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Asynchronous Meeting Case Study: Buffer

Ben Larsen

Asynchronous meetings are a new category in the broader world of asynchronous work, but that doesn’t mean smart companies haven’t yet found a way to hack together their own asynchronous meeting platforms.

These companies' desire for a better way to meet is a big motivation for the team at Asynchly. Our mission is to build a platform that enables them to run their asynchronous meetings in an efficient and effective way — whatever that means to them.

In this post, we examine the push behind asynchronous meetings at Buffer.

Note: The facts and insights in this post were originally published by Buffer. Click here to read the full post.

About the Company and Team

Buffer is a leading social media management tool. The tool allows users to curate content and publish to multiple social media channels. The company launched in 2010 and remains one of the go-to applications for social media management among professionals in the marketing space, including agencies, freelancers, content creators, and in-house teams.

In this case study, we’ll be examining closely the Mobile Team at Buffer and their dive into asynchronous meetings.

The Problem they Faced

Buffer is a fully distributed company. This means that there is no centralized office where employees go to work every day. All employees work remotely from across the globe.

Buffer mobile team members span multiple timezones, which makes meeting synchronously a challenge. With their team members residing in the U.S. and Europe, they were able to find a time that worked for them all to meet synchronously. When a team member moved to Asia, they were unable to find a time where everyone was available to meet synchronously.

Their Approach to Solving It

The mobile team at Buffer decided they needed to find a way to meet asynchronously — without the constraints of time.

First, the team considered holding their synchronous meeting as originally planned but recording it so that the team member who lived in the Asia-Pacific timezone could watch. They ruled against this as it would put this team member in a position of not being up to date with the teams’ latest information and wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in the meeting.

Next, they tried a few different tools, which they considered “experiments.”

First, they attempted to collaborate using Dropbox Paper. This enabled team members to contribute to a shared document, but the flurry of comments became too much as they were readable or easy to follow.

Next, they tried, a tool built for standup but quickly realized that tool wasn’t right for the need they had.

The team’s third try leveraged Carrot and Loom. This was nearly a success. Carrot enabled the team to divide things into areas, create topics, and leverage the tool’s threading to organize individuals’ feedback.

They combined Carrot with Loom, which is an asynchronous video platform.

The challenge with the Carrot-Loom solution was in the notification feed. The team seemed to be overwhelmed with notifications.

Ultimately they landed on Threads, an asynchronous communication tool. This gave them a timezone-inclusive way to engage in longer discussions that didn’t seem to work in Slack.

What they Learned

While they were undoubtedly challenged to find the right tool for their needs, when the Mobile Team at Buffer switched to asynchronous meetings, they found two key benefits.

  1. Meeting asynchronously makes meetings self-document. They liked the concept of not having a dedicated notetaker.
  2. Quiet voices were now on a level playing field. In asynchronous meetings, quite voices and introverts tend to find it hard to offer their thoughts and ideas. With asynchronous communication driving the meeting, Buffer’s Mobile Team members were now all in a position to input their thoughts and ideas equally.

Even though they don’t face timezone challenges any longer, the team is still meeting asynchronously because of the flexibility they’ve gained through it.

As a leading asynchronous meeting platform, we couldn’t be happier about a company like Buffer leveraging asynchronous communication and asynchronous meetings. It’s our goal to offer companies just like Buffer a complete tool for asynchronous meetings.

Is your team ready to make the switch to asynchronous meetings? Read our asynchronous meeting needs assessment post to see how you and your team could benefit by meeting asynchronously.

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