Al Sape just provided an excellent post in the “Best Practices” section regarding his team’s use of Wrike to both schedule and conduct meetings (see https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360035914353-Conducting-meetings-in-Wrike-using-Tasks-Subtasks-and-Projects-for-context). There is also a Wrike Discover course on conducting meetings in Wrike that follows a similar structure as Al’s team (see https://discover.wrike.com/learn/course/1279/301TeamMeetingsinWrike).
In this post, I’d like to share an alternate method to conducting meetings in Wrike, but it begins with your project blueprint(s) and Spaces. If you have not yet read my post on using Custom Fields to produce clean reports, it will be useful to the structure of this discussion (I’ll explain briefly below, but more detail can be found here: https://help.wrike.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360014373293-Wrike-Tip-Clean-Reporting-using-Custom-Fields).
First off, a little background about what our project load is like and how our team meetings are structured. We run anywhere between 25 and 50 new product development projects every year and every project requires new packaging, on-product artwork, and usually some level of tooling for new components, with a handful of ground-up projects. Our Wrike blueprint for new projects includes a task for each of these activities (as well as other tasks I won’t bother detailing here). We have a small team requiring engineers and graphics designers to function as their own project managers. As such, we need to be very efficient in how meetings are conducted and how information is communicated to the relevant projects and tasks. Because new product releases are seasonal, the bulk of our projects are concurrent.
Our team meets weekly to discuss the status and challenges encountered in each project. Due to the quantity of projects we have running relative to the size of our team, taking meeting minutes in a “meeting task”, only to have to transfer that information out to the appropriate tasks after the meeting is impractical. Instead, notes are input directly into the tasks of the discussion we are having at that moment. So how do we access our tasks so quickly to keep the meeting running smooth? I’ll show you below and hope that I may see some tips and tricks in the comments section to make us more efficient.
Let’s take a look at the project blueprint and the pre-defined custom field labeled “CATEGORY.”
From the image above, you can see every task has a CATEGORY assigned. This allows us to filter a group of projects by the CATEGORY for easier reporting, but also for easier Mass Editing. The reason I mention Mass Editing is because this is the tool I use to add a specific CATEGORY of tasks to their respective Spaces. A given CATEGORY’s Space is where the meeting is conducted from. So what does this look like?
First, we need to create a Space which represents the focus of our weekly meeting. Due to the way our meetings are structured, we discuss the status of every project as it relates to a particular category. I have created 3 Spaces (shown below) which represent Artwork, Packaging, and Tooling. These Spaces are where we conduct our meetings in Wrike.
Now we need our category tasks to show up in their respective Spaces. To make the appropriate tasks show up in each Space, I filter by CATEGORY on the projects folder in list view, select all tasks with Mass Edit, then “Add to” the appropriate Space (note below that each Artwork task is now contained in both the project folder and the Artwork Space). The process of adding these tasks to a different Space is the most inefficient step. I would love if I could automate this step when a project is created to reduce the chance of human oversight. I’m open to suggestions.
When we conduct our meetings, we can see what Artwork is in process, what the specific status is, and where it lies in the timeline (using Gantt view). Because the relevant tasks are the only ones visible in this Space, we don’t waste time hunting for the task we need.
As such, meeting notes are entered directly in the comments section of the corresponding task. No need to write dates or transfer information from a separate set of meeting minutes to their respective tasks as it is all logged at the time the comment is entered. This has proved to be a HUGE help in subsequent weekly meetings when questions come up about what was decided and who was actioned. We use best practices in our comments to always “@mention” who is being actioned in the comment and “FYI @mention” those that need visibility.
Why do we not just filter the view under the Projects section? Well, this may seem like a minimal problem, but it is purely based on how nice the view is to look at. Compare the view of the filtered projects below to the same list of tasks above...messy views can cause confusion and slow down meeting progress.
To summarize, our goal was to have a way to efficiently conduct meetings based on the actual tasks that are being discussed. Utilizing Spaces containing tasks of particular custom fields, we can quickly access the task under discussion and take meeting notes. This allows us to action assignees in the moment and log decisions made without the need to copy information from a meeting task to the actual task. As a side benefit, we can easily see what the workload impact is for a team based on the quantity of tasks in the meeting Space and how the timelines are overlapping.
Our biggest challenge related to this method is finding a way to auto-populate a Space with the appropriate task when a project is created. Aside from that, it is an extremely useful structure based on how our meetings are organized within our business.
I hope some of you find this helpful, and I'm always open to suggestions for improvement!