Review and Independent Test of the Best Meeting Minutes Transcription Software

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
This article was a huge task. However, I think you’ll be curious about the results of my tests.
Reason8 approached me to test their meeting transcription software. We decided that a market comparison and a review of similar tools would be the best test. So we did.
Reason8 was kind enough to pay me for this piece of work. However, my opinions are my own.
Executive Summary
I tried Reason8, Voicera, and Otter.ai. Each one has its pros and cons, depending on how you use them. I wouldn’t trust any one of them to create’real’ meeting notes so you should expect to edit your document afterward, whichever one you choose.
Otter.ai now offers a paid plan that meets my needs.
I am a pen-and paper girl.
It’s only been the last year that I started to take minutes of meetings directly into my laptop while I am not in the chair. I don’t believe you can simultaneously chair and type minutes.
So, generally speaking, I take notes and then type them up after a meeting.
However, this is a huge waste and I’ve been called out by colleagues and readers before. There must be a better way.

Executive Summary
Enter Meeting Minutes Transcription software
Reason8 Overview
Otter.ai Overview
Voicera Overview
Easy Setup of Meeting Minutes Transcription SoftwareReason8
Otter
Voicera

The Test
Meeting Transcription ResultsReason8
Otter
Voicera

Tips for using Meeting Minutes Transcription Software
Meeting Transcription Software Security
Comparison Table for Meeting Minutes Transcription software
Other options
Summary
Create great meeting minutes

Enter Meeting Minutes Transcription software
There was no other option when I started my career and cultivated my habits. But — ta da! Technology has advanced so much that there are now tools that can transcribe your meetings. No matter what type of project you are involved in, all sessions require some sort of record.
The app will record your meeting and give you the draft minutes. Genius!
But how effective are they? Is editing as difficult as starting from scratch? I wanted to know.
I searched for software that could do in-person transcriptions of meetings. where all participants are present in the room.
These three were the ones we settled on:
Reason8.ai
Otter.ai
Voicera.

All of these apps work on Android and iOS. However, most only support English language at this time. Reason8 supports other languages but is best for American English.

Reason8 Overview
I tested Android version 0.1.6.
Reason8 is an award-winning software that records in-person meetings. The app must be installed on each participant’s phone. There is no desktop version. Here’s how it works.
One participant presses “Host meeting” in the app.
An identification number for a meeting is displayed.
When prompted, other participants will press ‘Join” and enter the meeting ID number.
The phones are kept near their owners.
When you are ready to start, someone presses “Start” to activate the recording.
The recording takes place in the background.
Stop recording the meeting when it is over.
The recording can be accessed via the website.

The app can be downloaded from the iOS App Store, or the Android version from the Play Store. You can get the app for free, which will allow you to get started.
The transcript doesn’t appear on the screen as you speak. Instead, the app does its magic behind-the scenes and combines the recordings from all devices to provide you with the best quality transcript.
Software is worth considering if you want to capture the events at your kickoff meeting or other sessions.
Here’s a reading list: How To Facilitate Productive Projects

Benefits of an Agile Approach to Meetings

Nobody wants to sit through meetings and feel like it was pointless. So why are up to half the time that attendees waste in meetings?
It can demoralize your team and make it difficult to be productive. It is important to plan ahead for your meeting so that you get the most out your attendees’ time.
This project is an example. PUST (Polisens Utredningsstod), a Swedish police investigation support project, was based on Agile principles and included daily stand-up meetings. The meetings were difficult to manage with a group of 60 people.
This was solved by the project team who divided the meetings into shorter, more productive sessions.
The feature teams, which are made up of a requirements analyst and a tester, met for fifteen minutes in the morning. The specialist groups met for synchronization. Testers from each team met, developers from each team met, and the requirements analysts met again for 15 minutes. This allowed all feature teams to effectively synchronize their work with other teams.
The third daily meeting was project synchronization. This was where a cross-team group discussed the entire project with the manager. It was often attended by members of the project board.
Instead of one meeting, why not have three? What could be better? Although it might seem like a lot, the entire thing was completed in 45 minutes each day.
Everyone started the day knowing exactly how they were going to get there. These meetings were known as the “daily cocktail party”, with a focus being upbeat. However, I don’t believe they had any cocktails at that time.
Keep your meetings short
The shorter the meeting, it is easier to focus and get everything done. This can reduce distractions and chitchat. Agile teams also use this technique a lot. Agile meetings are known as stand ups.
You can cancel meetings if they are not producing the results you desire. There is no need for a weekly meeting of the project team if you find you are working closely with your team members throughout the week, and the formal meeting is redundant.
But, before you do that, think about why this meeting is not productive. If the meeting is truly irrelevant to all participants, cancel it. Don’t waste time with pointless get-togethers.
If you believe that it would be beneficial for everyone to meet, and if this could improve the collective productivity, then you should think about what you can do to make the meeting more productive.
Tips for Effficient Meetings
These suggestions will help you squeeze more value from your team’s time together.
Send out an agenda and objectives to ensure everyone knows why they are there. If you allow anyone to suggest topics for your agenda, it can lead to a lot of irrelevant items being included in the final agenda. Give people the opportunity to submit ideas for topics, but make sure they are checked for validity before they are added to the list.
You can take it in turns to be the chairperson: this allows quieter members of your team to speak and lead. You can either keep the minute-taker role for yourself or delegate it a trusted colleague. This is because you need to be confident about the accuracy and completeness of the minutes.
Do not assume that all action points from the previous meeting are complete. Go through the minutes and ask for updates. If an action is not completed, move it forward.
Establish a time frame and penalize those who are late.
Calculate the cost for the downtime in the meeting if it starts late: Sometimes you might need to

The Battle Between Progress and Process

This is Chris Hammond’s contribution to smartitpm.com.
Chris HammondAs Project managers, we are all familiar with the process.
Sometimes, it can feel like a project manager’s universe is just a collection of interlocking processes.
What happens if the need to adhere to an organisational process is incompatible with project progress?
Project managers are not process monkeys, after all.
We are not process workers, production lines operators, or trained gerbils.
We exist to deliver outcomes.
On time, on budget, and to specification
Let’s now look at the dilemma of “process vs. progress” and what we can do to improve our projects.
Why do processes exist in the first place?
We need to take in the bigger picture when it comes to processes.
Why are organisations required to have processes?
Basically, processes exist to serve the following three masters:
Control of Safety or Business Critical Tasks Aeroplane component design or changes to the core banking infrastructure
Quality Assurancei.e. Quality Assurancei.e. document review, software testing, and release
To Facilitate Progressi.e. Frameworks for project delivery
You are correct, most processes exist to facilitate progress.
At least, in theory.
Let’s say a company is a commercial entity. It exists to make money. The company grows and does its work, which is now being done by many people. It requires processes. Processes allow the company to achieve its goals more efficiently, with predictable results, and more smoothly.
All processes serve (or should serve a business need) in the end.
To meet business needs, temporary projects can also be created.
There can be conflict.
This will all depend on the maturity and size of the organisation that you work for.
Many smaller companies don’t have the resources to manage their own processes.
Large enterprises can sometimes seem like a maze of rigidly enforced processes. Senior managers are constantly on the prowl, trying to protect their process territory.
It is common for processes to be divorced from their original purpose, especially in larger companies or organizations with low maturity levels.
It is not unusual for project managers to be faced with a poorly designed, out-of date, or immature process.
It is not unusual for such a process to impede progress.
The Main Event: Progress vs. Process
The red corner: Managing operational business requirements, repeatability, predictability and consistency:
32 wins, 2 losses – The reigning, undisputed world champion of the Process!

The blue corner: Getting project business benefits, delivery, and flexibility in the fight for the blue:
25 wins, 0 loss, the challenger – Progress!

Every project manager will face a time in their career when they have to step up and fight for the process.
If a process has an impact on your schedule, budget, or scope, it is a major decision that is out of your control.
The winner will be determined by the project stakeholders.
Your job as project manager, is to help them make that decision.
The decision between:
Option 1: Delivering project as planned, conceived, and baselined.
Option 2: Continue the process, delaying the project, or increasing the budget.

I know what you are going to say.
Some project managers will shout loudly: Your baseline schedule should have included the timeline requirements for following all organisation processes!
However, the reality is that it doesn’t always work this way in real life.
Project schedules don’t always need to be created at this level of detail.
Even more, in complex organizations, new processes or changes to existing processes can be introduced while your project is in flight!
The judges must make their decisions.

The Azure SQL Database Service: Explained

Azure SQL Database is a cloud-native SQL Database that is accessible to individuals as well as businesses through a Platform as a Service (PaaS). It is not like a traditional self-managed SQL database. It requires configuration, management, security, and a host other processes to ensure that the database remains in a healthy state.
Azure SQL Database manages all of the database management functions, including preconfiguring, patching and managing log files.
Azure SQL Database is a resilient cloud-native platform that is supported by Microsoft’s robust contractual SLAs. Azure SQL Database boasts a 99.99% availability rate. Azure SQL Database allows IT teams to focus on business operations and not spend time and resources managing and monitoring managed SQL databases.
Why businesses are moving to a service-model
It is important to consider the pros and cons of Azure SQL Database.
First, IT and business teams are stretched more thinly today due to a lack of time and resources. Teams can now focus on their most pressing business issues by moving to a service-based model. IT teams are not equipped to manage fragile SQL databases due to the pace of business. Worse, they may be unable to prevent data breaches or unplanned outages from occurring.
Second, cloud deployments and as-a-service models are highly flexible. The cloud is able to seamlessly scale to meet the demand of businesses that want to spin up dev machines, or expand quickly after a successful product launch or acquisition. To keep up with unexpected growth, the traditional on-premises offering would need to be upgraded.
Finally, cloud-based services offer incredible security and compliance that isn’t possible with an on-premises deployment. Traditional IT teams are responsible to create all the security architecture and networking. This can be difficult for understaffed IT teams. We don’t mean to say that there aren’t many responsibilities you need to consider in order to protect your cloud environment. The cloud can make cloud-native security easy with its native geo redundancy, automated back-up, and security services baked in.
Unique Features of the Azure SQL database
Azure SQL Database is a service offering that offers many unique and valuable features and characteristics. These are not available for self-managed SQL deployments. We’ll be examining three unique features of the Azure SQL database service offering: flexible storage layer (self-updating, self-healing), and cost optimization.
Flexible Storage Layer
Azure SQL Database is very different from an on-premises, self-managed cloud-native SQL server in the way storage can be allocated. Azure SQL Database allows individuals to create an elastic, scalable storage layer that is highly available and can be consumed as-needed. It also maintains the same high performance level as any self-managed SQL databases.
Self-updating/Self-healing
Azure SQL Database allows for self-updating and patching, as well as automated backups without any user configuration. Azure SQL Database defaults to the most current stable version of SQL. However, users who wish to access the rich configuration capabilities and SQL are still able to use this option. Alter Database (Transact SQLL) allows users to modify certain configuration options in a database.
Cost-optimization
Azure SQL Database eliminates the need to worry about SQL resource over-provisioning or work througout.

The Art of Stakeholder Management

This guest article is by Diana Eskander, Project Management Software Genius Project.
Have you ever had to balance the interests of several people?
Stakeholder management is a key component of any successful venture, but it can also be one of the most difficult.
Why’s that?
People have different expectations, goals, and communication styles. A skilled leader can manage these differences. It is essential to be able to manage all the people involved in a project, including clients, team members, suppliers, and others. Their relationship with one another is key to ensuring the timely delivery of project milestones.
This is why optimizing the interaction between different stakeholders by managing their individual expectations and interests is crucial.
Here are some steps to help you do it.

1. Identify the stakeholders for the project
2. Identify the goals of stakeholders
3. Prioritize their influence
4. Engage all stakeholders
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate

1. Identify the stakeholders for the project
First, identify all stakeholders involved in a project. It is a good idea to list all stakeholders at this stage, even though their roles may seem insignificant at the moment.
Include the team. Ask stakeholders who have been identified to let you know of any other people who could be affected. They will often refer to people they know through their professional networks who could have a stake. This can often be people you don’t remember or didn’t know about.
2. Identify the goals of stakeholders
The ideal time to determine the roles of each stakeholder in relation to the project, and their individual goals, is at the beginning of a project. It might take several conversations with them before you can get a clear understanding of their goals and the project.
Some stakeholders might not get the best out of the project. Others might lose out because of what you deliver, such as losing their job.
Do not assume that everyone will be able to communicate their goals easily or that they will altruistically contribute even if the outcome is not great for them.
Once you have a better understanding of the needs of each stakeholder, create a summary of the agreed-upon expectations for each stakeholder. It’s important to circulate it. However, it should not contain any private comments.
Next: The 6 Things Every Stakeholder Needs
3. Prioritize their influence
Each stakeholder will have a different level of influence depending on their role in the project’s delivery and their hierarchy (if any). Project managers can balance the weight of the diverse opinions and interests of all stakeholders by knowing who has the most influence.
Prioritize your stakeholders. Keep in mind that even the most influential people might be the least important at the moment. This can be done using the stakeholder salience model.
Changes can be influenced by stakeholders throughout the life of a project. Therefore, it is important to regularly review your prioritized list and decide who you should spend time with.
4. Engage all stakeholders
All stakeholders should be able to understand and meet their goals.
You can monitor their progress and help them achieve the goals they have set.
Learn how to work with people who are difficult or unwilling to engage in this article on managing stakeholder relations.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
These four steps are not the only ones that are necessary for effective stakeholder management. Even this step isn’t enough.
But, if you only have one chance to engage and work with your stakehol, it’s not a problem.

New Training: Getting Started With Python 3

This %VIDEO_COUNT% video teaches SPOTO trainer Ben Finkel the knowledge needed to create professional-level Python code. Python is one of the most powerful and versatile programming languages for web, GUI, and game design.
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Python is one of the most versatile and powerful coding languages. This course will teach you how to use it. Python is a very readable programming language. The code and programs look like English, not computer jargon.
This Getting Started with Python 3 training will teach you the basics and show you how coding works. To learn Python, you don’t need to have any programming or coding experience. Tons of developers agree that Python is the best programming language to learn in order to understand future languages.
The %SKILL_COUNT%-part Series covers topics like installing and running Python, recognizing Python’s data structure and the basics of Python objects, and writing Python code through functions and statements.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
Introduction to Programming and Python
Introduction to the Python Language
Python Variables & Data Types
Python Operators
Python Basic Input and Python Basic Output
Python Conditionals and Loops
Understanding Python Strings
Lists and Dictionary in Python
Introduction to Functions in Python
Advanced Operations with Python Functions

This training covers the following topics:
Understanding Python Strings
Introduction to Functions in Python
Encoding strings with ASCII, Unicode and UTF-8
Installing Python 3
Basic Python Vocabulary

This training includes:
Training: %HOURS% hour
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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

New Training: How to Get Started with MX Firewalls

This 26-video entry-level training by SPOTO trainer Knox Hutchinson teaches network administrators how to configure, manage, and troubleshoot Cisco Meraki MX Security and SD-WAN appliances for the administration of campuses, distributed sites, or datacenter VPNs.
This Meraki MX training video is worth watching.
Cisco’s Meraki MX firewall appliances are among the most popular virtualization and security tools available. Network administrators who are willing to learn the Meraki MXs are needed by companies that invest in them.
These are the four skills that make up this training:
Cisco Meraki Cloud Networking Concepts
Meraki MX Appliances – LAN Connectivity
Meraki MX Firewalls: Advanced Security Features
Cisco Meraki MX Firewalls can be used to deploy VPNs

This series consists of four parts. It covers topics like setting bandwidth policies for different types of applications, filtering content and preventing intrusions, and automating VPN route generation.
Create Client VPN Users
VLANs and Addressing
Summarizing Meraki Firewall features
Set the Failover and Primary WAN IP addresses
Firewall rules for inbound traffic

This training includes:
1 hour of training
26 videos

You can watch a video from the series here:

Here are some additional security appliances-related content taken from the SPOTO blog.
Network Battle Royale: Cisco vs. Juniper vs. Check Point
Cisco Networks’ 6 Reasons to Rock
How does Cisco ACI compare to Cisco DNA?

Learn security appliances now!
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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

New Training: Azure Analytics Workloads Fundamentals

This 11-video entry-level training by SPOTO trainer Ben Finkel teaches cloud administrators the knowledge they need to manage and handle data analytics using the many resources and tools that Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI offer.
This Azure training video is now available.
Companies and organizations often demand a lot out of their data. While insights are important, they also need help making better decisions. Companies and organizations place increasing demands on the data that they have.
Simple queries and one-to-1 data retrievals can be a significant workload. However, when it comes to more complex analysis such as forecasting or predictive modeling, an analytic workload will be used. Analytic workloads can cause problems for the system that stores and runs the computations.
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start training. This Fundamentals of Analytics Workloads training demonstrates how cloud-based Microsoft Azure can make running analytical workloads not only easier but also possible.
This two-part series focuses on topics such as how analytics workloads differ from analytical and data warehousing. It also covers modern data warehousing such as Azure Data Lake and Azure Synapse Analytics. It also discusses ingesting and processing Azure data.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
Azure Big Data Components
Describe Data Visualization in Microsoft PowerBI

This training covers the following topics:
Data Viz in PowerBI
Building a Paginated report
Understanding Databricks & HDInsight
Understanding PowerBI Dashboards
Transform Data with Power Query

This training includes:
1 hour of training
11 videos

Start learning Azure today!

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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

New Training: Fundamental Cloud Computing Concepts

Bart Castle, SPOTO trainer, teaches you how to maintain a knowledge network and engage in conversations about cloud computing. He also explains industry trends and gives you the vocabulary to discuss business considerations.
This is the CompTIA training.
This course will quickly and easily explain what the cloud is, how it can be used, and whether your organization needs it. This might seem too simple or too complex for your needs. However, you might be surprised at the amount of confusion that exists in the business community about what cloud computing is, its limitations, and how it differs from traditional ones. This Fundamental Cloud Computing Concepts training will help you understand the technology and how to discuss it, regardless of whether you are a technical professional or not.
This four-part series focuses on understanding cloud platforms and their differences, as well as recognizing the unique challenges associated with transitioning from traditional IT into the cloud. It also identifies the different types of cloud such public, private, and hybrid.
Learn how to become a security expert with SPOTO’s Cybersecurity Training
Start trainingWatch a video of the series:

This series includes the following skills:
Explain Cloud Principles
Identify Cloud Networking Concepts
Identify Cloud Storage Technologies
Identify cloud survival patterns

This training covers the following topics:
Cloud Storage Features
Disaster Recovery
Cloud Networking Concepts
Cloud Storage Characteristics
Firewalls can filter network traffic

This training includes:
Training for 4 hours
29 videos

Get CompTIA certification today!

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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.

New Training: Full-Stack react Development

This 121-video training by SPOTO trainer Shaun Wassell teaches you how to code and develop websites and applications in ReactJS using the full capabilities of the front-end and back-end.
Full-Stack React Online Training
ReactJS is Facebook’s open-source JavaScript language. It’s great for creating scalable applications that can include dynamic inputs and static user interfaces. ReactJS is a front end application that allows you to create a framework that’s easy-to-update and develop for. This training will teach you how to integrate back-end functionality and develop into your ReactJS development.
Learn JavaScript, the language that makes ReactJS possible. You will also learn how to manipulate it to improve performance, make better use APIs, and scale and test your code. This Full-Stack React Development training will help you to increase your knowledge of JavaScript libraries and ReactJS.
This 22-part series covers topics like writing and developing applications on the front-end as well as back-end, scaling up an application when needed, and testing your code before it is implemented.
You can watch a video from the series here:

This series includes the following skills:
Essentials of the MERN Stack
MERN Stack Database Basics
React allows you to load server-side data
React allows you to create and modify server-side data
Firebase Auth Basics
Firebase Auth Account-Creation and Error handling
Advanced Firebase Auth Patterns
Firebase Auth in Full Stack Apps
Firebase Auth provides endpoint security
Firebase Auth can be added to existing React apps
… and more.

This training covers the following topics:
Store Note Data in a Context Provider
Protecting “Update” and Delete Endpoints
Automatically including tokens in requests
Auth Middleware
React renders Markdown

This training includes:
18 hours of training
121 videos

Learn Full-Stack React Development now!
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SPOTO offers everything you need to improve your IT skills and advance in your career: unlimited video training and Practice exams, Virtual Labs and validated learning with in–video Quizzes, Accountability coaching, and access to our exclusive IT professionals community.