In-Person vs Virtual PCG Meetings: Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Jackson Row
Jackson Row
June 11, 2024
In-Person vs Virtual PCG Meetings: Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Gone are the days when all PCG meetings meant huddling around a conference room table. With remote teams and stakeholders spread across the globe, virtual meetings are now a staple in capital project management. But does ditching the boardroom for Zoom always lead to project success?  

Let's dive into the pros and cons of both in-person and virtual PCG meetings and uncover the best practices to ensure your meetings are productive (and maybe even a little fun), no matter where they happen.  

What is a Project Control Group Meeting?

A PCG meeting is a focused assembly where key project stakeholders, project consultants, and the general contractor collaborate to make critical decisions that affect the project's trajectory. These meetings are essential for reviewing detailed reports on the project's status, making strategic decisions, and ensuring open communication and transparency among all parties involved. They serve as a governance mechanism to oversee project execution and manage risks effectively.  

Who Should Attend PCG Meetings?

The composition of PCG meetings is crucial for their effectiveness. It generally includes:

  • Project Owners: Provide oversight and strategic direction, ensuring that project objectives align with business goals.
  • Client-Side Project Managers: Act as the liaison between the project owner, stakeholders, and the wider project team (including the general contractor and consultants), managing the day-to-day operations and ensuring project specifications are met.
  • General Contractors: Responsible for the construction activities, overseeing subcontractors, and ensuring the project is built to specification, on time, and within budget.
  • Design Consultants: Offer expertise throughout the project's design and construction phases, ensuring that the architectural and engineering designs meet the project requirements and regulatory standards and are being constructed correctly.
  • Project Sponsors: Typically, senior executives who champion the project at the strategic level, ensuring it receives the necessary resources and support.
  • End Users: While not always included, their input can be invaluable in projects where the final usability and functionality of the facility are critical.

Each of these roles brings a unique perspective, ensuring that all aspects of the project are considered from multiple angles.

In-Person vs. Virtual: Choosing the Right PCG Meeting Format

Historically, PCG meetings were predominantly in-person, requiring travel or a commute, but they were worthwhile when fostering solid relationships and clear communication. However, the COVID-19 pandemic proved the practicality and necessity of virtual meetings, leading to a re-evaluation of when and how different meeting formats should be utilized.

In-Person PCG Meetings: Traditional Face-to-Face Interaction

In-person meetings are traditionally held in a dedicated meeting room or on-site. For some or all attendees, this required travel, which could be a short commute or a flight to another city. This setting allows for a level of interaction and engagement that virtual meetings often cannot match, which is particularly beneficial for complex discussions and sensitive negotiations.

Virtual PCG Meetings: Modern Remote Collaboration

Virtual meetings are facilitated through platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, offering flexibility and accessibility. They have become invaluable when time, distance, or health concerns prevent in-person gatherings.

In-Person PCG Meetings: Pros and Cons


  • Richer Communication: Direct interaction helps deepen understanding and can accelerate decision-making processes.
  • Enhanced Relationship Building: Physical presence boosts camaraderie and trust among team members, which is crucial for collaborative projects.
  • Immediate Feedback: Real-time discussions allow for immediate feedback and quick resolution of issues, reducing delays in decision-making.


  • Coordination: Organizing these meetings can be logistically challenging and costly, especially when participants are geographically dispersed.
  • Travel: Travel costs time and money. Coordination can introduce delays that affect the project timeline.
  • Limited Scalability: Larger groups can be harder to manage effectively in a physical setting, potentially leading to less efficient meetings.

Virtual PCG Meetings: Pros and Cons


  • Easy and Convenient: Virtual meetings can easily include participants from around the globe, making them highly scalable.
  • Saves time and money: These meetings cut down on travel and venue costs, which can be redirected toward other project needs.
  • Recording and Replay Ability: Sessions can be recorded and replayed, which is valuable for documentation and those who cannot attend in real-time.


  • Engagement and Focus: Keeping participants engaged virtually is challenging and requires more structured facilitation.
  • Dependency on Technology: Reliability on technology means that any technical failure can disrupt the entire meeting.
  • Lesser Personal Connection: The lack of physical presence can slow the building of trust and rapport among participants.  

Best Practices for Effective PCG Meetings

Best Practices for In-Person PCG Meetings

  • Utilize Collaborative Tools: In physical meetings, use digital tools for real-time collaboration and documentation.
  • Structured Agendas and Preparations: Follow a well-planned agenda to cover all topics efficiently and respect participants' time.
  • Safety Protocols: Implement health and safety measures to protect all attendees, especially during public health concerns.

Best Practices for Virtual PCG Meetings

  • Easy Platform: Choose reliable video conferencing tools that support large groups and various interactive features.
  • Active Engagement Strategies: Use polls, Q&A sessions, and breakout rooms to keep engagement high.  
  • Camera On: Ensure everyone has their camera on and isn't hiding behind a black screen.  


So, is it time to ditch the conference room altogether? Not necessarily. The best format for your PCG meeting isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. It's about striking the right balance, considering your project's quirks, stakeholders' whereabouts, and even the latest health guidelines (because, well, you know).  

By playing to the strengths of both in-person and virtual formats and sprinkling in some tailored best practices, you'll be well on your way to PCG meetings that are productive, engaging, and maybe even enjoyable. And hey, isn't that what project success is all about?

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