How to Manage Your Meeting Parking Lot and Assign Action Items (2024)

Conclude your meeting or workshop by reviewing action items and outputs such as decisions, next steps, priorities, reports, etc. Review the output,do not relive it.Before you manage your meeting parking lot (ie, Open Issues), ensure that pieces fit together to form one cohesive product. Then assign responsibility to Parking Lot items (ie, Open Issues) that remain valid and unresolved.

How to Manage Your Meeting Parking Lot and Assign Action Items (1)

While meeting parking lot issues may become action items, have your group list the action items that they have already agreed to or will undertake—starting with tomorrow. List the items, clarify them, and have someone take responsibility. Assign a deadline (month, day, year) for a communications update on Open Issues.

Consider applying the RASI tool (Transform Your Responsibility Matrix Into a GANTTChart) to convert your action items into a project plan. And remember, absence or silence is unacceptable during assignments. Therefore, do not permit making assignments to someone who is not attending the meeting, either live or virtually.

Standard Method for Managing a Meeting Parking Lot

There are various ways of describing open issues, also called a meeting parking lot, that develop during meetings. Other terms used by organizations include Issue Bin, Coffee Pot, Water Cooler, Elevator Speech, Limbo, Chestnuts, Popcorn, and our favorite, Refrigerator. (Refrigerator reflects a term used in the Middle East because the items temporarily stored there can be preserved and cooked up later). Regardless of the term you use, open issues need to be managed properly rather than left unassignedas a list of items without context or assigned next steps.

During the meeting, record open issues as they arise.Facilitateyour meeting parking lotactivity after you have completed closedissues and assignment of other action items. First, review each open issue. Make sure the open issue remains valid. Over the course of meetings, some open issues are no longer “open”. If so, they can be deleted or marked accordingly (eg, OBE = Overcome by Event, or taken care of).

Sequenced Activities for Managing a Meeting Parking Lot

Append each open issue using the following sequence:

  • The issue more fully defined—a complete, coherent statement of description
  • Who is responsible for communicating back to the group on the status of the open issue (frequently viewed as who ‘will do’ or complete the open issue)
  • Expected completion or progress update (month, day, year)
  • How progress or completion will be communicated to your group of participants
  • If follow-up requires a file, give the file a name so that future 'searches' are made easier
  • Consider email size limitations, file naming conventions, and file-server security restrictions.

Alternative Method for Managing a Meeting Parking Lot

A simple method for managing meeting parking lotissues is called the “2 by 4.”Meant to connote a standard piece of lumber, the method suggests a quick, three-questionapproach—namely:

  1. To:Do what ?
  2. By:Who and when ?
  3. For:What purpose or benefit ?


Obtain comments on the method used during your meeting and your own facilitator performance. Use the evaluation questionnaire described in the FAST Continuous Improvement section. Alternatively, create two “plus” and “delta” columns to capture what went well and what could change to improve the next meeting. Others terms used to describe the “Plus/Delta” tool include OFI (Opportunity for Improvement), “Benefits & Concerns” (also known as the “B’s & C’s”), “Star/Delta”,and Appreciative (+) or Opportunistic (-).

Become Part of the Solution—Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

How to Manage Your Meeting Parking Lot and Assign Action Items (2)

MG RUSHProfessional Facilitation Training provides an excellent way to earn up to 40SEUsfrom theScrum Alliance, 40PDUsfromPMI, 40CDUsfromIIBA, and 3.2CEUs. As a long-term member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), ourProfessional Facilitation TrainingalignswithIAFCertification Principles and fully prepares alumni for theirCertified Professional Facilitatordesignation.

Furthermore, our ProfessionalFacilitation curriculum immerses students inthe responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so attendaFASTProfessional Facilitation,Leadership, and Methodologyworkshop offered around the world. SeeMG RUSHfor a current schedule.

Go to the Facilitation Training Store our in-house resources. There you will findannotated agendas, break timers, and templates used in ourProfessional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshops.

Finally, don’t forget to order our book,Change or Dieif you’re working on a business process improvement project.It provides detailed workshop agendas and numerous tools, thus making your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective.

Wedare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Related articles

How to Manage Your Meeting Parking Lot and Assign Action Items (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 6325

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.