Sorry, your meeting sucks

Ricardo Loo
Aug 3, 2015 · 3 min read

— anonymous

If you work in a corporate environment, you know that employees spend lots of time in meetings. A recent study shows that office workers only spend 45 percent of their time in tasks related to their primary duties.

How do we spend our work day?

Office worker time distribution chart

I know. Sometimes it feels like it’s way more than that. In any case, it’s worth it to invest some resources to make sure we are making good use of employees’ time.

According to the study, 9 percent of the workday is spent in useful meetings and 7 percent in wasteful meetings. How do we discern between useful and wasteful meetings? How do we improve our meetings?

That’s why my team came up with a great idea for a sample app. What if you could provide anonymous feedback to meeting organizers? Would that make meetings more useful? Shorter?

We designed and built an Android sample app that lets you provide feedback in the form of a 5-star rating and comments.

A demo app to provide anonymous feedback

The app is Meeting Feedback, an Android sample app that lets you provide anonymous feedback to organizers that use Office 365 to manage their meetings.

Here’s a short video that shows the sample in action.

Video of Meeting Feedback sample in action

Our sample app uses the Office 365 SDK for Android to get the meetings in your Office 365 calendar.

It also has a server-side component. A Rails backend receives the feedback and stores it in a database so the organizers can see it.

Push notifications? Yup…

A push notification in the Meeting Feedback sample app

When an attendee provides feedback, the app sends a notification to the organizer. The organizer can then choose to review the feedback in the app or in an email that is sent anonymously.

We could have chosen to send the email from the Rails app, but we thought that it would be a better learning experience if we sent the email from the Android app instead. In order to do this we set up a distribution group in our Office 365 tenant and set Send As permissions to the users of the app. When the app sends the email, we just change the sender to the distribution group so the user’s own email is never revealed.

Increasing productivity with apps

As you can see, you can use Office 365 in your apps to improve many aspects of corporate life, such as meetings. We have other examples that deal in a similar way with email, like Art Curator and Email Peek.

We provide all these samples as GitHub repositories so you can download the code and see how we built them. Feel free to clone the repos and use the code in your own apps.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, as well as building the app and working with a great team. We have these and many other Office 365 samples on GitHub.

Armed with this app, we can now share feedback about meetings. The insights we gather from this app give us the potential to at least make that time spent in meetings more effective and fun for everyone.

Office development

Customer love. Sharing samples. We are a bunch of content developers creating samples and content to help developers build software that kicks ass.

Thanks to Michael Mainer, John Austin, James Crowley, and Andrew Byrne

Ricardo Loo

Written by

Nothing to share right meow

Office development

Customer love. Sharing samples. We are a bunch of content developers creating samples and content to help developers build software that kicks ass.

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