and presenting and reviewing various deliverables during the project’s timeline. In these cases, you’re best to go back to the traditional high resolution display screen and provide content sharing and collaboration software to enable the team to contribute from their personal devices.
For the most agile content sharing solutions, cross platform products – like the Awind WePresent WiPG2000 that support Windows, Macbooks, iOS and Android – are a great choice for coordinating both in-house and outsourced resources when you can’t predict the devices that people might bring to the meeting and expect to contribute from.
That said, where resolution and crisp, sharp imagery matters, don’t forget to look at content sharing solutions that will support the screen resolution of your main display; there’s no point in investing in a 4K screen that isn’t receiving 4K data due to your collaboration tools.
To work with the full potential of a 4K screen, select content sharing devices that will sync content with the main display without compromising on clarity. Although a product like the Awind WePresent WiPG2000 can support multiple devices, the Barco ClickShare CSC-1 supports UHD resolutions of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and AirPlay to mirror content from iOS devices. So look at your screen choice and content sharing solution at the same time to make sure one complements the other in terms of resolution, picture quality and connectivity options.
The importance of connectivity can’t be underestimated when it comes to project management meetings. Teams want to jump in and share their progress from whatever device they have with them and move on to the next stage in the project; very rarely will there be time for one person to deliver a lengthy static presentation. This means content sharing solutions that cater to multiple devices, so AirPlay for iOS products or even better, a downloadable app for smartphones and tablets on iOS and Android, as is the case with the Barco system.
Furthermore, consider whether they support onscreen annotation for touchscreens and whether they sync devices wirelessly or require additional cabling. Take a look at the full content sharing range to find the solutions that best suit your team.
Ready for Anything
At some point or another a project manager will find themselves managing a crisis, whether it’s with a client or an internal team. While their role in managing the crisis varies between organisations, in many cases the project management team will find themselves at the centre of things, communicating the situation and outlining plans to rectify the problem.
To do this effectively, any meeting room that is designed to cater to project management meetings needs to be geared up to perform under pressure, with high quality conferencing solutions that are ready to connect in an instant.
Whatever the disaster, deliverables not completed on time, missing components, trouble with external media players, technical issues on a live campaign … when a personal meeting isn't possible a video call can be invaluable to help ease client and team concerns.
If you’re already investing in an 4K UHD display, explore conferencing solutions that enable at least Full HD video to make the most of the display. Sound quality and microphone range will also have to complement HD images, so speakerphones with a 6m range for example will ensure everyone in the room can be heard. Alternatively, you can explore optional mic expansions for even wider-reaching audio.
Don’t forget, whatever you choose for your conference and video conferencing solution, it obviously needs to work with your company’s communication software but it also needs to be ready to cooperate with other common business communications software that your clients and external providers might be using, such as Microsoft Lync, Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber, or increasingly, Google Hangouts.
Investing in reliable high quality video conferencing software will increase productivity and potentially save valuable business if your project management team know that they can quickly and clearly communicate new plans and ideas to teams across the world.
For project management teams it’s about reliability and adaptability; they need fast agile solutions that support their team’s pace of work. Look carefully at connectivity to ensure that teams can all jump in as and when they need from the devices they’re used to working with. Wherever possible, invest in high resolution display screens to ensure everyone can see the detail they need to be able to do their jobs.
Whoever has the responsibility of designing a project management meeting room has the power in their hands to really influence the productivity and job satisfaction of project managers and teams across the company so take the time to understand their roles and deliver the technical solutions they need to run their project smoothly and efficiently.