After a meeting is done, sending out the follow-up action items is easy to do. Just type it up and press send. However, keeping track of the tasks, making sure deadlines will be met and assuring nothing falls through the cracks–that takes significant time for everyone involved. So how can you make this process more efficient for you and the entire team?
Read on, or just start using the Automated Meeting Notes and Actions Items Template at the end of this article.
We’ve all been there. The meeting was productive and we’ve got clear next steps to accomplish our goals. Each task is written down and has the responsible person’s name next to it. The momentum is strong to go get things done. Everyone exits the meeting and starts to focus on the rest of their day.
What Happens Next?
This is the crucial time post-meeting where the momentum you’ve built can be easily wasted. Your successful meeting has given everyone on the team clarity about next tasks. They are feeling energized. But all too often, that momentum gets lost.
You might do what many managers do after a meeting: Email the meeting notes, action items and next steps to everyone. Your message ends up sitting in each team member’s email inbox as reference documentation waiting there if and when it’s needed. Now the more time consuming part begins. Coordinating everything and everyone to assure things get done.
Time Lost to Work Coordination and Inefficient CommunicationThe biggest problem is that after work is delegated, significant time is lost to all the follow-up effort required to sustain momentum and keep work moving forward. And it’s not just your time. The problem is amplified by the size of the team. Collectively, each seemingly little task management activity adds up to a sizable time-sink.
In fact, research from IDC and the McKinsey Global Institute showed that knowledge workers can spend up to 61% of their workday coordinating and communicating about work, leaving only 39% of the day to actually get things done. The same report also noted that use of newer collaboration and communication technologies could yield as much as a 25% gain in productivity. Less time wasted. More time to get things done.
Where Does All The Time Go?
At a broad level, time spent coordinating work falls into three broad groupings: delegation, follow up, and analysis.
Time Lost to Email
If you send your meeting minutes and action items as email, delegation is simple–you type up who needs to do what and press send. However, follow-up becomes time consuming for all. You quickly find yourself sending follow-up emails, asking for progress updates, checking more email, and holding more meetings to make sure nothing has slipped and everyone is on the same page. Email was simply not built to track progress on work. And there’s no easy way to look back at the data embedded in the email messages and analyze the efficiency at the end.
Time Lost to Updating Documents
If you create your meeting minutes as a document, distributing that document by email is easy, however the actionable information is now buried within that document several clicks and a login away from being top of mind. Follow-up and tracking progress often returns to using more email and more meetings and more effort to keep the document up to date. Online document systems like Google Docs’s comments features can be used to assign tasks, but the effort to make sure work moves forward and remains top of mind still falls back to you.
Time Lost to Project Management Software
If you’ve every used project management software, then you know a core feature is the ability to delegate tasks. For many however, the number of clicks, form fields, and thus time it takes to assign and track tasks this way becomes too much. It’s overkill for smaller projects and action items. Though the time it takes to update and track a task can reduce your effort, the time to perform such activities are simply extra effort distributed to everyone on the team.
Interestingly in TeamworkIQ’s research with customers we’ve repeatedly seen the same pattern: People want to escape the inefficiency of managing by email and docs so they try project management software for a while only to eventually go back to the more convenient email and document habits they were seeking to escape. This is not to say that project management software does not fit a need. Clearly it does. However, that need seems to be aligned with teams doing larger projects. In contrast, task-list oriented projects, step by step processes and even the simplest of cases, turning meeting minutes into action items, need a more simple, more intuitive solution that aligns with the natural way people already work.
Turn Meeting Notes into Action
What if you could simply just type up your meeting notes and when you sent them out, all the action items became actual assigned tasks you (and everyone involved) could track through to completion? That would save everyone lots of time and make sure nothing fell through the cracks.
That’s the idea behind TeamworkIQ. And it’s an idea that not only applies to simple things like meeting minutes, it’s an idea that can be applied to any description of “who does what when”. Just type up action items, project task lists, or even step by step processes as you would in an email or document, then send it out to the team. TeamworkIQ automates all the next steps from start to done.
With TeamworkIQ your descriptions of who needs to do what are turned into shared checklist documents. Tasks get assigned and process steps get triggered automatically. Your team’s progress is clearly visible. Delegating and tracking work is more convenient than ever before.
Try it out. We’d be interested to get your feedback and help us make TeamworkIQ even better for you.
Take Meeting Notes, Turn Actions Items into Managed Tasks
Use the template below to take meeting notes. Each action item you add becomes a managed follow-up task that TeamworkIQ will track through completion for you. If you need due dates or deadlines for action items, just type a date as part of the text of the task. TeamworkIQ’s smarts turns the date you type into a due date for you. TeamworkIQ’s intelligent checklists handle all the task assignments and reminders for you. It keeps you up-to-date as work gets done. And, if issues arise, TeamworkIQ lets you know. Work smarter and keep things from falling through the cracks with TeamworkIQ.
Meeting Minutes Template
Click here to customize and use this template.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@alejandroescamilla