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mail@UCSF Calendaring Best Practices

Mark Bering's picture

A number of customers have called in to report missing calendar appointments or meeting updates from someone other than the original organizer. This issue has been reported in a number of organizations that operate Microsoft Exchange.

This is a known problem if your organization has; Microsoft Exchange (2003, 2007, 2010), Outlook (2007, 2010, 2011), Entourage 2008 or Apple Mail/iCal, iPhones/iPads, Android OS devices and BlackBerries. In short, just about any large organization.

Usually, the Exchange service in and of itself is not the root cause of the problem. Desktop clients running Apple Mail/iCal, Entourage or Outlook 2011 and mobile devices (ActiveSync, iOS devices, Blackberries) and their connectivity protocols are often an integral part of the problem. Another cause of the issue can be traced to sync timing.  For example; someone accepts a meeting at 10:00am on an iPhone and their delegate declines it at 10:10am on a PC, but the iPhone is out of signal range and doesn't sync the meeting until say 10:30am. What happened to the meeting?

Currently, there isn't a solution for this issue. Following these tips can lessen the frequency of calendar event problems:

  1. Run the same version of Outlook on all of your computers, both at work and at home.  Mailbox owners and their delegate should be using the same version of Outlook with the latest service pack and updates on all computers that are used for calendaring. In a mixed environment of Windows, Mac or mobile devices, each platform should use the same version and each device should have the latest service pack and updates.
  2. Only one person should process meeting requests. Ideally you should have only one delegate, and no more than two. Other people that need to have explicit access to your calendar should be set up with calendar sharing permissions (the delegate permissions include send-on-behalf-of permissions) so that they do not receive unnecessary meeting invitations.
  3. Manage your calendar exclusively from Outlook or OWA. DO NOT accept, decline, modify or invite others to appointments from your mobile device.  You can create new appointments on your mobile device (appointments are calendar events that do not involve other people; e.g. a dentist appointment).
  4. Make sure your mobile device has the latest OS/iOS version.  Often new devices do not come with the latest version of iOS installed, be sure to check for updates BEFORE adding your UCSF email account configuration to the device.
  5. When changing an entire series of meetings, cancel the original meeting and create a new one.  To change one instance, cancel just that meeting and create a new one to replace it.  Always put an end date on a recurring meeting.
  6. A "corrupt" meeting remains corrupted until you delete it.  If it is a recurring appointment, delete the enitre series and reschedule it.
  7. For recurring meetings, Microsoft recommends setting the end date no more than 6 months.  For recurring meetings that need to go on beyond 6 months, start a new recurring meeting.