One of the team member accepts the meeting with an option "Do not send response". When the meeting was scheduled, his calendar was open. As a PM I do not know if he is attending the meeting or not because the "View Tracking Status" under Outlook does not get updated and shows "None".

Then, he puts another meeting on top of the existing meeting that he accepted earlier and very conveniently skips the meeting. This has happened in several instances. His argument is to use "Scheduling Assistant" to determine if I am coming or not.

Any suggestions on how to handle this team member? As a PM it is getting difficult to get him to meetings.

  • 1
    Is this a project management problem or a workplace problem? what impact does the user's activity have on scope/schedule/quality or project closure? – MCW Jan 26 '17 at 14:08

Before doing anything else, I would attempt to discover why he is skipping these meetings. Solve for X, not for Y. It may be that he has a legitimate concern about these meetings, and is simply failing to properly voice that concern - instead opting to stealthily avoid them.

If he does have a legitimate reason for avoiding the meeting, then rather than focusing on how or what he's doing, you should focus on fixing the why. Of course, you should also look into improving his ability to bring such issues to your attention through more productive approaches. This may involve changes both in his own actions and in yours or in the process itself.

If he does not have a legitimate reason (ie. "I'm too lazy to walk that far." or "The meeting's not helpful for me personally and I don't care about others."), then what I would do is either:

A) Require him to come to the meetings. Failure to do so is to be considered dereliction of duty.

B) Require him to ensure you are notified whenever he discovers he is not going to be attending the meeting. Failure to do so is to be considered dereliction of duty.

Just make sure you approach the discussion from a perspective of open conversation, not one of blame. Otherwise you'll likely have much difficulty getting down to the crux and cause of the issue.

  • The OP implies he has already been confronted and his response of 'use schedule assistant' is an implicit dismissal of the rules. – David Espina Jan 25 '17 at 18:58
  • @DavidEspina True, but I would argue that is merely 'acting difficultly', which may be caused by legitimate (if potentially unvoiced) concerns about the meetings in the first place. I've seen (and experienced) environments where meetings were grossly unproductive and any attempts to improve them were dismissed. Developers started doing what they could to avoid them. While the OP didn't specify the tone of that confrontation, human nature is often to approach from a tone of blame "Why are you avoiding this meeting?" rather than from the more neutral "Do you see a problem with these meetings?" – Sarov Jan 25 '17 at 19:06
  • Your answer starts strong, but fizzles at the end for me. It isn't our professional responsibility to attend every meeting every person schedules. In fact, I believe it's our professional responsibility to not attend meetings which are a waste of the company's money. If this person is skipping out on OP's meetings, the problem is likely with the meetings, not the person. – RubberDuck Jan 26 '17 at 2:07
  • @RubberDuck If the team member doesn't believe the meetings are needed or that s/he can add value, then there should be a conversation with the Project Manager to discuss the reasons why and find a better way of communicating. Just not showing up to a meeting because it's probably a waste of time anyways or because you can't be bothered -- that's pretty unprofessional and is probably going to result in a lot of miscommunication within the team when everyone else knows what's going on except this one guy. – JennieK_NS Jan 26 '17 at 15:28

The fact that he's not attending the meetings (and he's also not notifying you about that) is an effect, not a cause. You need to identify the cause first.

One of the best approaches you can take is to engage into an open one-to-one discussion with him, find out what the real problem is and solve that one first. If you do that, then the issue related to the meeting attendance will also get resolved (as a consequence).


Your team charter should outline the rules of engagement with which your project's talent needs to comply. Provide him your team charter and put him on notice for compliance. If he fails, replace him.

  • Do all teams have a Team Charter? Is this your covert way of saying the OP is lacking if a team charter is not present? – Venture2099 Jan 25 '17 at 19:05
  • All projects should have some type of document that details how each individual needs to engage on the team. It doesn't have to be a white paper called "Team Charter" nor does it need to be a fifty page book. It is scalable and can be solved many ways. The point is, you need something that explains to a team member what it is they need to do in order to be a functioning team member. Not sure my answer deserves a down vote. – David Espina Jan 25 '17 at 19:16
  • I agree that there should be clear guidelines for the team in terms of expectations for communication on the project. But it's never as simple as saying that if someone doesn't follow the guidelines you simply replace him/her. For a lot of companies, assigning another resource with the same skill set can be difficult and would require some massive juggling of team members. Usually better to get the root cause of the communication issues, rather than trying to break the team apart. – JennieK_NS Jan 25 '17 at 20:03
  • No doubt this is not easy. You're describing a single point of failure situation, another project taboo to avoid. I know this happens, but this would be another signal on top of the OP that this project is out of control. Indeed, try to fix, which I think I stated, but remove is your next intervention. If you don't, you risk creating a precedence of: 'rules are optional.' Then you will have larger issues. – David Espina Jan 25 '17 at 20:08

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