Case study: saving time in meetings and automating follow-ups with G-Suite and DailyBot

Case Studies Mar 03, 2020

Have you ever got the feeling that you’re spending a lot of time in meetings? Or your team?

It might not sound like a far away feeling. You know there are other priorities and you’re loaded with unnecessary meetings that are distracting you, take you energy and move you out of the “zone”, you finish that meeting, nothing really happened and now you have to focus again on the more important tasks.

Time is the scarcest resource and meetings are a time sink.

Employees have reported they spend 33.3% of their time in meetings, 63% of meetings are conducted without a pre-planned agenda and actually 33.4% of meeting time is considered unproductive by meeting participants. Data extracted from the Attentiv.com report.

Harvard Business Review published a study where it noted how expensive meetings are for companies:

For example, leaders at one large manufacturing company recently discovered that a regularly scheduled 90-minute meeting of midlevel managers cost more than $15 million annually. When asked “Who is responsible for approving this meeting?” the managers were at a loss. “No one,” they replied. “Tom’s assistant just schedules it and the team attends.” In effect, a junior VP’s administrative assistant was permitted to invest $15 million without supervisor approval. No such thing would ever happen with the company’s financial capital.

Meeting bad habits and the associated cost applies to any business, anywhere, and in any industry.

If you have a distributed team, meetings also get complicated to manage, there are more time zones, one delayed attendant can have an impact on the agenda of several people and things get worse.

A big percentage of meetings are dedicated to follow-ups. These follow-ups are intended to get a status report about a project or initiative.

Healthy practices for meetings

There are meetings or interactions that can actually save you time from having more interactions, in the end, if teams know what they should do and which task everyone is focused on, there is less need to have meetings to ask "how are we doing?" and "what’s next?".

Agile or SCRUM teams might be very familiar with the daily stand-ups, short meetings that teams have in a standing position, those meetings should be quick, and with the goal of answering 3 questions: What was done yesterday? What are the plans for today? What are the blockers?.

These daily stand-ups make teams more effective as people will be in sync, critical issues or blockers are detected quickly and the information flows transparently. Stand-ups are a best practice that all kinds of teams are following nowadays.

Like there is stand-ups, there are more healthy practices for teams, like retrospective meetings in order to analyze key learnings, pains and actions for improvement, you can do retrospectives around a project or around a time window (a sprint or a two-weeks amount of work), it’s a healthy practice for teams to reflect and get in the mood of continuous improvement.

However, these stand-ups also take time, for a team of 5 people it could require 30 minutes worth of time, so it’s the case with retrospectives or other kinds of follow-up meetings.

The greatness of automation

With the purpose of making life easier and saving time in meetings is that DailyBot, the #1 bot and assistant for Agile teams, has connected with Google Hangouts Chat, a product available for G-Suite users.

DailyBot is a platform and chat bot that you can add to your Hangouts Chat contacts and it becomes an assistant that will help you automate periodic follow-up meetings for you.

Once it’s configured (which takes 1-2 minutes), the Bot becomes responsible of managing the follow-up meetings your company, you define what kind of meetings you want to automate, with which teams or members and how often; DailyBot then will ask members whenever is required to have a 1-1 (bot and human) meeting and the person gets asked all the follow-up questions.

When the follow-up is completed by all members, DailyBot shares reports with the team or managers about the progress, helping keep everyone in sync.

Meeting records and search across your meetings

If you automate it, you get extra benefits: all of your follow-up meetings are documented and there is a record that you can read and check, for example, what was decided 2 weeks ago in a follow-up, or check what was the evolution in the project during the last 6 months, thanks to these records.

Would you like to know who did what? Use the search and go through all the meeting reports to get quickly those insights.

This is something that hasn’t been really possible before and by having the automation and these records you’ll be able to achieve it. You can see the activity around any specific person for example, when recalling information for a performance review.

Automate any periodic meeting

Automating periodic meetings is up to your creativity and it’s all about the questions you ask, so that you make questions relevant, concise and a bit fun to answer.

There are companies that are using follow-ups for several scenarios:

  • Daily stand-ups or quick status report
  • Monthly feedback about roadmap/plan prioritization
  • Periodic internal product feedback from the entire company
  • Retrospective meetings, replacing the traditional ones with periodic surveys that ask the same questions
  • All-hands meeting preparation: asking attendants to input about topics or important goals for certain upcoming meeting

Leading companies are already saving hundreds of hours of time per month with this new format

In the simplest case, DailyBot will save around 30 minutes a day per person, which is 2.5 hours per week, 10 hours a month or the surprising 120 hours per year per person.

If you have a team of 1000 employees, we’re talking about 120.000 hours. It’s an incredible amount of time. You can do an entire new project with 120.000 hours.

But this is only if you’re automating daily stand-ups, the more meetings you replace with periodic and automated follow-ups, the better.

Thousands of companies, from startups to Fortune-500 are using DailyBot to automate follow-ups and meetings.

Companies like Intuit, Walmart, Pixar, Cabify, Bitcoin and many others are already becoming more effective with the best practices described here.

Google Suite customers can now use DailyBot

Great news is that this solution is now available for Google Suite customers through the Google Hangouts Chat solution.

You can find DailyBot in the marketplace:

https://gsuite.google.com/marketplace/app/dailybot/412891807137

Or right inside the Google Hangouts Chat, read below to get started.

Get started with meeting automation

This is how you can get started with connecting DailyBot to your G-Suite organization. First you should know that you’ll have to use Google Hangouts Chat, as DailyBot will become a member that lives inside your chat, it needs to be able to be there, available for your team, and able to start conversations with your team in a proactive way.

This is how you can get started:

1- Open your Hangouts Chat — chat.google.com

2- Use the search box to add DailyBot as contact

Find DailyBot and add it as a contact

3- Follow the steps provided by DailyBot and complete the authentication process

Follow the link and complete the authentication, grant DailyBot the permissions

4- Ask your team members to onboard. They have to add DailyBot as contact (as you did) and complete the steps

Quick Example of onboarding of your team into DailyBot

5- Once all users are in DailyBot, open the dashboard

Dashboard

6- Create a Team and add the members you need (Organization > Teams panel > Create team)

Create team and add members

7- Configure the questions for your periodic follow-ups

8- Create a Follow-Up to configure the stand-ups for that team

9- Your team will start receiving the automatic questions via chat and the reports will be shared to channels/rooms and they'll be available in the dashboard.

Can I automate any meeting with the Free plan?

DailyBot offers a Free plan that lets you automate daily stand-ups across your teams. Automating more kinds of meetings with your own templates and questions is available in the premium plans, starting in Business plan.

What if I’m not a Google Suite user?

DailyBot is available for Google Suite (Hangouts Chat) and also for Slack and Microsoft Teams. If you have any of those platforms, open www.dailybot.co and sign up for free.