Switching apps dilemma, or not?

Someone send me the following ZDNet article “Survey confirms collaboration and the apps that come with it still suck – We’re wasting so much time collaborating and toggling between apps it’s a miracle any work actually gets done.”

The problem with this survey is that the loss due to the self-centered tools like email is not taken into account. The switching between tools, in my opinion, is compensated more than enough by the gain in team collaboration productivity.

It is also not surprising that it is exactly the older generation that cannot keep up and prefers to stay with the email client because the longer you are used to working a certain way the more difficult it is, in general, to change and start doing thing differently. Just human nature.

The strength of Office 365 is exactly what it is all under one roof and you are less and less switching because you are just moving around within 1 environment.

Office 365 apps are getting so integrated with each other that you can go start speaking about the One Office app. What we might now consider as all separate apps of Office 365 to switch between, are actually just different areas of the One Office app, where you do different things for different purposes.

 

This article fits with a statement put in one of the Collaboris community guest Teams channels: “one or several team members were heavily established in Outlook – meaning: the mail archive was the primary information repository for these members and they had a very large and detailed mail archive with folders, categories, automated rules, and more. For these members, the switch from Outlook email to Teams conversations equaled a loss of control over how they own and manage the information (an email in Outlook is personal – a conversation in Teams is collectively owned and cannot be tagged and archived individually like a mail).”

What we read here is the reason that blocks modernizing, knowledge sharing and enhanced productivity.

This is typical “me” thinking instead of “we”.

With personal inboxes info is not available for lookup by Team members(in case they were not in the loop of the email cycle). Keeping everyone in the loop by email creates a hog of emails back and forth. Also maintaining documents in your attachments as file storage is entirely not where your mail client was meant for.

So how do we break this line of thought and get people to understand the real power of One Office 365 and forget about the switching apps idea?

The what’s in it for US factor!

Another community post stated: “Have any of you introduced Teams into an organization that already uses Yammer & Skype? What experience or reaction did you have from your user base? My organization is not exactly tech-savvy and is only beginning to come to terms with Yammer and Skype šŸ˜„

I my opinion “coming to terms” should change to “embracing” what only works in case the “What’s in it for us” question can be answered by each user with a positive answer driving the user to want to adopt for the benefit of the entire company towards a more productive, enjoyable and efficient work environment, cost reduction and quality of work inprovement.

The focus should not on the need of an IT department to force the new tools on the users but to find the specific need of each user group and the organization that can be better full filled with using more of the capabilities of Office 365.
Especially in an organization with a very conservative attitude, this can be difficult. Here it is very beneficial to find yourself some progressive users that are eager to improve and get new tools and get them test and demo “best use cases” to the rest of the organization.

 

Lets embrace the One Office 365 app and start to explore how it can enhance our work!

 

See also my article Office365 Apps Adoption

 

Office 365 – The proper mindset, names and titles

I encountered several discussions within communities regarding the “issue” that Office 365 apps like Teams would get the new feature of making private Teams findable via search so users can apply to become a member.

The discussion point is that this way the title of the team could reveal information that the private team actually wants to keep await from the public and that’s the first reason why a private team was created (and not a public one).

Some suggestions raised where to have special display settings for administrators to make private teams visible or not, or to have some powershell scripts to hide private groups from the Teams search (in case this feature would come to light).

In my opinion, you are much safer to have a proper mindset. With Office 365 it’s so dynamic that counting on display settings and powershell is for me secondary.

I believe it also about awareness and education. Microsoft has always had the “show it all” concept. I never liked the idea that anyone can see all file share folders on a network drive even without having read access, but that is what it is.

Once you know you become much more careful with titles, the same now for private groups and teams.

So do not reveal your critical info in the names and titles of Teams, Groups, Sites, Lists, etc..

When I was part of a Research and Development team, we used for several projects code names only known to very selective people with NDA’s signed for secrecy due to customer requirements that it can not be identified by the rest of the organization where we are working on or prospecting for.

Taking your work seriously also means watching out for what you write down and where. Throwing it all at IT in case of information leaks because someone puts a “billboard” out is pushing away responsibility.

The reason I would like private groups and teams not visible is likewise with the old file shares, to have the views much more organized and cleaned up. The less you see, the easier you find back what you need and do have access to.

The release of the feature to have private Teams findable seems to be on hold for the moment, but this does not change my idea to think twice before you write something.

Happy name giving!

Microsoft Teams – getting organized and avoid posts overload.

Getting organized in Microsoft Teams is important as it basically is in all your work but specially handy when communicating with people in different time zones or working in large teams.

Your unread activity list can build up quickly overnight or when you are offline for a while.

So what can we do about it?

The organization here is a Team effort I believe and starts with actually using some basic features and taking some responsibility when creating a new post/reply.

1. UseĀ the title field and give the main answer/statement/summary as title like “I have chocolate cookies at my desk for free to take” in stead of “Anybody hungry?”. This way it is easier for anyone to decide the post is applicable or not.

2018-02-22 09_54_00-z. TEST CHANNEL (TEAM IT Global) _ Microsoft Teams.png Title use

2. UseĀ the Important button and only when it is really important,Ā but do use it when it is so others can give this preference.

2018-02-22 09_57_45-z. TEST CHANNEL (TEAM IT Global) _ Microsoft Teams Important

3. Do not @[user] when it is not really needed.Ā Similar to do not CC people in email if they are not really involved.

4. Properly use the reply button when replying and only start a new conversation when it is a new conversation, this keeps the posts much more structurized

2018-02-22 09_59_22-z. TEST CHANNEL (TEAM IT Global) _ Microsoft Teams Reply vs New

5. Use the like button in stead of adding new replies like “thanks!”.

2018-02-22 10_10_22-Microsoft Edge LIKE

6. Use the “Stop following” options for channels that are not interesting to you. This works also for auto posts created by apps.

2018-02-22 10_01_55-z. TEST CHANNEL (TEAM IT Global) _ Microsoft Teams stop following

7. Use the “save this message” option to easily find back your pending threats or reference texts.

2018-02-22 10_09_01-Microsoft Edge SAVE

8. Use the manualĀ Read/Unread optionĀ to mark your posts in the activity feed for later followup.

2018-02-22 10_01_55-z. TEST CHANNEL (TEAM IT Global) _ Microsoft Teams mark unread

It is a lot about etiquette and thinking also about the people that you want to read your post.

Working quick is nice but lets make it quick for everybody!

 

Enjoy and lets get organized!

 

 

 

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.

Ā ( fromĀ 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.” (fromĀ 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 šŸ˜‰

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 šŸ™‚

 

Migration to Office365

Hi, I am back with a short summary post on some thoughts regarding SharePoint migration from on-premise to Office365 (the cloud).

So here are some lessons and thoughts for you to consider:

You could make use of this moment and do a cleanup and do not just migrate everything.

Start fresh where possible with the new tools provided by Office 365 like modern site pages etc.
Then migrate only the data that is really still in use.
Keep the migration mostly to the data itself, less to the setup.

Avoid to much customization where possible with Office365.

In the cloud you best go much more with the flow of the Microsoft developments because you can not always choose for changes not to be applied and at some point they are pushed by Microsoft anyway.

Start with the basics like your intranet and hub pages, metadata and get your libraries and lists up and running again.

If you have complex workflows and InfoPath forms, reconsider them. Start with: the minimum we need is the maximum we get(start implementing). And work on from there in agile/scrum like sprints building with the new blocks provided by Office365.

The challenge in switching to Office365 is also in the user training.

Getting the users and yourself understand the dynamics of working in the Cloud, with constant changes, new features and access on all your devices is at least half of the success story.

Another challenge is Cloud performance.

You have to realize that with Office365 ALL YOUR DATA GOES OVER YOUR WEB ACCESS. This can really be an issue speaking from experience. Slow loading pages or lists is not uncommon and can make users irritated.

Also avoid putting to much time in creating your own manuals

Custom manualsĀ  get outdated before you know it. Go with the training documentation/videos provided on the web by Microsoft and the wonderful bloggers out there. Focus on a way users can easily find/go to this available and constantly updated information.

 

Hope this helps you plan your migration, enjoy and success!

 

Microsoft Teams Documentation and the Collab365 Teams Guest Users Group!

So here I am again with yet another bit of great info I thought of sharing with you.

Two items today: Microsofts own documentation page and the Collab365 Community Teams users guest group.

Microsoft’s own documentation page

Microsoft just launched a documentation page on Teams combining all the different documentation locations available regarding Microsoft Teams: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/Microsoft-Teams

2018-02-01 14_04_08-Microsoft Teams documentation and practical guidance _ Microsoft Docs - Internet

Collab365 Community Teams group

Under the slogan “Letā€™s learn Microsoft Teams together“, the Collab365 Community team launched an actual Collab365 Community Teams group.

Here you can test, learn, chat, discuss, get informed, give ideas,..etc by yourself together with all the other Teams enthousiasts out there!

Give it a try, I just love it!

2018-02-01 14_30_01-Collab365CommunityGuestTeamsPreview.png

 

 

Microsoft Teams is Hot!

On all fronts Microsoft Teams is generating heat: attention, excitement, development, requests, debate, ideas and here and there some frustration when the early adaptors are impatient on all the nice updates to come.

The main reason for all of this is that Teams is going to be THE (team) communication tool for Office 365 users.

It is not only about replacing Skype for Business as chat, phone and video tool, Teams is bringing a great amount of apps together under one roof. Integration of files, calendar and meetings and planner to mention a few. Furthermore extra features like bots and connectors to your favourite non-microsoft apps and data feeds.

No more scattered emails, no more going throught the chat history in outlook,Ā  document library at hand, private chat when needed and chat with non Teams users connecting to their Skype for Business.

Teams changes the total approach on communication and Team work.

With Teams access via the web, a desktop app and mobile apps you really can stay connected with your team in a very easy way.

Teams is up and running and you can start (considering it is included in your Microsoft license plan) with very little effort.

The first step is to just embrace what the app offers at this moment and simply start using it.

For me this was in the first place getting my team to install the desktop app for easier access and notifications and start doing all our team related communication entirely with the persistent chat function. Soon the installation of the mobile app followed and now being used as much as the desktop app.

My personal focus in using Teams is the basics of persistant team chat and discussing. And that is the beauty of it too, you do not need to start using all the bells and whistles.

Keep it simple in the beginning, start chatting, calling and have meetings. Discuss and share. In the end it is about the information and data communication, not about the tool.

Let the tool be the tool and Teams is a great tool that will only become greater.

A lot is going on regarding development and improvements. Yes there are so bugs to be solved. Yes there are other applications that have nicer features for the moment.

Just remember that it is Teams that is becoming central in Office 365 combining all the nice stuff and nothing is stopping you from already enjoying the ride!

 

Some handy links:

 

  • Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo – “Jump in and experience how teams collaborate when people, conversations, and content ā€“ along with the tools teams need ā€“ live together in one place.”

Getting started

Want to know what is coming in 2018?

 

and see my previous post with lots of other handy links regarding Teams and Office 365!

 

UPDATE:

Found this bit older but extensive post regarding Teams Governance:

Microsoft Teams Governance Planning GuideĀ Ā  (The Melihubb Hub)

 

Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s Information and feedback sites + special links for Microsoft Teams

This blog post will summarize some of the main sites provided by Microsoft towards end-users and administrators to find your way witin the Office 365 platform and its apps. This include the training and learning sites and feedback portals

So lets start the list. I included a dedicated section towards Microsoft Teams. My total vision on why Teams is the central future application I will do in a separate post but for now enough to say that Teams is combining several apps into a “persistent chat”-based central portalĀ and gets an enormous focus from Microsoft and from the users and administrators community. The potential of this app is great and changing the way of working landscape.

Microsoft Teams

(Microsoft Teams by Microsoft)

“Weā€™ve seen the impact that teamwork has had on our world, but what if teams could achieve even more? What if they had the space to be themselves, to share ideas freely and organically across geographies and generations?”

Microsoft Teams website

Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo – “Jump in and experience how teams collaborate when people, conversations, and content ā€“ along with the tools teams need ā€“ live together in one place.”

Microsoft Teams video training – “Using a chat-centered workspace”

Microsoft Teams YouTube video channel – “Getting Started with Microsoft Teams”

Microsoft Teams Tech Community – “Collaborate, share and learn from experts.”

Microsoft Teams UserVoice (Feedback) – “How can we make Microsoft Teams better?”

Microsoft Teams Documentation

Microsoft Teams Guest Access setup

and more on this excellent post of Matt Wade

 

Office 365Ā for the end-user

Periodic Table of Office 365 (TIP!)

Office Help & Training

Office 365 Training Center – “Learn how to get things done with Office. Find tutorials for all skill levels: beginner to advanced.”

Office 365 basics – video training – “Take your Office skills to new heights by getting back to basics. Create, edit, save online, and more.”

Tips for Office – “Discover tips to work smarter and get more out of your Office apps in the Office Training Center.”

Develop your skills – “Build your knowledge of Office with thousands of expert-led courses from LinkedIn Learning.”

Office Quick Starts – “Get up and running quickly with the basic info you need to be productive right away.”

What’s new in Office 365 – “As an Office 365 subscriber, you regularly get new and improved Office features. Take a look below to see what’s available to you today.”

Office 365 small business ā€“ training – “Training for small businesses and anyone new to Office 365”

User Voice – Customer Feedback for Microsoft Office 365Ā – “We love hearing from our customers. If you have suggestions for how we can improve, please share them with us here orĀ at one of the relatedĀ sites listedĀ on the right. While we can’t respond to every suggestion, we are committed to reading every post.”

Microsoft Tech Community – “Collaborate, share and learn from experts.”

Office 365 RoadmapĀ – “The Ā Office 365 Roadmap lists updates that are currently planned for applicable subscribers. Updates are at various stages from being in development to rolling-out to customers to being generally available for applicable customers world-wide.”

Microsoft Mechanics (YouTube) – Microsoft’s official new show to keep you up to date onĀ our latest tech.”

GetStartedSharePoint (YouTube)Ā – “SharePoint Online and Office 365 for enterprises as well as Office 365 for small businesses and professionalsĀ ”

 

Office 365Ā forĀ Administrators and Power Users

TechNet – Office 365 for IT pros – “Office Tech Center”

FastTrack for Office 365 – “Make your rollout of Office 365 a success. Speed implementation, drive adoption, and help users get the most from the premier cloud productivity suite.”

Office Admin center – The Office 365 embedded admin portal

Office 365 small business ā€“ training – “Training for small businesses and anyone new to Office 365”

Office 365 is in the end a Do It Yourself platform. Meaning the end-user is encouraged to install, manage and use the available applications included in the platform, like the user is used to do on a personal smartphone. Either when using the corporate Office365 platform out of the box or with some or more customizations the applications interface and features are promoted by Microsoft towards the end-users interaction and so it is mandatory that the same user can find up to date information on these applications and features.

These links should give you a good starting point in finding your way around Office 365.

Enjoy!

Collab365 Global Conference, the online place to be November 1st-2nd 2017

So you want to know more about the latest updates on Office 365 and SharePoint? No need to go out the door, join the Collab365 Global Conference on the 1st November 2017 for 24 hours of SharePoint, Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Teams and Office 365 content.

This is a great online platform to get informed and learn about the latest news, you only need to invest some of your time and schedule your online presence for this will be 24 hours of great and inspiring presentations.

“Collab365 – Microsoft Based Events”

Collab365 Global Conference Logo 2017

 

24hr Global Conference
Date : November 1st-2nd 2017

Register for Collab365 Global Conference on the 1st November 2017 for 24 hours of SharePoint, Azure, PowerApps, Flow, Teams and Office 365 content.

Everybody can join for free, beginner or expert, you all will find topics to your liking.

Enjoy and see you there online!

268x305_DOT_lectern_btn