By the end of the kickoff meeting, team members realize that they have taken on an active role. Work is required of them both at and between meetings. The between-meeting work involves interviewing others not on the project team for advice and data. Although conducting these interviews (this is called an action item) is interspersed with the team members' efforts to meet other commitments, it must not be considered secondary to other commitments and be laid aside. The project manager should ask the team members to build project commitments into their day planners.
Everyone is expected to attend the next meeting, with their task list in hand.
The IPM model, as described at the kickoff meeting, sets forth specific directions on how to plan a project. If these directions are followed, the project can meet its specifications on time and within budget. However, the model should not be viewed as rigid. It can, and sometimes must, be used with flexibility.
For example, at one particular Caterpillar Corporation plant, planning meetings are limited to 90 minutes (instead of two hours). This, of course, necessitates a few more meetings, but nothing else is changed. (Note that forty-five minute meetings, would be too short.)
The IPM model prescribes that team members be encouraged to play shared leadership roles. A young engineer attending a workshop session reported that his team would laugh at this concept. He then suggested asking each individual to play one support leadership role, when appropriate.
Another workshop student had team members scattered all over the world. Her organization would not support bringing them together for project management meetings. Therefore, she devised a telecommunications network that supported virtual team meetings and got the job done!
Always use the IPM planning model with the necessary flexibility. Results, not method, are important. The project manager should do whatever it takes to make the model work.