TimeBridge

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Do You Think About Scheduling Tools?

I need to get my work done. I need to meet, and so I send out an email.
Stuff accumulates in my Inbox, but worse than that - stuff accumulates in my head. I become stressed and inefficient.
Here is how it works: I open my calendar. I search for available times. I start to type into my email "I can meet on thursday march 20th at 3 pm, or friday march 21st at 1 pm, or .....". Sometimes I'll block out these times in my calendar - but then forget to remove the proposed times after a final time is confirmed, and end up with zombies in my calendar. On other occasions, after all the responses are in, I am not available anymore. Back to square one.
Meanwhile, more stuff to think about, to worry about, to manage.

This is the current state of scheduling, and more essentially, of driving business forward. Modern electronic calendars are great and useful, but while good at calendaring (i.e. graphically representing temporal information), how useful are they as *scheduling* tools?

11 Comments:

  • I can't wait for meeting attendees to get back to me in response to my proposed time; I need to get their trust that I can see when they are busy and pick a time that is clear and it should be accepted automatically. Moreso, people need to keep their calendars up-to-date with their meetings, working time, and personal time blocked so that unscheduled time really is time available for meetings.

    By Blogger Tom Chavez, at 6:01 PM, March 10, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:24 AM, March 13, 2006  

  • So I agree that looking in to someone else's calendar might seem to be useful for me to get a sense of when they're free and when they aren't... but does doing this really give me a good understanding for when they're free for this new thing that I'm scheduling? Perhaps they'll clear a space for me. Or perhaps even though they seem to be free, they're not, for this. I just don't see that looking into another person's calendar is really the way to go. Maybe TimeBridge is doing this, maybe not. I'm waiting to see, with some interest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:34 AM, March 14, 2006  

  • Responding to anonymous - I completely agree with you! Scheduling is *not* a calendar lookup or calendar sharing problem. It is a collaborative balance of preferences, power and moods. This is why no current solution addresses the core scheduling problem, and people resort to email and phone. Enhancing data access or sharing calendars (or free/busy) while may help, does not address the core issues.

    By Blogger Yori, at 9:02 AM, March 14, 2006  

  • Yori,

    Sounds great that TimeBridge is addressing the core issues of scheduling. I find myself that my available time slots depends on who initiates the meeting request. Ex, if a super-VIP wants to meet with me, I would be available anytime. I have not seen any application that can help me set this up yet, so I look forward to the launch of TimeBridge.

    By Anonymous Linda Lee, at 5:18 PM, March 14, 2006  

  • The bubble is here again!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:21 AM, March 26, 2006  

  • Dear anonymous - can you expand on your bubble comment?

    By Anonymous Yori, at 9:13 PM, April 02, 2006  

  • Very nice indeed.
    It is just that scheduling
    is a weighed networking problem,
    a complex one, but also the one where pattern recognition should, in theory, deliver.
    Not that dissimilar from categorizing emails, I'd say :))
    Ideal for corporate. Consumers, I doubt people would share enough info. And GUI would be very important. Second to AI only.

    By Anonymous Michael Kariv, at 4:25 AM, May 16, 2006  

  • We used the scheduling app in MS office at my old dot.com company before I cashed out three years ago. I hated it. Being "invited" and "accepting" , then being emailed that it was rescheduled and accepting again, it was sort of like a 4-way stop, the yield goes around and around till all accept the invite. Hope you guys have a better solution. Dont think I would use it in my non-business life. If everyone knows your at a meeting, it would seem like a good time to rob your house. ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:18 PM, May 18, 2006  

  • I thought timetable scheduling, which is equivalent to Clique Minimisation, was NP complete.

    Doesn't that put a bound on what is possible?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:57 AM, May 22, 2006  

  • The problem with calendars is that they usually only contain appointments. But people also have to find time to do their work. Agreeing or not to a meeting is a balance between time for work and the potential usefulness of the meeting—a judgement not a fact.

    The main problems of scheduling programs are usually social, not representational. This said, the representations often aren't as good as they should be.

    By Anonymous Gillian Crampton Smith, at 7:45 AM, May 25, 2006  

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