Avoiding Conference Room Conflicts with GroupWise
Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Phil Cole
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Posted: 10 Apr 2002
Here's a tip from New Jersey civil servant Phil Cole that should make conference room scheduling less of a sporting event and more of a business practice. According to Phil, he knows just enough about technology to be on his IT department's "watch closely" list. (Phil, we know the feeling).
I work in a New Jersey state government office (Department of Environmental Protection) and use GroupWise 5.5.4. Our main campus consists of 5 buildings in downtown Trenton, NJ, where many of the Department's 3,400 staffers work. Finding (and staking claim) to the few large-capacity conference rooms that are available in these buildings is a difficult task. The original system required us to visit the conference room in advance and write (in pencil) the date and time we needed the room in a calendar dedicated to the room. Many a legitimate claim was lost to an eraser, and some rooms were under-utilized because the calendar was missing or locked in a desk.
The solution to our scheduling quandry was to make each of the large conference rooms a "resource" in GroupWise. Busy search now lets us find and identify a room's availability, and an e-mail to the room can secure it. The receptionist at the main building accepts or declines each request for a room.
We love the new system because it allows us to schedule these "resources" quickly and easily. Maybe more importantly, we know our reservation is legitimate and can't fall prey to the "accidental erasure" that delayed some of our meetings in the past.
I was just reading up on the conference room scheduling info and wanted to share what we have done.
We have a web services account. In that account we have several conference room folders. Each room has a room administrator that has been granted full rights. The room administrator also identifies who needs read and add rights. Once rights have been granted, people can view, create, and delete their own appointments. The administrator only has to manage the calendar when they need to bump someone for an administrative meeting.
Web Services is the owner of all the accounts, that way it is not linked to a single person, in case they leave the company. We have 15 rooms set up and everyone what has rights can view them in their GroupWise client.
One problem we are having, is that the GroupWise web access does not allow for people to make appointments via the web. We are investigating GWExtranet now and it looks like it will take care of that problem :) hopefully.
Thanks, Sue Koopman
I read the article from Phil Cole about scheduling conference rooms and wanted to share our solution. We went one step further by placing rules in the account for the conference rooms that would automatically accept or reject the appointment depending on if there was a conflict.
This eliminates the need for a person to monitor the account. We do have several people that have Read and Write access to those accounts in case there needs to be a change -- but for the most part it takes care of itself. We also use the same concept for our digital camera's and projectors.
Here's how we set up the rules:
The rule shown in this screen capture accepts the appointment if there is no conflict.
The rule shown in the next screen capture checks for a conflict. It then replies to the sender with the following message:
Your scheduled appointment (meeting) in the No View conference room conflicts with another previously scheduled appointment. To resolve this conflict:
- Reschedule the appointment by resending the appointment
- Contact the conference room coordinator to resolve the conflict
After recently reading a tip about using GroupWise resources for conference room scheduling, I thought I'd share my setup, which takes it a step further.
We have 3 conference rooms that are used heavily. I've set up 3 resources, that automatically accept appointments, notify of conflicts, and deny other message types.
First I set auto-cleanup on appointments to however far back I wish to retain a history. 3 months is plenty in my opinion. Then I set up my rules for each conference room.
Here's a typical rule set.
Appointment Conflict Exists = No
I have 3 actions
- Accept (busy)
- Reply (with Appointment for Conference room X was accepted)
- Stop Rule Processing
Rule Name: Conflict
Appointment Conflict Exists = Yes
I have 3 actions
- Reply "Conference Room X has already been scheduled for the date/time you requested."
- Delete/Decline "Conference Room X has already been scheduled for the date/time you requested." (This seems redundant, but I put it in so if the status is checked on the appointment later, it has an explanation.)
- Stop Rule Processing
Finally, I have a catch-all rule to get everything else that should NOT be sent to a resource.
Rule Name: Uh-Oh
New item/Received/Mail,Task,Reminder Note,Phone Message
Appointment Conflict Exists: Doesn't Matter
I have 3 actions for this
- Reply "This resource does not accept Mail, Tasks, Reminder Notes, or Phone messages. If you wish to schedule the conference room, please send an appointment"
- Delete/Decline (Same Text as reply)
- Stop Rule Processing.
That's it. All scheduling is automated. If a person schedules an appointment, it's automatically accepted if the room is free. The last step is to make sure you appoint responsible people with proxy rights that can delete appointments that are cancelled, or incorrectly scheduled.
You'll find this saves a lot of time and effort.
P.S. this also works great for checking out laptops, projectors, or any other resource.
Novell Cool Solutions (corporate web communities) are produced by WebWise Solutions. www.webwiseone.com