Conducting meetings in Wrike using Tasks, Subtasks, and Projects for context

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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!

 

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Hi @Al, great insight, thanks a lot for sharing! Also, thanks for referencing a Product Feedback thread here too 🙂

I wonder if you've also considered using Recurrent tasks for meetings - it might save time too. Let me know what you think!

For anyone who's interested, there's also a Wrike Discover course "Team meetings in Wrike" - feel free to check it out and let's discuss here 🙌

Lisa Community Team at Wrike Become a Wrike expert with Wrike Discover

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Thanks for these insights - in the last 2 months, I have been creating tasks for specific meetings and it is a great way for capturing agendas and follow-up actions. One thing I would like is to be able to differentiate between "action" tasks and "meeting" tasks on my dashboards. I will try the technique above to create a meetings folder within projects - thanks for the great tips @Al Sape. My functionality asks are similar to those that Al outlines above. Would Wrike consider creating a specific module (not sure if that is the right word) for meetings (ie when you click on new, there is an option to create a project, task or meeting)? - in that way you could have slightly different functionality for "meeting" tasks to differentiate them from "action" tasks. For example, there could be sections for agendas, notes and ability to list projects and tasks for discussion in the meeting.

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Hi @Lisa,

Always nice to hear from you and I appreciate your sentiment that this was a useful post!  I hope it is not too hard to follow, sorry I didn't spend too much time editing...was eager to "dump" into an outline my system for doing meetings, because I believe this is one of the hardest use cases to handle in any Work Management App out there, and you guys are almost there with a solution that has all I need!  There are even new apps I've experimented with such as Status Hero, Hugo and Scriby.ai that are intended to solve this very need, so it's a big one.

One thing I will add right now is that the new Google Calendar integration is a huge benefit.  I don't know if you guys imagined that it would be used mainly to schedule meetings out of tasks, but we are seeing great use of this for that very need, especially as you cannot schedule tasks for a certain time of day currently in Wrike.  The fact that you write into the calendar invite a link back to the Wrike task is also a huge time saver, great thinking with that piece!  There are a few issues though I hope you guys will rectify soon:

- the addon is slow and frequently will not load on a slower internet connection.  What I mean here is that if you click it, it will simply not appear...

- The ability to see that a task has a scheduled time on GCal.  The only way now you can see this is if you click "add to calendar" and then the reference appears.  But you have to remember that the task was on the calendar in the fist place, and only the person who added it can possibly know that

- Ability to add assignees to the invite in Gcal.  I realize this may take more work by you Product team, but would be nice.  However if you fixed the first two items on this list that would be huge for making it much easier to just click into the GCal invite and add the meeting invitees outside of Wrike.

And @Ben yes, very much in agreement!  I know it's probably a lot of product work to begin down the road to create a "module" for meetings, but it would be a huge piece!!  I agree one problem is that if I use the subtask to show items that are discussed in meeting, and the parent as the actual meeting, you do get funny nesting.  For example, if I have a project kickoff meeting, and I want to show what tasks in the project came out of the meeting, it will look like this:

- the project kickoff meeting is the first task in the project

- Any tasks mentioned in the meeting get added as subtasks to the meeting so we can keep context of where they originate.  However, they then appear as subtasks to the meeting in the project task list.  This is not ideal as it looks a bit funny.  Another option is to leave the unfurled link of the task that was created in meeting in the meeting description, but detach it from the meeting task as a subtask.  Then it no longer is a subtask in the Project list.  But you lose the reciprocal reference this way.  So this is a great instance where the cross linking would really be helpful so you wouldn't have to go the route of using subtasks just to reference items created in-meeting.

I've also included another request for linking across Wrike in addition to the one I created.  This one has more votes and I hope will gather steam as can't say how much I'd like to see this implemented!

  https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115002961109--Linking-to-projects-tasks https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115002961109--Linking-to-projects-tasks

And @Ben re: the module you suggest, I second all those suggestions.  I think a lot of that can be accomplished with tagging into folders in Wrike, and a certain type of template that would have the ability to auto-link the items you speak of - projects, tasks, folders - if the "meeting" template was chosen.  I think this could be something that works like the current Blueprints, as those are a type of task or project that clearly have special attributes that Wrike's Product team added to a "regular" project or task template.

There is one request I noticed in the community about this, although I think Christoph's suggestion here is a bit too far out of the regular "flow" of Wrike:

https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115002621025-Meetings-Possibility-to-choose-Meeting-beeing-a-Folder-instead-of-a-task

In closing, in my estimation, I think it might be easiest if the Wrike Product team considered adding another type of dependency, say a "related" dependency, and that would solve most of this need.  I'm guessing that of all the solutions proposed, that would require the least work in Wrike's backend.  More complex might be the piece to auto-create a "related" dependency if a task is referenced in task description or comments, but again this would be super helpful.

Sorry for having repeated myself here.  I am really holding out for new meeting functionality in Wrike, so I can't speak enough about it when given a chance!

Thanks guys!

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@Al - delighted to see we are having similar thoughts. Thanks again for the tips, and look forward to seeing reactions from the Wrike team.

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Ben Peachey unfortunately there haven't been many!  Sad to say I've moved on from Wrike.  Ultimately this proved too hard to do on a daily basis, I spent most of my time in meetings on the workarounds while my team would get bored.  Desperate for the reciprocal links, but they never came and seems unlikely the request is years old, along with a ton of others I'm waiting on...

 

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Hugh

Hi Al Sape, sorry to hear that you've moved on from Wrike!

Thank you for these ideas and use cases, they really help our Product team when they have conversations in regards to items like this. It's unfortunate to see you go but we hope to see you back here again soon.

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