A big part of my use of Wrike is to conduct team meetings. I researched the entire range of productivity apps out there, and while all flawed in their ability to conduct meetings, Wrike allows for this better than any other. With a few extra features we are waiting on from Product, I would gladly declare that Wrike is the ultimate tool for meetings as there would no longer be any workarounds necessary to run meetings perfectly in Wrike!
I wanted to share my existing solution, and also add how I’d use the features I’m hoping for to make meetings in Wrike perfect!
First, this is what I am trying to accomplish in meetings:
- Create a meeting note and effortlessly distribute to attendees, who can add to the agenda pre-meeting
- Capture, very quickly in-meeting with keyboard shortcuts and minimal time lost, all relevant decisions and discussions
- Record all discussion of existing tasks and projects
- Record genesis of new ideas during a meeting, that will lead to new tasks and new projects and initiatives
- Have a reference to what was discussed so it can be traced in the future as the meeting items move through their lifecycle
And underlying goal of mine is to accomplish this: Meeting topics do not disappear into a “black hole” of notes or Email, never to be seen again, or acted on. Or worse, get regurgitated time and again over a period of months or years because the initial mention was forgotten. My team suffers from creating a lot of material that gets lost in docs and email, only to recreate something we already did later on because we lost the original version!
So here is how I try to accomplish all this in Wrike:
- Schedule of meeting and agenda:
Here the new Google Calendar integration is terrific. In one click I can schedule a task with a reference in the calendar. I have never seen such a tight integration! Typically an app will try to put all your tasks on GCal. However, there are some things still missing that I hope will be rectified when this GCal feature gets out of labs:
- Ability to chose a time that is not a 1/2 hour increment
- Send invites to all assignees - this may be more technically challenging, but would save a huge amount of time.
- Reference to the calendar invite pasted into the task description so you can know it’s on the calendar. Currently you can only see this if you open the “add to calendar” modal, but you can’t see that a task is on the calendar unless you remember.
- Preparation of the meeting:
- The task will go into a folder called “meeting,” and thereby differentiate among other tasks as a “meeting” type of task across Wrike
- Agenda items:
- A truly great feature is the ability to pull in any task anywhere in Wrike in just a few clicks via the subtask pane. So I add any existing task for discussion this way. Granted, these are not technically “subtasks” of the Meeting task. But there are a few benefits here:
- The subtask picks up the meeting as a parent, so the reference is always there. That reference is clickable, too, so it’s easy to navigate back and forth
- Since Subtasks (and this is brilliantly thought through by Product at Wrike I think) live on their own, there is not a full restriction on their independence by virtue of being a child of the meeting task. This method of relating a subtask to a task just for the purpose of the meeting is not possible in say Jira or Asana, so you guys really have hit on something here.
- Existing projects for reference: This is more cumbersome as you have to go across Wrike, find projects, and copy permanlinks. What’s more, there is now way the project will pick up the link like the subtask, so you have to manually copy back to the project the reference to the meeting task if you want to maintain that.
- I find the best format for laying out the agenda is in a simple table with a Column for “topic,” and a column for “discussion.” We call this the Discussion Table. It is easier to reference at a glance, I think at any rate, than a bulleted outline. Wrike’s new in-description tables have some nice features that are helpful here. The tables are still lacking in a few though:
- Ability to create even the simplest bullet list in a cell
- Background color to a whole cell - would be very useful for headings
- Thanks to Wrike’s unfurling of tasks and projects, I can grab permanlinks and add them to the meeting agenda table, and full reference is maintained in the “topic rows” in the Discussion Table. One key aspect of the method is that I will both link subtasks, and then copy their permalink into the discussion table. This requires just a tad of extra work as it is super easy to get the permalink by right clicking on the subtask pane at the top of the task description. Unfortunately Projects cannot be handles this way until Wrike allows task/project linking, hopefully soon!
- And as a further benefit, the task can be Emailed to the participants with an @mention in comments pre meeting so they get the agenda. Again, Wrike is strong here as the entirety of the task shows up in Email. Other systems I've tested such as ClickUp only Email via @mention a link to a task, so the recipient has to click back out of Email to view the task, in this case the meeting agenda. Who knows how that will succeed? If you're on your phone at the time and you don't have the app? Or your tool of choice tries to auto-authenticate you across a few browsers to the app? It' much better just to have the whole task in Email, period.
- Running the meeting:
- Another want of mine is the ability to track time of all participants in the meeting with one click. Unfortunately currently each participant must remember to both start, and stop, their timers, so that’s a bit of a pain
- If any new task comes up, it is mentioned in the Discussion Table, and then the text is copied and pasted into the subtask area, instantly creating a new task. I then grab the permalink, and unfurl the task back in the row in the Discussion Table where it was mentioned.
- New projects proposed have to be created with more overhead, outside of the meeting task, but we do this and then unfurl them into the Discussion Table as well. I also write in the project’s description that it was created in this meeting, unfurling that meeting task’s ID in the project’s description.
- Distributing meeting notes:
- Here the same method of Emailing the agenda pre-meeting works post meeting as a summary. The meeting leader simply @mentions every watcher and says "re you go guys, meeting notes" and in moments everybody has that in their Inbox, excellent!
- We’ve found that the references to this meeting are very useful as the tasks mentioned move through their lifecycle and into completion, and you can always come back to this task and check if everything was done or not.
Now this meeting “system” I think would shine even more if both tasks and projects could be linked to as true “links,” and not in the workarounds I have set up here. There is a lot of interest in the community for these features, and I posted my own summarized request here: https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360035818634-Framework-for-Wrike-cross-tagging-referencing-mentioning-of-Wrike-Building-Blocks-data-types-
So in summary, with this method I am coming very close to one huge goal of mine: No topic discussed in meetings is not recorded in Wrike and able to be acted on: Even small things like “off boarding an outgoing employee” can become mini-projects that may be brought up in meeting, for example if somebody gave notice an hour before the meeting and one of the team members points out in the meeting “hey what’s our plan for the off boarding?” We’ve found that most everything we talk about is either a project, mini-project, initiative (which becomes a project with subprojects), or tasks. And by capturing what was discussed around them in this method in Wrike, at minimal friction and loss of meeting flow, we have really found some new life with productivity and ability to keep tabs on our never-ending backlog of action items.
Now, if those linked tasks come along we’ll really be in business!
Thanks and I hope this was useful! If anybody would like, I am happy to put together some visuals of this!