It was said that the essence of management is in how we run meetings. Meetings should be time-limited and have an agenda. Meetings must be kept short, effective and efficient. There are four reasons for having a meeting: to give information; to get information; to solve a problem; and to make a decision. Solving problems may require a lot of time and should be put in special-attention meetings. The meeting minutes records of what occurs and is said at the meeting. Since the minutes are the legal or official record of the proceedings and actions, it is crucial they are accurate. There is not one universal format applied how to document the minutes. We need to put all important information and the thinking process built in the discussion, not one less, in clear and understandable minutes. A structured and systematic procedure is required to manage the problem-solving sessions and develop its minutes.
The feasible alternative
A structured and systematic procedure is required to manage effective problem-solving meeting and develop the minutes. A traditional approach offers three steps: backgrounds, discussions, and closures. While engineering economic analysis procedure (EEAP) and engineering design process (EDP) approach offer its structures to be adopted in developing problem-solving meetings and its minutes.
Development of the prospective outcomes
The outcomes of this adoption are to develop effective problem-solving meetings and the minutes which provide only the important issues in clear, detail and accurate matter. The minutes must understandable and show the process of thinking in which the meeting members have taken to generate the conclusion.
Selection of Decision Criterion
The meeting must be kept short, effective and efficient. The minutes must be systematic and structured.
The comparison of steps to develop the problem-solving meeting and its minutes is shown in Table 1.
Table 1 The comparison between Traditional, EEAP and EDP Structure
|3 steps||7 steps||6 steps|
Table 2 The comparison of steps definition
|Problem recognition, definition, and evaluation||May be defined in the backgrounds||Defined||Defined|
|Possible solutions||May be defined in the backgrounds or in the discussion||Defined||Defined|
|Analysis||May be defined in the discussion||Defined||Defined|
|Preferred solution||May be defined in the discussion||Defined||Defined|
|Conclusion and post evaluation||May be defined in the closures||Defined||Defined|
EEAP and EDP approach offer clear steps definition to be discussed in the meeting and put in the minutes. The “may be”s in the traditional approach show that the structure is not supportive enough to the clear and accurate proceedings and actions to be taken to problem-solving. Another option to this is the EEAP approach blended to enrich the traditional approach without losing its original structure.
Table 3 Approaches combined for structured meeting
Selection of the preferred alternative
The blended structure will be preferred as it offers a systematic and structured thinking process that needed in problem-solving meetings. This blended approach will also manage the meetings to be kept short, effective and efficient.
Applying this preferred structure in the meetings to solving a problem or to make a decision need a careful attention so that we don’t missed any step to follow. The effectiveness to follow these steps can be evaluated from time to time.
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Lewis, J. P. (2011). Chapter 15 / Managing and facilitating meetings. In Project planning scheduling & control: The ultimate hands-on guide to bringing projects in on time and on budget (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Sullivan, W. G., Koelling, C. P., & Wicks, E. M. (2012). Chapter 1 / Introduction to engineering economy. In Engineering economy (15th ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.