Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meeting madness

One of the tasks I hate most at work is arranging a meeting. Whether it is face-to-face or on-line the problem is the same: finding a date and time that suits everyone involved. Most people use the extremely inefficient method of fixing a time through dozens of e-mails between all concerned, often causing confusion and frustration. Even a meeting between 5-6 people can take several rounds of e-mail negotiation and when you want more to meet it becomes impossible and more dictatorial methods are required.

Now there are some excellent net-based tools to simplify matters such as Meeting Wizard, Meet-o-matic and Doodle. Problem solved I thought and started using them. The only problem is that the e-mails they create generally end up in my colleagues' spam folders or in some cases vanish completely in the university's firewall. As a result half of the recipients never even know I'm arranging a meeting and we end up going back to primitive e-mail. If we all had access to each others' calenders it might solve things but we all use different calenders.

Will Google Wave improve this mess? It looks promising but I'm wary of the extreme hype on it just now. However e-mail is becoming too unwieldy and we need new solutions fast. I read somewhere recently that close to 90% of all e-mail today is spam. At least we can say that the vast majority of e-mail flooding the net is spam and that's a clear sign that we need new ways to communicate.

I've just read an article related to all this called The end of the e-mail era in Wall Street Journal. Lots about the successors to e-mail but no clear solution to fixing meetings.

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