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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Providing Efficiencies for Meetings

In today's environment, meetings can be scheduled in several ways. The organizer can use an electronic scheduling system to find an available time and send out invitations. The meeting organizer can email the attendees with the date, time, and place of the meeting. The meeting organizer can call the attendees on the phone and invite them to the meeting. After the meeting has been scheduled, any documents necessary for the meeting can be emailed to the attendees, printed and distributed to the attendees prior to the meeting, or handed out at the meeting. After the meeting takes place, meeting notes can be emailed to the attendees or printed and distributed to the attendees. Follow-up tasks can also be emailed to the attendees, placed in a project plan and then distributed, or put into some other type of document for subsequent follow-up.

Although organizations do have ways for setting up meetings and handling tasks that emerge as a result of the meeting, the process may be inefficient. SharePoint provides a way to bring the meeting objectives, agenda items, associated documents, tasks, and attendees all together in one centralized area. This workspace can be created, or linked to, from the same screen used to create the meeting in Outlook 2003.

The ability to create a SharePoint meeting workspace, or link to an existing workspace, directly from Outlook 2003 when the meeting is created makes it easy to get into the habit of linking SharePoint meeting workspaces to meetings. Attendees will automatically be added to the workspace, and objectives and agenda items can be entered. Documents associated with the meeting can also be put on the site, or links created for accessing them. When the meeting notices are sent, there is a link in the email that takes the attendee directly to the meeting workspace. Figure 3.2 shows how the meeting workspace can be created from Outlook when the meeting is scheduled.

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 Creating a meeting and a SharePoint meeting workspace using Outlook 2003.

A team of engineers that will soon be starting a project for a client can be used to illustrate organizational use of a SharePoint meeting workspace. Before going out to the client site, there is a project kick-off meeting to go over the project background, ensure that everyone understands the project goals and objectives, discuss project tasks and milestones, review project deliverables, and discuss any other issues that the team has regarding the project. The project manager creates a meeting request in Outlook 2003 and also creates a SharePoint meeting workspace. Therefore, a link to the project workspace is contained within the email meeting invitation. The project manager enters agenda items in the workspace; sets up events for major project milestones; provides a discussion area; and sets up links to the proposal, statement of work, and project plan. Because there is a link to the meeting workspace in the meeting invitation, the team members can go directly to the site to review the necessary documents and tasks as soon as they get the invitation. Figure 3.3 provides an example of what this meeting workspace looks like.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 Meeting workspace configured to provide a project team with the information they need for the project kick-off meeting.

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