Some of our customers and evaluators have asked for a short overview of the capabilities of ZippyMeetings. So that they can share the love with friends, colleagues or ‘the management’.
Here’s one we prepared for this occasion.
While we believe that ZippyMeetings is right for pretty much anyone who needs to facilitate structured meetings, we thought we’d have a look at the sort of organisations and roles that have employed our software to great success. You can read some selected quotes from our valued customers on the Testimonials Page.
Roles within those organisations vary, but include:
The ability to work within Microsoft Outlook, create an agenda, keep track of actions across recurring meeting, and the one-click generation of meeting minutes all come together to allow our customer to manage long-running projects and activities, and just get their job done.
If you would like to see what ZippyMeetings can do for you, why not download the 30-day free trial today, and if you have any questions, we’re always ready to help – just send us an email at email@example.com.
Project Managers are masters of keeping track of project status (amongst other things) – after all, they are accountable for the project delivery.
However, all of us are project managers at varying degrees of complexity:
All of these things need a plan. But also, you need to keep track of your progress to that plan. ZippyMeetings can help.
Let’s take the process writer example as a case in point, and focus on just one process area in one project that you are working on – the sales processes.
You need to describe how:
For each of these deliverables, you need to engage with subject matter experts (SMEs) to describe how things work, and who (in your organisation) is responsible, what systems they use and what information they need to deal with. You bring these SMEs together into a working group, and start working through the details. In the course of your work, you’ll need information from various parties, and maybe you need some work carried out at their end, so you need to assign actions (for want of a better word).
This is where ZippyMeetings can help you with keeping track of all these tasks, spread across various owners. We would recommend you create a recurring status meeting that you can use to progress the delivery of your items. Using the above example, you could set up an agenda of 4 topics:
With your virtual team of SMEs, you can then go through these process areas in your meeting, and assign actions related to specific activities that need to be undertaken. You can manage this through ZippyMeetings and keep track of the progress of the actions. Each meeting, the history of previous meetings is available. You can quickly review what happened last time round, and whether the activities that were supposed be completed have been.
For example, in the first meeting, the customer discovery process requires that content be loaded on the company’s website (portal), and a contact form is required to capture customer inquiries. The action requires that a quote is obtained for the creation of the web form.
When the next meeting comes along, the status from last meeting can be reviewed, and the new progress entered.
As this broad action (getting the web form created) evolves, you can keep track of progress quickly and easily. If the responsible party for the action changes, you can simply change that as well as moving the due date if required. Of course, if this action creates additional actions that need to be taken care of (eg you don’t want to track multiple areas of work in just one action), it’s easy to create a parallel or follow-up action with the click of a single button.
ZippyMeetings not only allows you to keep on top of where things are at; with the 1-click meeting minutes functionality you can keep the project team and other stakeholders informed with automatically generated, professional meeting minutes.
Try ZippyMeetings today, with a 30-day free trial.
With ZippyMeetings 1.4 has been released. What’s new?
We’ve been working on a few areas:
One of the bigger additions for this release is the addition of Decisions into ZippyMeetings as a place for you to record any decisions (with both a summary and optional detail text) of your meetings. The decision feature is designed to be a quick and easy way to record your decisions – not as a formal vote-casting and result-recording mechanism. Decisions are reflected in meeting minutes. Here’s how the feature looks in the meeting manager.
For more information, see this post.
We have added a small feature that adds a date stamp to your meeting notes for the agenda item. You can enable this function through the ZippyMeetings options screen.
There have been a couple of minor updates in the user interface to accommodate the Decision feature. We now identify and flag Actions and Decisions with their own icons –
for Action and
We have made fixes and improvements to:
We are always looking for ways to improve ZippyMeetings, so contact us if you have any suggestions.
Here’s an interesting article that outlines how meetings should be used by project managers to ensure they keep on top of project risks and issues.
I’d like to look at one part specficially (about half way through):
In spite of your best efforts at risk management, all projects of any size and complexity will have issues arise that need to be dealt with and resolved. If you haven’t done a good job managing risks, chances are you will have more issues to deal with than you might otherwise have. Use the following information to manage issues:
1. Issues/Action Items Matrix or Log is used to help clarify, track, communicate and resolve issues. Some meeting reports include Issues/Action Items in the form.
2. Customize an Issues/Action Item Matrix to meet the project’s needs, i.e., include columns for issue priority, type, complexity, source, key contact for resolution, etc.—whatever makes sense
3. Visit and update the Issues/Action Item Matrix weekly, or at least bi-weekly, but always prior to and during a status meeting
4. Leverage the Issues/Action Item Matrix for use as a key communication tool—distribute it per the Communication Plan
5. Work from the Issues/Action Item Matrix to identify critical issues, and get updates from issue owners on these between meetings
6. Remember, if you assign an issue to more than one person, you will get finger pointing, not resolution
7. Help facilitate issue resolution as appropriate, which may include motivating, providing logistical support, coordinating and/or facilitating a meeting, developing a plan for escalation, etc.
One of the key design objectives for ZippyMeetings was to make tracking actions easier, especially across recurring meetings. In fact, the whole idea for ZippyMeetings originated with my annoyance at transcribing meeting notes into a Word minutes template – copy/pasting progress, and sometimes having to revisit the same issues multiple times.
The actions capabilities within ZippyMeetings are designed to make it easier to keep all your information in one place, and track actions through to closure or resolution. In this respect, ZippyMeetings can be a great way to help execute an action plan in support of your risks and issues log.
In general. we recommend that your status meeting agenda is set up to mirror the key activities in your project (eg as described here), but an equally effective method can be to structure your agenda to reflect you risks/issues log items, thereby allowing you to assign actions and track their progress to mitigate your identified risks or address current issues.
Project Managers love ZippyMeetings – check out some of our happy customers’ testimonials:
I have become a MUCH better Project Manager through utilizing ZippyMeetings to the point that I wouldn’t want to manage Projects (or facilitate meetings) without it!
ZippyMeetings is a fabulous program and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for such a system.
Already, agendas, professional minutes and automatically assigned tasks have helped us to stay organized and actually accomplish the things we gather to discuss.
To try ZippyMeetings free for 30 days, click here.
It’s all about finding and fixing the last of the bugs right now. And documentation.
But as a side note, we think we’ve made a noticable improvement in the load time for the ZippyMeetings manager window to appear when you are ready to start the meeting. It’s not the end-state, as we know we can do better, but we think it’s certainly an improvement. Hope you agree.
Another item we’ve been working on is dealing with meetings that you don’t own.
For meetings you don’t own, there’s always been the problem that Outlook can change the meeting reference and therefore make it impossible for ZippyMeetings to track the meeting. We’ve been able to solve this for most situations, although you still need to be careful with recurring meetings owned by someone else. The recurrence does not work in ZippyMeetings, so each meeting is treated as a stand-alone.
For these recurring meetings, we recommend the following course of action.
(a) create a recurring appointment in your calendar for the same recurrence pattern as the other person’s meeting
(b) open the origninal meeting in ZippyMeetings, and export the meeting
(c) import the meeting in the recurring appointment you created.
This should allow you to manage the progress of a recurring meeting owned by someone else, but where you have reporting responsibility. By improting the meeting, you will automatically get all the meeting recipients brought across, so when you send the meeting minutes, everyone will be included.
NOTE: this is only for meetings where the meeting organiser is someone other than you. When you send the meeting invitation, this is not an issue and ZippyMeetings will track you meeeting information across meeting instances.
We’re well and truly into 2013 now, and many of you are back at work, so it’s time for a new year’s work-resolution. None of this ‘get fit’ business here – what are your resolutions for your working year?
Oldies, but goodies are:
We’re a meeting software company, so we want you to make a very important resolution for this year:
That’s right, fewer meetings. And make the ones you do have, count.
When we say meet less, we mean that it’s better to get on the phone, or wander over to Ms.X and just discuss the issue, make a decision and get the thing done.
The best meeting is the one you don’t call.
The worst meeting, is the one you didn’t have to call, but did.
So make 2013 the year of meeting less.
Go for it.
We don’t want to blow our own trumpet – this is just a couple of minor enhancements to the way the Action editor works, but we still think it’s worth noting.
The ability to delete actions has been around for a while now, but we’ve found that it’s not been quite so intuitive (namely right-clicking the background of the action). So for ZippyMeetings 1.4 we’ve added a delete link into the body of the action panel.
You can still use the right-click method, or this new one – it’s up to you.
New actions are now streamlined to not display the past progress. We know screen real-estate is precious, so now we don’t waste space on a big empty area:
Of course, in subsequent meetings, once progress has been made, it will appear in the progress area as before:
As well as the functional usability enhancements, we have 2 new icons!
With the addition of decisions into ZippyMeetings 1.4, we’ve added a new icon for both Actions and Decisions to make it easier to differentiate, and to provide a visual clues to link the Add action/decision buttons.
We’ve already discussed the addition of date stamps for Agenda Notes. The other bit of user friendliness we’ve added in is to make the agenda notes box scroll to the end when first displayed. This will only affect agenda notes that exceed 6 lines in length. We believe that the most relevant information will be at the end, so it makes sense to have that visible straight away.
Continuing on from our first preview of ZippyMeetings 1.4, in this preview we would like to introduce a new feature that provides a bit more history into your meetings.
To date, the Notes section has been a free-text entry area where you can enter your notes from the agenda item that summarised the topic but not necessarily the detail of the actions.
The simplicity of a plain text-entry box is that you can format the content how you please.
For ZippyMeetings 1.4, we have added a small feature that adds a date stamp to your meeting notes for the agenda item.
It’s a small change, but it now gives you a way to easily keep track of historical discussion not captured in the actions or decisions. The notes area remains as a simple text box, so you can always delete the date prefix if you like.
The date stamp is not on by default, so if you want to enable it (or disable it in the future), you will need to select the option in the ZippyMeetings options screen.
Why not try ZippyMeetings now for a 30-day free trial, and when ZippyMeetings 1.4 is released, the upgrade is free and automatic.
As we did with the release of ZippyMeetings 1.3, we wanted to give you a preview of some of the features coming through in the new release of ZippyMeetings.
One of the bigger additions for this release is the addition of Decisions into ZippyMeetings as a place for you to record any decisions (with both a summary and optional detail text) of your meetings. The decision feature is designed to be a quick and easy way to record your decisions – not as a formal vote-casting and result-recording mechanism. Here’s how it looks and functions.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the Decisions function resides within the context of your Agenda Item. Clicking on the ‘Add Decision’ button creates a simple field where you can enter the text for your decision, edit the date of the decision (by clicking on the calendar icon), and optionally give it some more detail.
To add extra detail text, simply expand the Decision and enter text into the detail area.
You can also delete any decision, simply by clicking on the Delete hyperlink. You can undelete a decision during the meeting if you find you have made a mistake, however after you close the meeting windown, any deleted decisions will be lost.
If you decide to use the Decision feature, your (non-deleted) decisions will be reflected in the meeting minutes above the action items. The image below shows a minutes preview for the professinal minutes.
The keen-eyed will have noticed that there have been a couple of updates in the user interface to accommodate the Decision feature. We now identify and flag Actions and Decisions with their own icons – A for Action and D for Decision. We hope that’s not too confusing!
Let us know what you think of this new Decision feature, or anything else about ZippyMeetings. We would love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org.