The new Edge Chromium Stable release has arrived!

Microsoft launched finally the first Stable Release of Edge Chromium.

For home and private use: download the new Edge Stable Release here.

For enterprises: download your desired Edge Release here.

As I pointed out in my previous post Microsoft Edge Chromium, this is the next step in optimal Office 365 online work.

For more information on the roll out and the download options, see the recent Microsoft Blog Post Upgrading to the new Microsoft Edge.

2020-01-29 17_55_14-Download New Microsoft Edge Browser _ Microsoft

(above, screenshot from the download page)

 

Happy Office 365 Browsing!

Fun, fun and fun with Office 365

I recently came across a great video called “The Importance of Fun in the Workplace”, by Holly Cummins, and was totally pleased (I had fun) to realize this is what we need as a statement also for working with Office 365!

We need to have fun to work with tools in the cloud!

The idea of allowing yourself, your team and your organization does not stop with enjoying the company around you and the time at the coffee corner. As nicely pointed out in Holly her talk, having fun is also about what tools you use and how.

So what is important is that we allow ourselves and the people we interact with to experience working with Office 365 as a fun adventure.

My idea how to support yourself on having more fun…

Find out “what’s in it for me“.

I can not say this enough.

Do see a new application or the complete platform as an opportunity and find out what needs you have that can be improved with using some of the available apps and features. Be happy with these improvements, even if they are small and notice how this improves your daily work.

And if it does not, look for better apps and features. Let go of the idea “I always have been doing it like this, so I should keep doing it in this way”, especially when you are switching from file management on a file server and your local device to working with files in the cloud and on a local synced OneDrive. Embrace the freedom of auto-discovery and search with Delve, your SharePoint personal dashboard, the News features and the Search option where ever you are!

Microsoft Graph is doing a great job presenting you your work on a lot of locations.

Also the recent section in your desktop apps and the ability to pin your important files. Build your favorites dashboard in Delve (documents) or the SharePoint app (Sites).

So allow yourself the time to discover and look around and feel free to use what you need.

Start step by step.

There is no need to start working with all the apps and features at once. As is pointed out on several other blogs already, Office 365 is like a Swiss army knife. A lot of features to solve a lot of problems.

Focus first on where can you gain most out of using new tools.

Get some etiquette- aka rules of the game

Having a lot of apps and features can also mean the things get chaotic. So instead of panicking, we best start deploying some rules of the game on how we work best within our organization with certain apps.

A great example is a recently released post “Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams” by Matt Wade (AtBot / AvePoint). These etiquette rules of engagement will make working with Teams much more fun because they will avoid irritation moments by aligning everyone’s interaction where anyone gets what is expected.

Matt’s etiquette for Teams I would surely recommend as a starting point and template for other applications too. Adapt to your business needs if required for your fun!

Adapt, do not get desperate

If things are not going as you like, open your mouth and talk about it. Ask around for solutions and changes. Look around within Office 365 for better apps/solutions for your situation. The time you will invest will pay itself back by all the productivity improvements you encounter after your change.

Getting back your fun will improve your life and directly reflect the quality of your work in a positive way.

Be honest with yourself

A great friend, also a consultant, told me that he will only accept a job if he believes he will have fun doing it. And when it turns out the fun, for whatever reason, is being blocked by external factors, he steps out of the game.

Not everyone might be in the position to directly do it this way, anyhow we should strive to make our daily work, including working with Office 365 and all or some of it’s wonderful apps, a joyful – aka FUN – experience

Migration and Training

See for instance my posts Is it difficult to keep up with Office 365 continuous changes? , How to train internal users on Microsoft Teams and make them love it and Migration to Office365, to mention a few, and realize this is where the fun begins!

Fun should be part of the process and users should experience fun from the very beginning!

quote-business-leaders-take-things-far-too-seriously-and-forget-that-most-of-the-time-people-richard-branson-82-55-55

Have fun!

 

Is it difficult to keep up with Office 365 continuous changes?

In my opinion it depends a few factors and it does not need to be difficult:

  • Your mindsets towards modern apps and cloud based working
  • Your willingness to do short periodically checkups
  • Allow users to have me time to get updated and do knowledge update

I would like today to pickup on some blogposts going around noting that Microsoft is releasing new features and apps in a high tempo creating a conflict for consultants, users, managers and admins to keep up.

So yes, this is confusing if you did not adapt your mindset, whatever role you have.

Working with Office 365 / SharePoint in the cloud is not different than working with a smartphone. Apps come and go, while updates popup like mushrooms on a sunny day after a good rain. And we decide Everytime what we like and use.

In both cases you have the choice which apps to use and which not. Realize that looking at Word or Excel, a lot of users use only a small percentage of the features, bells and whistles these programs have been offering since the beginning while others found themselves more features that enhance their productivity and use them to a greater extend. Office 365 works the same way. Only on a bit bigger scale.

Start seeing Office 365 as a whole, and find the apps that are useful for you and ignore the rest or wait till you are ready for them based on your needs.

Keep yourself informed on a weekly basis is the key here. You do not need to spend hours on this, just check what’s coming soon and is new and think about if this can improve your work of the of others

And then give it a try!

Office 365 is focussed more and more on self management. Users, managers and admins can all independently determine what works and what does not. So users should also get the chance to have personal time to update their knowledge and skills.

Try to be less rigid as an organisation and use best practice pilot initiatives to support further adoption. As I said, see Office 365 as a complete platform and as with Word itself, some users use this and some use that.

As admins we have to make the full organisations understand this are not rigid programs anymore with a single working method. This are platform solutions with freedom of work.

This does not take away the idea to streamline the general setup across an organisation and as admins we can still manage a lot of central setting. But do not block to easily everything new. Instead find early adopters and make them part of the target release program.

So check the admin portal at least once a week and find yourself those early adopters for early feedback.

Encourage users to search for work improvements what will benefit all.

For consultants to say, hold back on making manuals and PowerPoint presentations!

Keep the info focussed on the ideas and logic behind Office 365 and use more live demo examples to show what it is about. You indeed do not want to spend half your time updating your screenshots and adapting your text.

Hopes this helps any of you finding your way in going along with the updates flows of this modern times.

How to train internal users on Microsoft Teams and make them love it

A question popped up in the Microsoft Teams user group recently around how to run an internal Microsoft Teams Workshop and also what to cover. Here’s a longer version of what I answered.

Prepping

For all workshop setups,

  • I create a dedicated Training Team and add all participants beforehand.
  • I also send around the link to the Teams app and ask the participants to install the desktop app beforehand.
  • Next to that I hint that they can also install the smartphone app if they want too.
  • The manager gets the topics list of what will be covered (see the topics list below).

How to run the Workshop

So far I have run the workshops in 3 different setups:

  1. One on One remote training via a Teams private meeting with video call and screen sharing from my side
  2. Remote group training via Teams group meeting with video call and screen sharing from my side – this works well for a small group up to 5 people
  3. Remote group training via Webex conferencing meeting and screensharing with 1 pc beaming the session on a big screen at the receiving side, audio call in with Polycom table conferencing module and everyone individually with their own laptop/pc with the Teams app open. This is the better option for a group of 5 – 10 people with a training/meeting room available.

For option 1 and 2 the training meeting is setup in Teams, for option 3 the invitation is created via Webex (this could be any other conferencing tool that suits the needs of the participants situation / conferencing room).

Workshop Style

The Basic workshop scenario is that I go in a relaxed playing style with the users through the list of topics listed in the next section.

During the complete workshop I ask for help to do actions going randomly through the participants but trying to involve everyone equally and sometimes invite all to repeat the action I just showed.

For me it is crucial that you include enough time to allow the users during the workshop to interact and try the features for themselves and see what’s happening. This high level of interaction is (in my experience) the way the users have much more fun in the training and remember much more, which has the added benefit of boosting the adoption.

When users start playing around with emoji and gyphy or post other funny comments, integrate this ad-hoc into your story. Use it and manouver the story back on track.

Also use compliments when someone takes initiative out of the context and get everyone back on track. Encourage people to explore the options and click wherever they find the 3 dots “…”, that’s where more options and features are to be found.

Here’s what topics to cover during the Workshop

  • Position Teams within Office 365 => combined functionality into a digital war room with persistent chat and a lot of extra’s
  • Group chat layers: a Team > a Channel > a Conversation > a Reply
  • Team and Channel creation – show where
  • Group Chat example – demo + let everyone try
  • Focus New Conversation vs Reply – demo + let everyone try
  • @ mention option – demo + let everyone try
  • Activity usage – demo + let everyone try
    • Filter option – demo + let everyone try
    • set as unread option – demo + let everyone try
    • notifications functionality – show and explain
      • by closing program and have the users do actions and then reopen
      • by going to another team and have the users do actions in the demo team/channel
  • Like button – demo + let everyone try
    • use like instead of all the small replies like “ok” or “nice” etc.. > keep it clean / idea of some house rules for best practice – explain
  • To be the point and leave all the formalities/drama away (no: Hi Martin Hamers, may I ask you something …) > keep it clean – explain
  • Bookmark items – demo + let everyone try
  • Advanced edit screen – demo + let everyone try
    • Subject
    • Important
    • layouting
  • mention other options
    • when users start fooling around with giphy, emoji and stickers I include this/remark to this in a funny way and (try to) move on with the workshop
  • Send email to Teams demo – demo + let everyone try
  • Copy / Paste / Attachments – demo + let everyone try
  • Files in channel – demo + let everyone try
    • show also auto created email subfolder
  • Open in SharePoint, folder per channel setup – demo
  • Copy / move files around – demo + let everyone try
  • Save attachment file from Outlook to Team group and move to channel folder – demo
  • Tabs – demo + let everyone try
  • Get links to team, channel, tabs – demo + let everyone try
  • Search – demo + let everyone try
  • Meetings – demo
    • Invite individuals – no channel – demo
    • Meeting with channel selection (everyone gets an invite) – demo
  • Show Files option left menu – demo
  • Show Planner integration in TAB – demo
  • Explain where news, tips and tricks can be found, as well within the own organisation as well on the web.

That is it very roughly.

Depending on the articipants and timing there can be room for bots and connectors and setup for owners.

Aftermath

After the training:

  • the training TEAM stays so the participants can look back there and continue testing
  • the training is reviewed with the manager
  • I propose the manager to start using Teams with a pilot real life use case based on what is seen and learned that workshop. This is often a review with the complete participants team and they suggest themselves a proper use case.
  • first review of the pilot use case after a month.
  • based on the outcome of the pilot a demo / announcement on the success story to the larger organisation or a new use case.

 

Note: My article was first posted as a blog post on the Collab365 community portal earlier today

 

A starting point on where to place your documents in Office 365

With all the options of Apps in Office 365 it can be very confusing to decide what document to store where exactly. There is no strict rule on this, exactly because Office 365 is designed to be used as fits you best.

CloudFolderTo make your life as a user or administrator more easy you could start with the following concept and build onwards/adjust from there.

       OneDriveFull       |        TeamsFull       |        SharePointFull       |        YammerFull

I did not visually work it out (yet) but as a starting point I use the following “ruling”:

OneDrive

  • Personal documents with incidental sharing (HINT: point the Windows My Documents to the local OneDrive sync folders location)

Teams

  • Team collaboration “work in progress”/draft documents (The digital war room principle)

SharePoint Team sites

  • Document archive and publishing to a larger team/ department/group of people (SharePoint Team site)
  • “Public” documents (Intranet site) / News page related (published) documents
  • Documents with a minimal archiving period
  • Documents with specific version management
  • Documents with publishing approval

Yammer (in case Yammer is actively used as an inter company social platform)

  • Documents with social info / nonwork related data – not important who does or does not read or can access the document – no retention requirements

This is only a guide so you can start working with documents within some kind of boundary concept with the benefit of “all faces in the same direction” group work.

Review this working method/policy within your group and adapt based on your experience and needs.

 

Have filing fun!

Testing and go with the flow

In the Collaboris Collab365 Teams Guest Group someone came with the question how to test new releases beforehand and first deploy to a test environment before activating it on a production environment.

So here it comes. Your production/live environment = your test environment. (Unless you have 2 Office365 tenants and can use 1 solely for testing)

what does this mean?

Go with the flow is what it means to be in the cloud.

So I can not test beforehand? Yes you can!

Lets see what Microsoft says about it…

“A good practice is to leave majority of users in Standard release and IT Pros and power users in Targeted release to evaluate new features and prepare teams to support business users and executives.”

Release validation rings for Office 365.

 ( from Set up the Standard or Targeted release options in Office 365)

Your Target release candidates you setup via the Office Admin Center > Settings > Organization profile > Release preferences > Actions …

  • Set Release Track to “Targeted release for selected users”
  • Set your IT pros and Power users as desired

2018-02-13 20_27_49-Targeted release for selected users

Combine this with keeping yourself up to date about what changes are coming up.

“For significant updates, Office customers are initially notified by the Office 365 public roadmap. As an update gets closer to rolling out, it is communicated through your Office 365 Message Center.” (from Set up the Standard or Targeted release options in Office 365)

When a new function or app can be shut off/disabled and I conclude its really needed due to circumstances, I prep to do so as soon as the update gets to the world wide standard release stage. (happens seldom I do so)

Mostly I just make sure to know what is needed for the available setting options and I am able to explain the new functionality to the users/organization.
What makes life easier is..

Get the organization to understand the continuous update logic of cloud applications and let them embrace it for it provides constantly new features and options to improve the daily work.

Site Collections

For the Classic SharePoint environment you can opt for the creation of dedicated Site Collections for testing, as playground and special development.
Note: You will need to consider here how you are going to move all your development work to your live collections ones your are happy with the result. For me I learned I better directly build my ideas on the place to be and regulate the audience from testing to go live simply via the permission settings.
Stay tuned for the next update 😉

Office365 Apps Adoption

Answering to the question I recently came upon asking for a “Teams Adoption presentation” the following came to my mind…
In my experience it is essential that there is some kind of “Real life use case Demo” included next to any presentation and best including the audience in this.

The DIY factor is very important.

Presentations on programs are boring till people can start clicking and trying themselves.
The same way as I decide to keep using an app on my mobile phone after I tried and tested it. The presentation of the app in the online store is mostly also just highlighting the basics/purpose of the app. I do not need 30 slides before trying it out.
A workshop with minimum of slides and maximum of actual role playing on a use case speaks more then a thousand words, so to say.
Find some early adopters/eager test users and include them in your use cases.
Quote from an article on adoption on the Avepoint blog puts it nicely together I think:

“Match up ideal use cases to teams that have also expressed a desire to work faster and in new ways. Capture success stories like the ones above and share them with the broader organization to drive more effective and lasting adoption. Making the journey of user adoption is as much art as it is science, so be flexible.”

Last but not least, make it a corporate event with full support from Top Management!

 

And because I am a lot into the Teams app here a 30 min. showcase video Microsoft Teams: Basics and beyond – that has a good wrap up of features you can include in your Teams Demo/Workshop.

 

Curious how your adoption is going to look like 🙂