Using Sharepoint (or any Wiki) + ActionBase for More Effective Meetings

Meetings are a big part of the way business gets done. Like email – meetings are something that everyone loves to hate, but everyone does. Meetings, by their very definition, are a group activity – they are used to kick-off group activities, synch the group and assign new tasks, and summarize interim and final results.

So how can Sharepoint (or any wiki) help manage meetings? Currently it is easy enough to use most wikis (or Sharepoint) to set up a shared workspace for all the participants in the meeting, and have all of the relevant documents stored in the shared workspace. That is very useful as the prelimninary step in a meeting, to make sure everyone can do their homework before the meeting. During the meeting discussions are had – and hopefully, decisions are made and tasks assigned. If it is a formal meeting, minutes are taken – if not there (hopefully) is someone that took notes and wrote down action items. The question is then what?? You can put those “action documents” in the shared workspace – but those documents are passive documents that just sit there. You can translate those into task lists  and todo lists – but that doesn’t really make it part of everyones normal workflow – they too just sit there. In Sharepoint you could program a workflow for the tasks – but that is too expensive, especially since you only know the first step of each todo or task. So what usally happens is that an email summary is sent, and in too many cases the action items and follow-up just slowly die. No wonder so many meetings have such ineffective outcomes.

That is where ActionBase’s human process management together with Sharepoint (or a wiki) can make things much more effective. By making the meeting minutes document (in Word or PDF)  or summary email an action document (or a quick meeting if you want to do it directly in Outlook). You can now link that document directly with the processes they initiated – and track them from the document itself, the shared workspace and Outlook. By making it part of the participants usual  flow in Outlook, and providing a group view in Sharepoint – meetings results are visible, they can be actively tracked and managed. The ability to link decisions with their outcome can have a huge beneficial effect on operational effiency.

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