What are your tips for running more effective meetings with Asana?

productivity
meetings
agenda
communication

#1

When I first started using Asana, it didn’t occur to me to use it for meeting agendas or note-taking. It wasn’t until the other Asana champion at my work read something (probably on the Asana blog :smile:) and suggested it to the team and began putting meeting notes in Asana.

My biggest ah-ha moment was realizing I could assign people tasks in real-time. This helped save me time creating tasks after meetings, but also to not forget to follow up / hold people accountable to verbal agreements to do something.

Wondering if any of you all have any good stories about using Asana for meeting agendas, ways it helped you make meeting times more efficient, and tips for others who are thinking of making the shift.


#2

Hi @Jessie_Beck! I love putting actions in Asana during a meeting - it helps so much with that meeting aftermath feeling where you wonder where to start and how to tackle it all. Especially if your meetings are back to back.

As much as possible, I try to include all the details I can (adding notes to the description, links, adding it to the right project(s), adding followers right then and there). In the past I’ve found that I’ve been too cryptic with the task in the meeting because in that context everyone knows what’s going on. But it’s a problem hours or days after the meeting is over so I try to be as detailed as possible even if it feels redundant.

I mostly do virtual meetings so if nothing else is being screen shared, I’ll share my screen while I’m adding the tasks so that people have a visual of what’s going into Asana, what they’ve agreed to, and can see the due date. It seems to help get everyone on the same page.

If I work with a client over a long period of time, I’ll have a “meeting notes” project with month being a section heading, and then each meeting being it’s own task with meeting agenda items as the subtasks. For non-profits, I keep an official google doc with the meeting agenda and notes attached to the task too. It’s a bit of duplication of work but necessary for record keeping.

I’ll keep thinking on any other ways that Asana makes meetings better!

Amy :slight_smile:


#3

We started with the “Meeting Agenda” project template for setting up our weekly meetings. One thing I like about this is, if someone has a specific task they want discussed, they can just add the meeting’s project to their task. It then shows up at the top of the agenda so you know it’s new and needs to be prioritized in teh agenda. On the flip side you can add tasks in your follow-up/new tasks section and assign them to people as you go so everyone sees items being owned and you can move on. After the meeting the owners of the new tasks will see them in their My Tasks and can take proper action with them (work them, plop them in the relevant projects, unassign them and drop them in their team’s backlog, whatever). Another benefit is that as people add tasks to the project, I believe all followers of the meeting project get notifications in their inbox. Theoretically they should have a better chance of being prepared for the meeting and we don’t have to spend time reviewing and bringing people up to speed.

The part I still struggle with is managing it. I’m not always sure how best to handle the sections, run the discussion, etc. This is probably more a function of meeting norms and organization however. People want to jump from topic to topic. One practice that’s beginning to develop for us, that I like, is the idea of completing the topic tasks if the item is fully addressed and we don’t believe warrants any future discussion. We’ve also begun moving things we know we won’t have anything actionable to discuss, but need to maintain visibility on, to a parking lot section. Before we end a meeting, we always leave time for people to agree no discussion is warranted on any of these topics.

We’ve kind of ended up with two roles in meetings directly related to Asana. We have one person that’s displaying the agenda and going into tasks for more details. Sometimes they’ll enter new tasks, but usually someone else does if it’ll hold up the meeting (so kind of a third role). The other main role is a note taker. We create a new task each meeting at the bottom of the agenda for taking notes. We try to assign this to someone that won’t need to lead discussion at any point because we found that without that we never get notes for speakers that also take notes… This ends up being very helpful because we don’t always get through the agenda so we can re-prioritized skipped items for the next meeting. Also sometimes people will hear two different things so we have something to check against as to what was discussed.

Hope those help. I know I’m pretty interested in how other people handle meetings, especially how people might modify their use of Asana for specific meeting types.


#4

Thanks Ryan, this is so in-depth and a lot of good notes here. Getting a note taker is a really good piece of advice, as is using Asana to take a look at the work you’re discussing (not just making notes or follow up reminders). Sounds like your team has a great system!


#5

Really good point about adding details – it’s so easy to forget what you meant with a really brief note – and having a project for recurring meetings so all of your notes live in one place.


#6

This is the biggest reason that all meetings should have either a formal or de-facto meeting runner - especially if the meeting warrants an agenda project and not just a quick sync on an existing project, etc. It’s a tricky thing, but I’ve been making it a strong point especially the past few months to stress the importance of getting through everything. @Alexis I’ve observed is pretty good at redirecting in meetings, it’s definitely a balancing act between what is good discussion for the current meeting vs what we need to table for a later date. As a project and operations manager, this is the eternal question for me XD

I’ve always had a great integration with zapier that creates a task for all events on my calendar, tags it with meeting notes, and then I add notes or relevant tasks to the description as part of my meeting prep. I do this for all meetings, but if it’s about a specific project it’s really important because I often will have them blow up the task on the screen and we’ll go one by one through the tasks in there as I add our notes/actions under each one. And then in each project (every single on I create) has a ‘meeting notes’ task under references section, and each meeting is labeled with the date and name of it and added as a subtask to the meeting notes parent task.

ANYWAY I digress, for running effective meetings I think the most important thing is:

  • mutual understanding and respect for each others’ time: meaning, if I redirect or cut you off from a discussion, it’s not because I don’t care about it or what you think, it’s that if it’s a worthwhile topic in need of greater discussion, we should have a separate time for it - and we need to get through everything in order to respect each others’ time and not go over. I will always say that I’ve made a note that we need to talk about that point further at a later time or afterwards. I totally struggle with this because I used to feel that I was being rude, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if I have to do it - it’s for the greater good and out of respect for the value of everyone’s time and concerns. I don’t want a 30m meeting blown up into an hour long one if we can keep from it.
  • having an agenda: even a basic one - don’t necessarily have to get caught up in sections of the agenda project or whatever, but it needs to be in order - either of importance or logic (grouped by similar areas)
  • task action items as subtasks under the meeting notes: if a new action item (unrelated to any task existing) crops up during a discussion, add the action item right there during the discussion - on the meeting notes task. That way when y ou’re doing a status update or sending the notes to someone who didn’t make it, they can see both notes and action items.
  • bold action items: I’m usually the note taker for asana notes, and I write down a LOT of stuff, so what I’ve taken to doing is I’ll write as normal, but I’ll BOLD points that are actions or follow ups that are needed. Then post-meeting I’ll review them and task/follow up as needed. It just helps me personally.
  • put dates in the task title: I’ve started the convention of ‘if its a meeting or communication task, put the date at the beginning’ - like “1/31 Follow-Up Sync w/XYZ” - so we can at a glance see when it was, also helps when you have the note tasks listed - I order them chronologically.

And from a PM perspective, always have a PM in attendance =P lol


#7

If you are interested in discussing meetings and meeting cultures more broadly, there is an online community of meeting researchers and professionals at

It’s free to join and runs on the same software as the Asana forum, so it will feel familiar.


#8

A typical use case for Asana in a software development team is to view the current sprint project during a scrum team’s daily standup.
If Board view supported either swimlanes-by-assignee or quick filtering by assignee, it would help enormously with meeting facilitation.