Question How long does a person sending out a poll to pick a meeting time have to make a decision on when the meeting will be?
Details USA. Large organization with multiple teams, groups, etc. When trying to schedule a meeting with multiple individuals from multiple teams (so everyone has different time constraints), people use an external website (e.g. Doodle) to conduct a poll. The sender lists multiple days and times, and each respondent indicates yes to the times that would work for them. The hope is that there is a magic time that everyone (or almost) says yes to.
It helps avoid multiple back and forth emails and is an option in between the positions of just send a calendar invite or email first in the following related:
Problem Alice sends a poll for a couple weeks in the future. Our Hero responds, and selects yes for several. A few days go by with no meeting set yet. Now Bill sends a poll about a totally different issue, involving an almost completely different set of people except Hero is requested for that one also and many of the times are similar. Hero is not going to consider every time that he marked yes on a poll now off limits, so he answers Bill’s poll based on current availability. Although Bill started after Alice, he made his decision sooner, so now a time previously free is no longer free for Hero. To make it simpler- In the interim from when Alice sent out the poll, Hero gets other appointments or other conflicts come up on his schedule.
Botton line After several days, Alice writes “Looks like next Thursday at 1 is good for everyone!” Hero bangs head on desk and thinks “Yeah, last week I was free in two Thursdays, but not anymore.” But then everyone else is frustrated.
I know poor Alice had the problem of non-responders, so question 1a is how long do people get to respond before she goes and schedules. The issue here is people are in a variety of departments, all are busy professionals and more or less on the same level. If it was the boss, everyone would make it when told, or would at least respond right away.
solutions/considerations 1. First one to actually schedule something wins if all else equal. 2. Same as old fashioned schedule conflicts, you prioritize based on urgency, importance to organization, etc. 3. Something with only 2 or 3 people might have more flexibility to move, etc.
I think being expected to go back to the still open poll to take away a yes is too much, but when I have responded and a reminder/nudge comes later I do look and change my answers if needed. Sometimes.
Hero could wait one day on Bill’s to see if Alice sets hers, but it has already been several days and that gets to my question.
All that said, back to the question and related issues:
- What is a reasonable shelf life of a poll response (I think 24-48 hrs max)?
1a. How long do respondents get before being either nudged or just scheduled if they had better show up?