Continuing to Continuously Improve My Online Scheduling Process

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For years, I've scheduled many phone calls and web meetings. That's only increased during this current Covid-19 era. Sooooo many Zoom meetings. I do like Zoom a lot better than GoToMeeting, Webex, and Google Hangouts. One day, I had meetings on all four platforms.

Below is a blog post from 2017 where I first wrote about how I incorporated technology (youcanbook.me) into a better process for scheduling meetings:

Doing this online scheduling, with real-time visibility into my calendar, has eliminated hundreds of back-and-forth emails (if not more) over the past few years.

Last year, I made a change to my scheduling template that I thought was an improvement — limiting start times to those ending in :00 and :30 — but I ended up clicking undo on that change. Plan, Do, Study, Adjust.

The scheduling system still works well. I get compliments about how it's easy for the person trying to schedule a meeting with me.

The old process / form made reference to making a phone call or using Skype. But, recently I've been using Zoom more and more.

The old process was:

  1. Person schedules a meeting with me
  2. In some cases, I set up a Zoom meeting
  3. I then send that information to the person who scheduled the meeting

I was wondering if I could automate this… why couldn't Youcanbook.me trigger the automatic creation of a Zoom meeting? That would save me a few steps and a few minutes.

I tweeted about it:

And I got a helpful reply from Zoom:

Now, every meeting that's scheduled automatically creates a Zoom meeting and includes that in the meeting info that's sent to me and the scheduler.

Even if they want to just do a phone call, they can dial in via a conference call number. Or they can just call me if it's 1×1 meeting.

I was happy that I could create a small time-saving “Kaizen” improvement again to my own office work.

what improvements have you made to your home office setup or processes?


Protect Yourself Against “Zoomboming”

As I said, I'm using Zoom a lot these days — for work meetings, virtual happy hours with family and friends, and virtual happy hours or networking sessions in professional circles.

The last two Fridays, my friend Paul Critchley has been kind enough to host a “Lean Happy Hour” gathering that attracted about 8 people each time. The first week went great… a few familiar faces and I also met a few new people.

Last Friday though, about 10 minutes into the session, a flood of people suddenly joined… maybe another 8 to 10 people. That seemed odd.

Then, the inappropriate language started. I was worried when somebody started a screen sharing session. Nope, I didn't want to see that twerking video (I guess it could have been worse). I hit Command-Q on my Mac and quickly bailed on that meeting.

What happened? Something called “Zoombombing.”

I am using Paul's name with permission here and I want to give him credit for calling out the problem so that others can learn from it. There are also countermeasures that can be taken, ranging from tightening up your Zoom settings for privacy – read tips from Zoom about that.

The other key is to NOT post meetings publicly on Twitter without using “Waiting Rooms” or other features that can serve as a buffer against people getting in. Posting on a professional forum, like LinkedIn, probably still has some risk, but hopefully less.

I don't blame Paul for what happened. Being a Lean thinker, I know he will take some root cause corrective actions that can prevent the same problem from happening again.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

3 Comments
  1. Mark Graban says

    Another home-office Kaizen of mine from this week:

    I had a nice USB external microphone on my desk. But, my Mac displayed multiple devices just called “USB PNP Sound Device” and I would sometimes select my speakers as the microphone or vice versa. Oops, that doesn’t work.

    I tested the microphone that’s built into the webcam that’s priced on top of my monitor. Turns out that works just fine. It’s clearly labeled as “Webcam.” I’ve reduced the confusion and frustration from different web meetings… and I can still plug in that microphone if I want to use it to record a podcast or something…

  2. Karen says

    Re Zoombombing, I’m doing weekly webinars now, on top of a million zoom meetings. So far, I’ve been lucky. A good friend of mine wasn’t so lucky. She was teaching a college lecture this week and had no idea what zoombombing was. When the inappropriate language started, she though it was one of her students. Unfamiliar with Zoom, she wasn’t sure what to do. My meeting kaizen: I started yesterday’s webinar with a PSA warning attendees that it might happen and my plan for dealing with it. Because you have more security controls in the webinar version of zoom than in the video conferencing, I tightened up all controls (attendees are muted and cannot unmute themselves, no private chat between attendees). And I learned where the “remove attendee” command is! So far, so good.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Hi Karen — Great kaizens!! It’s good when we can learn from the mistakes (or oversights) of others, so we can prevent the same mistakes.

      See a problem, solve a problem, share a problem…

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