MTTJ – What is Mean Time to Join (MTTJ)?

MTTJ – The time taken to join a meeting, and delays caused in ensuring the right people are available, can be avoided using software automation and tools. This is not an often talked about topic, but am sure everyone is affected directly from this. We discuss this in detail here. What, why and how it can be avoided? 

Hurry up, only to wait 

We have all heard about the different metrics typically used in incident response and service level agreements, ie MTTR, MTBF etc. All good, all important.  

However, in today’s very interconnected but equally disparate world; people working in multiple teams, spread across many geographies and time zones, need to be involved in acknowledging, triaging, and then resolving incidents, we need a new measure or metric to monitor. 

What is Mean Time to Join (MTTJ) 

The average time taken, for all ‘responsible’ people to join a call or a meeting.  

Let me elaborate

How many times have you been invited to a meeting to address a P1 problem; a large flaming meteor on its way to crashing into earth? Only that you sign-in to the company bridge or conference call and wait. Wait for a few more people to get the call started.  

So typical to hear these, in most, if not all meetings today, “Where’s Jim?”, “Can someone find Bob?”, “Is John joining the call?”, “Mike is wrapping up another meeting…”, “Dave is out, Bill is filling in”. 

The first 60 to 120 seconds, and sometimes, almost a full 3-4 minutes is spent on chatter like this. Finally, someone calls the meeting to order, irrespective of whether the required parties have joined or not. 

So what? 

It’s expensive. Time is money. Next time you are in a meeting, do a small exercise. Count the number of people in the meeting. Multiply this number by, $100 (an approx. cost per head per hour). That’s the total dollars, it is costing the company for an hour of meeting. When, 3-4 minutes is wasted on an average every meeting, waiting on people, that’s about 5-7% of this amount flushed down the drain. 

Now to amplify this perspective, when we are on a P1 call, and the MTTJ is 3 minutes. That means almost 180 seconds before a meaningful discussion can start, and a decision can be made.  

In a recent conversation, we had a guest who indicated that sometimes the wait can be as-long-as 10-15 minutes!!  

This is not uncommon at all. The longer the wait, the higher the cost. 

In the recent episode of IMC , Mr. Haridas gives “MTTJ” an example.

Only Cost? 

No, Cost is only one important impact of the Mean Time to Join (MTTJ). It’s easy to calculate. 

Wait Time * Number of Participants * Cost/Hr 

The cost per hour, should be about $100 per hour. That’s the typical cost to the organization for most skilled and qualified staff. 

That number is low, considering that these calls have invitees who are senior managers and executives at times. 

There are also other impacts – qualitative and quantitative. 

Loss of business and customer satisfaction are other important. However, there can be other causes that contribute to these, not just time to join (MTTJ). 

Reduce Time to Join (MTTJ) 

People and habits are the biggest contributors to delayed meetings. However, to avoid a discussion around human habits and psychology for the moment, we will concentrate on how technology can help reduce MTTJ. 

Automation is key. Alerting team members, seeking acknowledgments, automatic escalation and workflow/routing are important techniques to reduce the time lost.  

While emails work, they are not the most effective at times. The ability to page (manual paging) multiple people, or members of one or more teams with the call-in number and bridge information, reduces the time spent in looking for meeting info etc. The message sent can include a single-click-join meeting invite. 

Accountability can be imposed by leveraging auditing and tracking features. Message and notifications sent can be tracked and can also be used determine delivery, acknowledgment, and response. This can eliminate the “I didn’t receive the message” response usually observed in workplaces. 

To address cases where a team member is out of reach, or required but out-of-office, escalation policies and workflows established will route the communication to alternate team members, ensuring representation required for these meetings. 

It’s not all MTTJ 

Mean time to Join is just the beginning or start point of metrics that measure incidents response and resolution. But with MTTJ addressed or measurable, the team can focus on the more important MTTR and MTTD or MTBFs. Or maybe even address the climate issue or world peace! 

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