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I hate meetings. Let me re-phrase. I hate sitting in a room discussing an endless topic knowing that my inbox is full and my to-do list is getting longer by the minute. That’s why the donut trap commercials really resonate with me.
Here’s a typical scenario:

  • 1:58 PM – The presenter arrives in the meeting room and plugs his laptop into the projector.
  • 2:01 PM – 2:09 PM – Attendees arrive. The presenter gets a glass of water, attendees chit chat, and things quiet down.
  • 2:10 PM – The presenter blows through a short slide show, summarizes the problem, his thoughts on a proposed solution, and opens things up for Q & A.
    Questions range from ‘can you tell me what you mean by this?’ to ‘why do you think this solution might work’? Attendees begin to express their opinions slowly, but soon are interrupting one another. There are a few ‘quiet types’ who never speak up at all.
  • 3:05 PM – The meeting ends abruptly when the next group takes over the room. The presenter and all attendees decide this topic isn’t resolved; they set up a second meeting to finalize a solution.

Here’s how things go at Atlassian:

  • Kevin has an idea on how to improve our email triage process (we have a rather large, globally distributed team of customer service and sales folks who often work together to find the appropriate answer for a customer’s question).
  • Kevin posts a new page on Confluence summarizing the problem and his proposed solution, showing a couple of screen shots, and sends an email out to the team with a link to the wiki page asking for thoughts.
  • Each of us now has the chance to read the idea whenever we have time, think things over, and add comments and suggestions for the entire team to see.

This is of course a sales-related topic, but now the developers, marketing team, tech support, and anyone else can see what we’re discussing and follow the thread. Nobody misses a point because they got up to get a coffee during the meeting, and nobody gets interrupted. We can all add our own comments, comment on each others’ comments, even those ‘quiet folks’ at the back of room can jump in whenever they like without worrying about making an already long meeting last even longer.
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Every Atlassian who participated in the discussion (with the exception of Kevin and internal systems) spends about 5 to 10 minutes reading the page and adding their comments. We’ve just saved 50 minutes of time per person – multiply that by the number of people on the sales team alone and we’ve just saved countless hours of productive employee time.

Think about how much time your team spends in needless meetings and how much time can Confluence save for your team?

Don’t fall for the donut trap!...