When working in virtual teams (those not physically co-located) it can be difficult to schedule meetings and teleconferences. The temptation is to try to use email and that can sometimes work. However, most of the time this is tortuous. We recently had one of those experiences and wound up excluding people who needed to be involved.
The problem is that, while the initiator is consolidating responses, people’s availability changes. Phoning around is an option but this is timeconsuming, especially for large meetings. We therefore wanted a process that could minimise the cycle:
- Create a message about the meeting and give a range of possible timeslots;
- Send to the group with a response form that allows them to select those times when they expect to be available;
- Automatically present the summarised responses to all involved.
The advantage of this e-enabled process is that there is no separate consolidation step which reduces the cycle time. We’ve built a component for this and are testing it. The whole thing is designed to minimise keying for both initiator and participants.