blog.frederique.harmsze.nl my world of work and user experiences

April 30, 2020

10 Practical tips for conversations in Microsoft Teams

Filed under: New world of work,Office365 — Tags: , — frederique @ 23:56

Do you want to ask a colleague a quick question or give them a heads-up? Even though you are far apart and unable to just bump into them at the coffee machine? Then use Microsoft Teams to connect and have a quick conversation. Always handy, but indispensable now that we have to keep our distance and work from home during the Corona crisis.

Microsoft Teams offers us two functions for conversations:

  • 1-on-1 chat like we have (or some people by now: had) in Skype for Business. Anyone who has Microsoft Teams at their disposal can use this chat for ad hoc conversations with one or more people.
  • A ‘team conversation’ within a separate Teams environment: our digital office that you can create or request (depending on your organization’s policies) for collaboration with your team.

Let’s take a look at ten tips for such conversations in Microsoft Teams (with some associated “sub-tips”).

Tip 1: Use the chat for 1-on-1 conversations

If you really want to have a 1-on-1 conversation, open the chat section in Teams. Yes, in a Team conversation you can specifically address a particular colleague (by @-mentioning her or him -see below). However, all the other team members can see your message as well, if they happen to take a look in the Team. And yes, I have talked to enough people who were confused by this.

Tip 1a: Add a colleague if 1-on-1 is not enough

You can have more people in an ad hoc chat conversation. If the two of you can’t solve you problem, ask another colleague to join the chat via the ‘Add people’ icon at the top right of your chat.

Ad hoc conversations in the chat: 1-on-1 and you can add people

Ad hoc conversations in the chat section of Microsoft Teams: 1-on-1 and you can add people

Tip 2: Add audio and video to your chat

When you are tired of typing to and fro with your colleague, turn your chat into an audio call or a video call using the phone button respectively the camera button at the top right of the chat.

Add audio or video to the chat to talk directly.

Add audio or video to the chat to talk directly.

Tip 3: Ask your colleague if audio is convenient right now

DO NOT just click on the phone or video button when you feel like it, but ask your colleague if she thinks it is a good idea to have a call right now.

Maybe your colleague is at a very noise location or at a location where no sound is tolerated, so she has to move first. Or maybe she wants to grab a headset or a coffee first. Or she may already be in another call. And yes, I have been at the receiving end of such unannounced calls and they annoy me as much as phone , that always interrupt at a bad time…

Tip 4: Conduct conversations relevant for the team in the Team

Do you have a question about the project for which you have a Team? Or about work for the department that collaborates in a Team? Conduct that conversation in the ‘Posts’ tab of that Team, so that the other – current or future – Team members can also see what is going on. Also, documents attached to this conversation are stored in the right place: in the Team where you collaborate.

Tip 5: @-mention your contact in a Team message

Do you want specific colleagues to see your message, because they may have the answer to your question or may need to know what you explain? Then make sure you @-mention them: type @, start typing their name and select the right person.

If the entire team should see your message, @-mention the Team name. Or @-mention the channel, if it is relevant for everyone who is interested in the channel.

@-mention the person or group (e.g. the channel) who should see the message and respond.

@-mention the person or group (e.g. the channel) who should see the message and respond.

Tip 6: Do not assume your Team message has been seen without an @-mention

Too often I see messages addressed to me like “Hey Frédérique, can you help me with this?”. Usually I see those at least a week late, when I visit the Team to help somebody who did address me properly with @Frederique…

If you do not @-mention a person or a group, then you cannot assume that anyone has seen your message. Especially if these person do not frequently visit the Team because they are not used to the new tool (like the people I have bene training recently), or because they have way too many Teams to keep an eye on all of them (like me…)

Tip 7: Answer in the reply field, not as a new conversation

In the 1-on-1 chat you don’t have separate fields for responding or for starting a new conversation. But in a Team Posts, you should answer via the Reply field, so that the conversation remains in one piece. If you respond via the field that says “Start a new conversation. Type @ to mention someone.”, your answer may get separated from the question, when the conversation continues.

Reply in the reply-field, not in the field for starting a new conversation

Reply in the reply-field, not in the field for starting a new conversation

Tip 8: Made a mistake? Edit or remove your message.

Don’t post an additional version of your message. Just fix the original one, if you made a mistake. Or delete it and start again, to keep the conversation clear and compact. Click the … ellipsis (next to ‘Like’) to get these options. Please note: you can only edit or delete your own message, not somebody else’s.

Click the .. ellipsis to get the option to Edit or Delete your message.

Click the .. ellipsis to get the option to Edit or Delete your message.

Tip 8a: Can’t edit your messages? Change the Team-settings

The option to edit or delete your own messages is governed by a setting at the level of the Team. They should be enabled. If they are not, get a Team Owner to change the settings via Manage Team > Settings > Member permissions > Give members the option to delete/edit their messages.

The Team Owner should configure the settings to allow members to edit and delete theor own messages.

The Team Owner should configure the settings to allow members to edit and delete theor own messages.

Tip 9: Format important messages to make them easy to read

A message in Teams is not meant to be a fancy news article. But if the message is a longer, structure it with for example a bulleted list and key terms highlighted in bold.

Click the Format icon (the ‘A’) below the message field to get the edit options. Otherwise your message gets posted as soon as you hit Enter.

Tip 9a: Give important conversations a title

A title helps users to see easily what the message and then the threaded conversion is about, so they can assess quickly if it is important for them. The title field is also conjured up by clicking the ‘A’ icon.

Click the 'A' icon below the message field to format the text and provide a title.

Click the ‘A’ icon below the message field to format the text and provide a title.

Tip 10: Post a link to the document that you talk about

If you ask for feedback on a document or encourage your colleagues to check out your great presentation, attach the file to your message via the paperclip > Browse teams and channels. This way, people don’t have to search for the file that you are talking about.

Tip 10a: Upload the document before you post your message.

There is an option to upload the document while you are writing the message. But then the document gets stored directly in the channel folder, while you may want to store it in a subfolder within the channel. So if the core of my message is about a file, I make sure I store the file in its proper place first, before I start talking about it.

it does seem like the link from the message to the attached document survives if you move the document into a subfolder, for example. But I am not sure if it always works. In the earlier days, the link used to break if you moved or renamed the file, In those days I learned to think about where I put the file first…

Teams-Post-DocumentLinl]k-ann

Link to the file you discuss via the paperclip, so that your colleagues can open it directly.

March 31, 2020

12 Practical tips for online meetings using Microsoft Teams

Filed under: New world of work,Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 22:40

Now that many of us work from home, to avoid spreading the coronavirus and catching Covid-19, we are fortunate to have options to conduct out meetings online. We can talk with each other with the audio functionality, see each other with the video functionality and see our work with the screen sharing functionality of Microsoft Teams. Let us take a look at 12 tips based on our recent experiences, with some associated bonus tips. They are geared towards Teams-meetings, but most of them also apply to Skype-meetings or other online meetings.

1.Use Teams-meetings to meet online

In the organization where I work, we have both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams at our disposal. Skype-meetings are more familiar to many users, but we stimulate the use of Teams-meetings. The main reason right now is that Teams-meetings are more robust and stable, especially in these times of overloaded networks and systems. Microsoft Teams does sometimes “wobble” at bit: video gets stuck, presentations don’t load properly. But Teams still works better than in Skype. Some people are using free internet tools like Zoom, but those are banned within the company, because you pay for these “free” tools with your data…

2.Use a headset or other audio device to talk

To get good audio experience, you should use a headset instead of shouting at the standard microphone incorporated in your computer. You can hear better, but most of all: the other participants can hear you better. Without a headset, you also tend to get strange echoes. Many of my colleagues use the ear plugs that came with their mobile phones.

Back in the day when I could be in a meeting room with some colleagues, I often used a speakerphone to have a conference call with the rest of the team; that device picks up the other speakers as well. Right now, I am working at home by myself, so no other speakers to pick up. Nevertheless, I sometimes switch to this device, when my ears get tired of the headset: it has a smart microphone that focuses on my voice.

2a. Check your device seetings if your audio is troublesome

Did you plug in a headset but it doesn’t give you sound? Check the device settings and switch if necessary.

Check your device settings and select the correct audio device and camera.

Check your device settings and select the correct audio device and camera.

3.Mute your microphone

Make sure to mute your microphone when you are not talking, if you are in a noisy environment or if you don’t use a headset. This is particularly important if you are in a large meeting with many participants. The meeting will get very messy, when you hear the washing machines, children, neighbours with power drills or even just coughing from ten participants…

3a.Don’t forget to unmute when you want to talk!

It is easy to forget that you have muted your microphone or to “mis-click”. I am not the only one who has made some very intelligent remarks (well…) only to myself, because I had not unmuted my microphone properly. So unmute and check that you have unmuted before you tell your story.

4.Help each other

We’re in this together, so let’s help each other. Especially now that many people are forced by the coronavirus to conduct online meetings and use tools that they are unfamiliar with. For example, if you think colleagues may be talking to themselves because their microphone is still on mute, please remind them to unmute.

You can check whose microphone is muted in the Teams-meeting via the Participants button: the mute icon is displayed for participants with muted phone.

Mute and unmute your own microphone. And help your colleagues, if you suspect they are accidentally muted: check their microphone status via the Participants button.

5.Use the chat in the meeting

If you cannot talk, use the chat within the Teams-meeting to ask your questions or place your comments. The chat is the way to go, for example, if your microphone does not work, if the ambient noise is bad or if you are in a large meeting where things would get chaotic if everyone just spoke up via audio.

Microsoft Teams meeting chat

Microsoft Teams meeting chat

 

6.Don’t talk at the same time

The larger the meeting, the more you have to pay attention to “speaker management”. In a real life meeting, it is impolite and tricky to talk at the same time instead of waiting for the other participant to finish his or her sentence. In an online meeting, it is worse: the meeting becomes incomprehensible.

Use the chat to ask questions and give short comments. If the meeting is large and important, you should arrange for someone to moderate: keep an eye on the chat and pinpoint the items that need to be addressed via the audio, by the presenter or by the participant. The moderator can then give the floor (i.e. permission to unmute the microphone) to the right person.

6a.Mute all

Weird noises in your meeting from unmuted microphones? You can mute them all from the People pane. This option only appears if there are enough microphones open and there is something to be muted. Please note: everybody in the meeting who has the presenter role (the default for colleagues in your organisation) can use this ‘Mute all’ option.

Teams-Vergadering-Personen-Allen dempen-crop

7.Use video to support non-verbal communication

It is helpful if you can see each other, when you are talking. Especially if you are stuck by yourself, quarantined in your home, you don’t see anybody in real life and you are getting lonely. Switch on the video-option in the Teams-meeting and make sure your webcam is uncovered.

Please note: at the moment a Teams-meeting displays at most four video feeds: the person who is talking and the people who talked most recently. Microsoft is working on showing us more participants (see Uservoice). If you don’t want to see the current and recent speakers, you can also pin specific video image to your canvas, as a participant – this selection is only visible for you.

7a.Check your video image

You will see your video image at the bottom of the Teams-meeting, on the right. So you can tweak things like the angle of the camera, your hair and the lighting: avoid sitting with your back to the window or other light source, or you will only show up as a silhouette. And of course this video image will make it clear if you have forgotten to slide back the privacy cover your webcam.

7b.Switch off your video for discretion

Turn off the video, before you do something embarrassing (pick your nose extensively, put your underwear on the clothesline or in extreme cases go to the bathroom… no, I refuse to link to the YouTube video of the conference where that happened…). Just click on the video button again and check that your video image is no longer visible at the bottom of the screen.

8.Blur your background – update: or use a background picture

In a Teams-meeting you have the option to blur your video background (this option is not available in Skype-meetings). This minimizes the distraction for the meeting participants, and it hides the mess you in your room or the sensitive pictures that you don’t was to show your colleagues. You will find this option under the … menu > Blur my background. if you want to show something, you unblur it again with another click.

Teams-Vergadering-Videocall -Achtergrond vervaagd-a

Switch your video on and off with the video button. Blur your background for focus; only unblur it if you want to show something.

Update: Since April 14th, I also get the option to use a background picture instead of blurring my own home office. Microsoft offers a set of photos and paintings, so I can choose a nice and tidy office or a beach or the galaxy for example. At the moment, there is no button to upload my own images. But you can do that if you navigate to this folder on your computer: C:\Users\[you]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads (please note, most people don’t see the Appdata folder, so go there by entering %AppData% in the address bar.

Blur the background of my home office or choose a picture as my background

Blur the background of my home office or choose a picture as my background

 

9. Share your screen

If you want to talk people through a presentation, report or demo: share your screen so everyone in the meeting can see it. In a standard Teams-meeting or Skype, all colleagues from your organisation have the role of ‘presenter’ and the option to share their screens, but external participants can’t. Just click on the screen icon in the meeting toolbar and select the screen you want to share.

In informal meetings, I prefer to share my desktop as a whole, because then I can switch between applications and the participants can see everything I show.

9a.Share only a specific screen if you work with sensitive information

If you work with sensitive information, be careful of the screen you share. In this case, it is not safe to share your entire desktop, because you may inadvertently show a confidential document or a sensitive email message may land in your mailbox in full view. So share a selected screen, like your PowerPoint presentation or your report.

Share your entire desktop or a specific window or presentation

Share your entire desktop or a specific window or presentation

10.For larger meetings, separate presenters from attendees

In a regular meeting, everyone can take over screen sharing and everyone can mute all. If your organise a meeting with many and/or unruly colleagues, invite them as attendees with only selected presenters. See the overview of the roles in a Teams meeting. You will find the options for these settings via the link ‘Meeting options’ in the body. Then you can determine who can present: everyone, only you or specific people. You can only select colleagues from your organisation, you have already added to the invitation.

Please note: these options are different from the Skype-meeting options that you will find in the ribbon of a Skype- invitation. In Teams you cannot switch off the microphones and video cameras of all attendees beforehand. I you need to keep your attendees more in check, you should set up a Live Event.

Select the presenters via the link 'Meeting options' in the invitation

Select the presenters via the link ‘Meeting options’ in the invitation

11.Lighten the load for your computer and network

Especially video in online meetings does ask a lot from your system even more in Skype than in Teams. So connect especially when you have to present an important meeting: restart your computer if you haven’t done that in a while, connect the network cable (instead of wifi – and negotiate with your house mates that they don’t overload the network just now) and close all windows and activities that you don’t need in your meeting. Switch off the video if the meeting still falters, especially if you are sharing your screen and your face is therefore less important at that time.

12.Look business-like in video conferences

Some of us don’t make as much of an effort to look nice when we work from home. However, if you use the video, you should try to look presentable. Comb your hair, put on a somewhat business-like top (nobody will see your pyjama bottoms ???? ). And be understanding if things turn out a bit less business-like for a colleague, like in this BBC News interview.

Update: Troubleshooting tip to unfreeze Teams

Update April 28th: Teams froze on me a few times recently. But full disclosure: I was using my webcam with a background and… on a Windows 7 laptop. Is Teams frozen solid in your meeting and you can’t get any response? Then quit the application from your taskbar: right-click in the icon and then select Quit. Don’t just close the window, because then Teams will still be frozen when you restart it.

Quit Teams from the taskbar in Windows 7 (Dutch version) and Windows 10, to unfreeze the application

Quit Teams from the taskbar in Windows 7 (Dutch version) and Windows 10, to unfreeze the application

February 29, 2020

Online meetings organized in a Microsoft Teams channel: 7 gotchas

Filed under: Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 19:48

For the knowledge sharing sessions I help organise, we are using Microsoft Teams to allow colleagues to join online. These series are set up as Teams-meetings from Microsoft Teams itself, in a channel of the relevant Team. In this article, let us look at 7 things that struck me when we started with this approach.

1.Meeting series? Meet in a separate channel

In our Microsoft Teams where we host the knowledge sessions, we also share other information. To avoid a messy tangle between the knowledge sessions and the rest, we created a channel called ‘Webinars’ to host the online meetings and to store the associated chat.

We schedule the Teams-meeting from the Teams agenda as a series of recurring events, and select the channel where we want to meet.

Scheduling a new teams-meeting from the agenda in Teams: invite the Webinars channel of my Team.

Scheduling a new teams-meeting from the agenda in Teams: invite the Webinars channel of my Team.

2.Lost the meeting title and channel selection? Scroll up!

When I was setting up an invitation with a long description of the webinar agenda, I thought I had lost the meeting title and the option to select the channel where I wanted to host the meeting. As it turned out, I had scrolled down to reach the end of the description. And scrolling down, I had lost the top of meeting meeting form. Unfortunately, that was not very clear: you only see the scroll bar when you put your cursor on the right hand side of the window. So if you have lost some detail fields in your meeting form, check if you have to scroll up!

You may need to scroll up to see the fields displayed at the top of the meeting form

You may need to scroll up to see the fields displayed at the top of the meeting form

 

3.All Team members are automatically invited. But other can participate too

Everybody who is in the Team is automatically welcome in the Teams-meeting hosted in that Team. So we don’t have to worry that we forget to include someone in the invitations.

But people who are not a member of the Team can attend the meeting as well, if they get the link to participate. So if a team member forwards the invitation to someone else or if you publish the link on Yammer for instance, others can participate as well. I had not expected that: I thought a meeting organised inside a Team would only be accessible to people in that Team. But so far the link is working for non-Team members as well.

4.The meeting chat becomes a conversion thread: ongoing for recurring meetings

In our knowledge sessions, the chat in the Teams-meeting plays an important role, because not all participants can talk via their microphone. These chat messages can be consulted afterwards in the Team-channel: they are displayed as reactions in the conversion thread of the meeting.

For a recurring meeting, you have one ongoing conversion thread. The latest 15 posts are displayed, the rest is collapsed and need to be expanded (in batches).

5.The invitation does not always appear in everyone’s agenda. But there is a button

Unfortunately, we see that the invitation set up in Teams does not always become visible in Outlook for all members invited: some people do not get the invitation in their email and it does not show up in their Outlook agenda either, Not nice, because most people work from their Outlook calendars.

We have seen this happen for new Team members, who have joined the Team after the invitation has been sent. But recently we also saw this for colleagues who had been added to the Team beforehand. Or rather: they did not see anything appear in their Outlook.

Fortunately, if you do not see the invitation in your Outlook, you can add it to your agenda yourself. Open the invitation in Teams, from the channel itself. If the meeting is not in our Outlook calendar yet, you see a button Add to your calendar. If the event is already included in your Outlook calendar, this button is not visible.

Add the meeting to your calendar in Outlook

Add the meeting to your calendar in Outlook

6.You can specify who has to wait in the lobby and who can present

At least, up to a point. Once you have scheduled the meeting, you can edit it to tweak the meeting options. Note: I have not found a button for the meeting options in the form where you enter the details of the new meeting, so save it first and then edit to set the meeting options.

In a scheduled Teams-meeting, you can edit the meeting options.

In a scheduled Teams-meeting, you can edit the meeting options.

In the meeting options, you can determine who can bypass the lobby. By default people in my organisation can join the meeting directly, without waiting in the lobby. If often people from outside your organisation join and you are tired of admitting them from the lobby, you can set this option to ‘People from my organisation and trusted organisations’ or even ‘Everyone’.

You can also determine who can present, as opposed to attending only without permission to present a desktop for example. The standard option is that everyone can present, including people outside your organisation. You can limit this to only people inside your organisation or only yourself.

You cannot make specific people, other than yourself, presenters yet. At least, not directly. If you invite individual colleagues, you can specify who is a presenter and who is only an attendee. However, that does not work if you invite everybody implicitly, as a member of the Team. So if you want selected presenters, you need to invite these people as individuals. See also the Roles in  a Teams meeting.

The meeting options of a Teams-meeting

The meeting options of a Teams-meeting

7.Room invitations may get lost when you edit the meeting series

So now everything was arranged nicely for the online participants of our sessions, but we hit a snag in our arrangements for the on-site participants. We had booked a meeting room at headquarters, by inviting it in Outlook and verifying that the request had been accepted. But when we modified the first occurrence in the ‘save the date’ meeting series, to specify the topic of that meeting, we found that we had lost the meeting room after we updated it. Because we caught this issue in time, we could re-invite the meeting room fortunately, but it is still annoying. I am not sure where this is coming from, but I am sure that I will doublecheck the room bookings for these Teams channel meetings!

January 31, 2020

3 things that work well in Office 365 training sessions

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — frederique @ 22:15

Currently, I am involved in an adoption programme to help our users make Office 365 their own, so that they can take advantage of the toolkit and make their work more effective, more efficient and easier. We offer class room training sessions, in addition to things like information pages and webinars. Let us look at three aspects of this training that work well in our organization.

1.Training based on user scenarios

We don’t just teach our users to push the buttons in the Office 365 applications, what options there are and how they work. Our approach is to teach our users how they can perform their jobs better using Office 365. For example: to collaborate safely in construction projects, discuss plans, manage their team tasks, meet online to save traveling time, share their notes

And yes, this implies that we teach them how to use tools like SharePoint, Teams, Planner, OneNote and Yammer. But this way, the user can see what’s in it for them, and apply what they learn to improve their actual work.

2.Practical exercises in playgrounds

In these sessions, we have small theoretical part explaining about our business challenges and the cloud. We show in a demo how you can perform the user scenarios. But the main part of the sessions consists of practical exercises guiding the participants through the scenarios.

To facilitate these scenarios, we create for each session a playground Site / Team / Plan et cetera with sample content. Here, the training participants can do the exercises and explore, without risk. The playgrounds remain at their disposal.

3.Sessions per business unit

We are trying to improve the collaboration within the organization, so we want colleagues to learn together and to discuss how they can improve their particular processes. After all, our business units have different specialties and they have different challenges. And the people in that business unit know better than the IT guys from head quarters what is important for them.

We not only organize our training sessions per business unit, but we also tailor our sessions to the needs of those units. The basics of many scenarios may be similar, but the priorities are different as are the specifics.

December 31, 2019

Best wishes for 2020

Filed under: Digital Workplace — frederique @ 17:24

I wish you all the very best for the new year. Personal health and hapiness of course. But also all the best on your journey in the cloud and on your journey to help our innocent users improve their lives by adopting the new tools and taking advantage of the new possibilities.

The year 2020 is famous: many organisations had 20|20 visions and plans for this year. Then we were trying to see forward clearly. And we keep looking forward and moving forwards. With Microsoft’s continuing development of Microsoft 365 we are even accelerating. And at my client, we are also making progress with the adoption of the new toolkit by the users.

For example, we aim to achieve & explain:

  • A series of on-site training sessions for the local Office 365 champions.
  • The transition from Windows 10 to Windows 7. We already know that this will be quite a hassle, so I have high hopes for the new Edge browser, which could give our pour Windows 7 users a modern browser soon.
  • The transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. We are experiencing some hiccups in Teams: our videoconferencing tools don’t work with Teams yet, we need to configure the tenant properly and provide the required guidance. But in our experience, online meetings are more stable in Teams, so we will transition as soon as possible.
  • New templates in Modern SharePoint to facilitate formal projects. Standard Microsoft Teams is a nice application, but in these construction projects, we need sophisticated permissions, metadata and views, which requires a SharePoint template.

Happy holidays and best wishes for 2020

So we don’t have to get bored yet! On to the next year :-)

November 30, 2019

The importance of support for Office 365 adoption

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 22:04

Ok, this is valid for all new tools. But my nose is currently getting rubbed in it for Office 365. If we want end users to adopt Office 365, we need to make sure that they can get answers to their questions, get the tools they request and generally get the help they need. Quickly, easily and smoothly.

Too often I have seen initiatives supposed to promote Office 365 adoption only focus on training. They organized great sessions, trained a lot of people. And then they stopped. After these training sessions, the users wanted to get started and use the tools to make their lives easier. But then it turned out that no real support was available to help them, when they – inevitably – had follow-up questions.

In these cases, the training sessions were mostly a waste of everyone’s time, because the users got stuck and could not use the tools properly. And then they forgot what they learned in those training sessions, because they were not applying that knowledge. So we need to arrange for proper support.

Make sure the helpdesk knows how to deal with Office 365 questions

Preferably, the first line helpdesk people can already answer the easy questions. The more complex questions, they should forward to the correct team of second and then third line support.

So we need to – or somebody needs to – provide them with reference materials and training, so that the helpdesk can deal with all reasonable Office 365 questions. Not just once, but continuously: Office 365 changes, the configuration in the tenant changes, and new helpdesk employees come on board.

In theory, this is obvious. In practice, this is problematic… I have spoken to users who were desperate or furious or both, because they simply did not get the help they needed: For example:

  • Their question or request got lost somewhere in second or third line support and they simply did not hear anything from IT in ages.
  • The helpdesk told them that the tool was not supported. And that was for OneNote, a completely standard part of Office 365, which has been rolled out and officially included in our support years ago.
  • First line support looked into a synchronisation app issue with the user and concluded that they did not dare try to do anything. Instead of contacting a specialist, they just closed the ticket.

So we have to spend the time, energy, money or whatever is needed to get  and keep the helpdesk up-to-speed.

Recruit local Office 365 champions

Even if we have a fully functional helpdesk, it is advisable to have local Office 365 champions: colleagues who know the end users, who understand the end users’ situation and who can guide the end users to take advantage of the Office 365 tools to improve their particular processes. Of course these local champions become even more important, if the central helpdesk is not up to the task of helping the end users quickly and adequately.

Make sure the local champions have the support they need to help others

If we have a network of Office 365 champions, it is crucial that we help these people to help their colleagues. In our case, we allow these champions to bypass the ineffective helpdesk:

  • For general questions, they post them in a Yammer group where other champions can reply as well as the official Office 365 team.
  • For specific questions about, for example, individual SharePoint sites, they can contact the Office 365 team directly via a shared mailbox.

We try to limit this direct contact and promote the official support process. But we know that it is worth our while to help the champions: helping one champion means helping a whole group of end users who are supported by that champion.

Offer help materials with information applicable to our situation

Microsoft has many user manuals, quick reference guides and such. And some users just search the internet for answers. But those are not tailored to the situation in our organization. For example, these generic materials led users to believe that they could create their own SharePoint sites. But self-service site creation is switched off in our tenant. They need to create their sites from CRM/Dynamics 365 or request them from the helpdesk. We need to explain that to our users.

So we need make sure our users can the support they need. For without proper support, any Office 365 adoption programme is bound to fail

October 31, 2019

How we organize our knowledge sharing sessions – 15 practical tips

Filed under: Adoption,New world of work — frederique @ 23:54

For several years now, I have been organizing lunch sessions for our department at the consultancy company where I work (Macaw): as consultants, we share the lessons we have learned in the projects and we share our research. And now I am also involved in a series of internal webinars we are organizing for the Office 365 champions at a construction company, as part of a user adoption programme. Based on these experiences, I have gathered a list of 15 practical tips for such knowledge sharing sessions.

In short:

  1. Pick relevant topics and relatable speakers
  2. Plan ahead on a regular schedule: “save the date”
  3. Provide the details at least a week before the session
  4. Publish the schedule
  5. Allow people to attend online
  6. Set up the online session carefully: mute the participants for large audiences
  7. Explain how it works beforehand
  8. Prepare the session. Does it still work as expected?
  9. Hook up half an hour before it starts
  10. Arrange for a host / moderator
  11. Don’t forget your online audience
  12. Make a recording
  13. Follow-up immediately afterwards: links to the materials
  14. Follow-up on questions soon afterwards
  15. Ask for feedback and improve continuously

Let’s now take a look at the details…

1.Pick relevant topics and relatable speakers

At the moment, the webinars for Office 365 champions that we are organizing are still rather “top down”: the champions haven’t had much training yet, so we tell them how they can use Office 365. But the people presenting these sessions have been working at that company for at least a year, so we know what challenges they face. Many of them already know us, and they know how to contact us.

We pick topics that people have often asked about, for example: how can you make your life easier by organizing online meetings, managing your personal files in OneDrive for Business, sharing notes in OneNote. We do not present a specific Office 365 tool and explain the buttons, but we start from a business scenario and show how to do it using Office 365.

At a later stage, we hope to invite some of the champions to show how they use Office 365 tools, their real-life examples of solutions that could be applicable for others too. This would be even more relevant for the others in the company than a story from “the IT guys at headquarters”.

We also keep that in mind in our own lunch sessions among consultants. We want to share knowledge. Not listen to sales pitches that have no relation to our work. Usually one of our colleagues shares her or his findings. Sometimes we have a guest speaker from another department or from a partner company. But when we invite a guest, we always stress the fact that we want to talk about the real experiences and challenges. Not the glossy sales brochure.

2.Plan ahead on a regular schedule: “save the date”

As soon as we announced our plan to organize a series of webinars, people started to ask if we could please schedule ahead, so that they could save those timeslots in their agendas. And they asked if we could please commit to a regular schedule, the same day and the same time, to make it easier to plan around the webinars.

Also important: book a meeting room at the same time, so that you know you have a place to set up and conduct your session. I’ve had trouble a few times with the first session of a series, when I was already too late to book my favourite room…

It took some trial and error to come up with the final day and time for the webinars: Tuesday afternoons, 13:00-14:00. We scheduled the first session separately, to gauge the response. That first timeslot turned out to be too late for a significant number of people. We had not done a poll or checked everyone’s agenda’s beforehand, because we invited 180 people and that would have taken ages… So we explicitly asked the invitees to give us feedback on the proposed time and then we finetuned based on their feedback. Once we were sure of the optimal timeslot, we send them a recurring invitation for the rest of the year.

These webinars for Office 365 champions, as well as the lunch sessions we have amongst ourselves as consultants, take place every other week: often enough to have a steady flow of knowledge sharing but not so often that it becomes a burden for the organizers as well as the attendees.

3.Provide the details at least a week before the session

Immediately after we sent the ‘save the date’ invitations for the webinars, people asked when we would give them the details on the subject and everything else. Even though we had told them in the ‘save the date’ invitation that we would make it more specific a week before the session. So I suppose this was really important to them…

We do not have a fixed programme for the webinars, because we want to talk about the subjects that the Office 365 champions want to learn about. We have asked them in a poll in Yammer, we ask at the end of the webinar and we ask around in general. But we make sure we decide on the details at least a week before the session, and we update the invitation.

I have to admit that for the lunch sessions between colleagues I am often late with the invites. But that is a much smaller group, of savvy and seasoned colleagues. They can handle the uncertainty better than  the large group of Office 365 champions who are still finding their way in the world of Office 365 and the newly launched adoption programme.

4.Publish the schedule

For the webinars, we have sent all the people on the Office 365 champions list an Outlook invitation. Similarly, my colleagues have received an invitation for our lunch sessions. But other people may be interested in joining; these knowledge sharing sessions are not secret. So we:

  • Publish the schedule for these sessions in a calendar on SharePoint. In Modern SharePoint, users can then add an event from the calendar to their own Outlook agenda.
  • Post a message in Yammer, announcing the event and encouraging people to request an official invitation if they want to be included in the Outlook invites. With of course a link to the SharePoint item that has all the details.
SharePoint event calendar and event details

Events calendar in Modern SharePoint. You can add an event to your own Outlook calendar.

5.Allow people to attend online

Of course it is great to join in an on-site meeting, to have some coffee together, catch up and share knowledge. However, physical meetings are difficult to schedule if people are working in different locations: we cannot spare the time to get together often enough. Fortunately, we can have online sessions with Skype for Business and now Microsoft Teams.

The webinars we organize for the Office 365 champions are online only. We conduct them in Skype for Business. Yes, we know that Skype is old school and will soon be replaced. But at that company Skype for Business is still the primary tool for chat and online meetings, the video conferencing rooms are tuned for Skype, so that is what we use for the webinars too. Later we will transition to Teams live events.

Our consultants lunch sessions are hybrids. Usually half of the participants are at our offices, together in a meeting room. And the other half joins online, via Microsoft Teams. The presenters try to be present at the office. But quite often that is not possible and the session is presented remotely.

6.Set up the online session carefully: mute the participants for large audiences

We have our consultants lunch sessions in a regular Teams meeting and the participants make sure they mute their own microphones. That works just fine, because usually we have about 20 participants and they are all savvy and used to online meetings.

But for our webinars we invite 180 Office 365 champions, who are not yet fluent in online meetings. We know that we won’t see everyone in each session, but we usually see 50 participants logged into the meeting and we know some people join as a group in a meeting room. We don’t want to hear all of these participants talking all at once in our session. So we set up the Skype-meeting with some options:

  • Select the presenters. All the others in the session are attendees
  • Mute the attendees. Only the presenters’ microphones are active
  • Disable video for the attendees. Only the presenters are visible on video. The main reason is that we are experiencing some network issues and we don’t want to overload the line. In addition, this avoids potential privacy issues, if the participants don’t like their video recorded.

The attendees can ask their questions and add their remarks via the chat. So we were very careful not to disable the chat in the Skype meeting options…

7.Explain how it works beforehand

We invited our Office 365 champions to a webinar in Skype for Business, when they had not received any training in that domain yet. Actually, our first webinar was about online meetings. But we had enough experience with our users to know that not all of them would immediately grasp what they would have to do to participate in the webinar where they would learn everything…

So we did the following:

  • Create a Quick Reference Card and help pages detailing how you can participate in an online meeting.
  • Include in the invitation text a summary of how to join an online meeting, including the tip to use a headset for better audio, with links to the QRC and help pages. Also that their microphones would be muted an that they can ask questions via the chat.
  • Include a screenshot of the chat on the start slide of the presentation, so that people could see where to ask for help if their audio wasn’t working.
  • Explicitly state in the invitation and on the start slide that we will be recording the session, including the chat. This is important for privacy reasons. Our privacy officer was very clear on the point: we can only include the chat, which displays the names of the users participating in it, if we have clearly stated beforehand that we would do so.
Sart page webinar slides,  with screenshot of the Skype-chat in the meeting

Start slide of the webinar presentation (in Dutch), explaining how to ask a question via the chat

8.Prep the session: does it still work as expected?

The more formal the session, the more carefully you’ll want to prepare it and make it fool proof. Our internal lunch sessions between colleagues are quite informal and small scale. We don’t need to prep each and every detail of a demo, because our colleagues will understand it anyway. For the more formal webinars, where it is important that a large group of untrained people understand what we are presenting, it is even more important to prepare thoroughly:

  • Slide deck with an introduction and summary slides listing what we will demo demos.
  • Smooth demo script. Determine a scenario that clearly demonstrated your point: what you should do and tell, and where you should click.
    Is this a scenario that you have demonstrated before? Then it is important to check shortly before the session that everything still works as expected. In Office 365 in particular, things just change… 
  • Clean demo environment. For example: clean SharePoint site or Microsoft Teams environment with demo content, a OneNote notebook with demo content showing of the mail features, a clean set of synchronised SharePoint libraries and OneDrive folders in Windows Explorer (clean it up beforehand…). A test folder in Outlook, so that you don’t show your real email. Set your Outlook agenda to show only today, so that you don’t show your entire agenda. Close all applications and browser tabs that you don’t need. Open the applications that you need for your demo scenarios.
  • Shipshape computer, connected to the power grid and network. Reboot it in time beforehand, to make sure it doesn’t start talking about updates or freezing because it is getting overloaded during the presentation.
  • Mute your phone and make sure your Skype  / Teams is set to “Do not disturb”.

9.Hook up half an hour before it starts

Even for our informal lunch sessions, we always book the meeting room half an hour early and start hooking it all up. This way, we can solve any remaining issues before the official start, to avoid wasting everybody’s time

  • Does the beamer or screen in the meeting room work?
    If your session is online-only, you don’t have to worry about this. But if (part of) your audience is on-site, you need to reserve enough time to hook up that screen. Too often the cables are missing or the remote control is not working or the lamp has blown up or something. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong with these things…
  • Can you open the online meeting in the meeting room?
    This often causes problems: you need to invite the modern conferencing tools directly in the same meeting, otherwise the tool won’t recognize the meeting.
  • Is the presenter’s shared screen visible?
    Can the participants see the presentation slides and the demo environment? This can be messy if you want to demo something on a different laptop, or if you are working on multiple screens.
  • Does audio work and can the participants hear the presenter clearly?
    This often goes wrong. Sometimes the presenter’s audio device does not connect properly. And sometimes some of the participants can’t hear anything (Is the sound on your computer switched on? Try leaving the meeting and re-entering)
  • Is the video working?
    And do you know where the camera is, and is there not too much garbage in sight of that camera?

10.Arrange for a host / moderator

The presenter is busy talking and showing a demo. In an on-site session, it can be handy to have a moderator, who keeps an eye on the audience and on the time. In an online session, a moderator is indispensable. When I present a webinar that has to be just right, I even like to have two colleagues assist me:

  • Help to hook it all up
    It is very helpful to have an on-site host who can help hook up the screen and everything, particularly if the presenter is online while part of the audience is on-site in a meeting room, or if the presenter is inexperienced. This host also rounds up the on-site participants who are still loitering at the coffee machine when we want to get started and closes the door.
  • Start and stop the recording
    If the presenter it too immersed in the story to remember, the moderator can take care of these practicalities.
  • Moderate the chat
    In our webinars, the chat is the only way the attendees can interact with the presenters and each other. Answer individual questions and determine which questions should be addressed by the presenter. We have had some very lively chats in webinars, where the moderator was glad to get some help from a second colleague…
  • Act as demo partner.
    When we demo Office 365 functionality, we often want to show interaction: when we talk about online communication, you need to see someone responding to my chat message; when we discuss collaboration on notes, you need to see someone else typing on the OneNote page I am showing. Preferably two different people, to make the scenarios richer.
  • Keep an eye on the shared screen and audio
    If for some reason, the shared screen is no longer visual or the audio drops off, somebody has to notify us quickly. I like to have a colleague monitoring the session from a different room or wearing a headset. The moderator usually is in the same room with me, and he won’t notice if the audio disappears…

11.Don’t forget your online audience

Having an online audience is more tricky than an on-site audience that you can look in the eye. It is even more tricky if you have an on-site audience in the room with you, as well as an invisible online audience. You need to be careful that you take into account what your invisible online audience experiences.

  • Before you start, check if the online audience can see and hear you
    Preferably before the official start of the session, but in any case: don’t just start talking before you know that you will be heard.
  • Only point with your cursor
    Don’t point with your finger at the screen, wave your hands or otherwise use gestures.
  • Don’t walk away from the microphone.
    When I present for a live audience, I tend to move around. This may mess up the audio experience for the online audience, if you are not hooked up to a portable microphone. It is better to sit down and stay near the fixed microphone.
  • Move your cursor slowly
    The online tooling (Skype or Teams) cannot keep up with fast movement, especially if the network is slow.
  • Allow time for questions and ask if there are any
    When you are in a meeting room, you will notice that people look puzzled when they get lost. You don’t know if your online audience is still alive, unless you ask them. So include a short break between sections of your talk or demo, to ask if there are questions about what you just showed.

For me, the advantage is that the webinars for the champions are online only. And our lunch sessions among colleagues usually have at least have of the audience online (and I almost always join them online myself…). That makes it easier to remember the online audience, and we optimize the sessions for an online experience. However, I have experienced in other knowledge sharing sessions how bad it can be for online participants: sessions where they forgot or did not manage to hook up the audio, organized in a meeting room where you could not hear the questions from the audience in the room, where the presenter was pointing at things we could not see… Very frustrating…

12.Make a recording

There are always invitees who would love to participate in your sessions but who cannot make it at the scheduled time. And there may be participants who would like to hear & see the session again. Fortunately the Office 365 tools for online meetings (Skype for Business and Teams) allow you to make a recording of the session.

You can then publish the recording. The best place in Office 365 now is Stream. We have a Stream-channel for our webinars. At Macaw we also have a channel for the recordings of our lunch sessions.

Make sure the participants know you are making a recording and publishing for anyone in the company who wants to see it – that is the default for knowledge sharing. In a webinar, you only hear the presenters and only see a video of the presenters. But, at least in Skype, the chat is also included in the recording and there you see the names of those who participate in it.

13.Follow-up immediately afterwards: links to the materials

Participants often like to check back the presentation, watch the recording again, share it with colleagues, take action on what you mentioned. And often they cannot find the materials easily by themselves. So make sure you follow up on the session with links to the relevant materials, preferably as soon as possible, on the same day. We do the following after our webinars.

  • Publish the recording in the appropriate channel in Stream.
  • Publish the slide desk on the information portal about Office 365, on the page that also links to the webinar channel in Stream/
  • Post a link to the slide deck and the recording on Yammer.
  • Send an email to everyone I the Outlook invitation, with links to: the recording, the slide deck, the Yammer group where they can ask further questions, relevant help page in the information portal.
    Yes, email is very old school, but we want to make sure that everyone has the information at their finger tips and we know that for many people email is still the best way to reach them. Many of the participants have asked if we could please email them the links to the recording and the slide deck. We will try to wean them off email later…

14.Follow-up on questions soon afterwards

We try to answer as many of the questions as we can during the knowledge session. But there are always some questions cannot be answered right away, because we are running out of time or because they are too complex.

At Macaw, we know where to find each other in Teams or in Yammer, so we post our follow-up there. The Office 365 champions at the construction company do not have these reflexes yet. However, we try to reach them via a Yammer group, which we promote at every opportunity. We post our answers in that Yammer group, so that everyone can see them and respond to them.

The key bottleneck is that we need to make more time to take note of the open questions from the chat (we copy the chat history into the OneNote notebook of the adoption team), figure out the answers and post them. It all takes time and energy, but it is important that we follow up and not leave our participants with open questions.

15.Ask for feedback and improve continuously

As always, nothing is carved in stone. Situations change, insights change. And there is always room for improvement.

Especially with online webinars, where you don’t look the audience in the eye, it is important to ask for feedback. Are we talking about topics that are relevant to them? What do they want to hear about? Do they like our approach? Is bi-weekly the right frequency? Could they understand the explanation or was it too fast? Did they learn anything new or was it too slow and obvious?

So far, we have successfully held a poll in Yammer, asked the participants in the webinar chat and asked individual participants one-on-one afterwards. Our general request for feedback in Yammer did not yield much; maybe people don’t want to commit themselves in public. At a later stage, we will set up a survey in Microsoft Forms.

In any case, we will keep organizing our knowledge sharing sessions, and we will do our best to keep improving them.

September 30, 2019

Some tips for respecting the privacy regulations in project sites

Filed under: Governance,SharePoint — Tags: , — frederique @ 22:36

Recently, I have been talking about GDPR in the context of SharePoint project sites for a construction company building houses. What practical design choices should we make for the new SharePoint template we are developing, combined with instructions to our users? Let us take a look at five of them.

In a previous post we talked about the Office 365 security and compliance GDPR dashboard, that can help us detect and manage sensitive information after it has been stored in our Office 365 tenant. But it is better to think beforehand and aim for privacy by design. We should only store and process personal data if we have a clear purpose for it. And only for the people who do need these data, for as long as they need it.

1.Don’t use personal data if you can keep it abstract

In their building projects, the houses are bought by real people, who have real personal data. In the project site, information has to be shared about the construction of the individual houses: which kitchen options should be included, what work remains to be done for that house, et cetera. However, there is no need to refer to these houses by the names of the buyers.

So we don’t list a house as the one bought by Mr and Mrs Smith, but at the house with building number 32. And we explain to all users that we avoid using personal data unless it is absolutely necessary to get the job done and we can justify sharing these personal data.

2.Put documents with personal data in a clearly marked, separate, secured library

We do have some cases where some project team members do need to see personal data in order to do their jobs, like commercial team members who need to talk to the house owners and renovation architects who need to see photos of the original rooms the may display personal belongings.

So we have a separate document library for the house owner documents, which is clearly marked as such. That library is listed in the site menu under the heading ‘Sensitive’. And only the project team members who need to use these data have permission to enter the library. We explain to our users where they have to store and find these documents, and that if they don’t see the library, they do not have permission to open it.

3.Only share the personal details that are needed, nothing else

We have a secured list of the contact details of the owners of the houses that are being built, so that project members who need to get in touch with these people know how to reach them. In the past, that list also included fields to share information about the spouses, children, hobbies, et cetera. Somebody got inspired by customer relationship management and got carried away… That information is quite irrelevant for the construction job.

So we trimmed down the list in our site template, to contain only the fields relevant for the job. This way, our users understand that they should not include other personal data.

4.Only allow individuals to access personal data. Not AD-groups

In parts of their project sites, all employees in the business unit or even all employees in the company can see the information. For example, the basic project information is visible to all, for transparency in the organization. For these “high visibility” lists and libraries, access is managed by way of AD-groups that include everyone in that unit. However, you cannot easily see who is part of that “everyone group”.

So in lists and libraries that contain personal data, we do not allow security by way of AD groups. We tell the site owners that they have to add individual users to the SharePoint permission groups, to explicitly and purposefully give those people access.

5.Delete personal data no longer needed after the project

After the building project is finished, some personal data may be needed by the aftercare people. But we should not keep personal data just in case somebody may be interested in them someday…

So we remove the permissions on the personal data for the users who are no longer involved in the finished. And we delete the personal data that do not have to be kept for a clear purpose. For example, we need to keep the data of the companies involved as subcontractors, but we do not need the phone numbers of the individual people. So we keep a companies list for the project relations, but not the people contacts lists.

 

All in all, we are baking some privacy measures into our SharePoint template for construction projects. We are giving the site owners and end users specific instructions. And we are creating awareness, that we need to be careful with personal data.

August 31, 2019

Careful with Modern SharePoint on old browsers and Windows

Filed under: Digital Workplace,SharePoint — Tags: — frederique @ 23:14

At the client where I am working at the moment, most users have Windows 7 and the standard browser still is Internet Explorer 11. We are starting with the Modern experience of SharePoint Online, And that is not a good combination.

The Modern experience of SharePoint is quite powerful. For example, our users are clamouring for the functionality to download multiple files in one go. In the Modern interface, the Download button does work like that; in the Classic experience it does not. But Modern SharePoint does not work smoothly in Windows 7 in any browser and works badly with Internet Explorer 11 (IE11).

So what can we do from IT?

Keep up to date

Of course the key thing is to provide users with a modern version of Windows, in this case replacing the antiquated Windows 7 with Windows 10. We all need to upgrade anyway, because Micosoft announced Windows 7 support will end on January 14, 2020.

This obviously is not easy in a large company with many legacy applications. But we can no longer get away with leaving a fossil Windows version on everyone’s computers…

Allow a browser that does work

Internet Explorer 11 is terrible with Modern SharePoint, as well as many modern websites You cannot get Edge on Windows 7. So you have to allow users to use another browser, like Chrome or Firefox.

Even if you insist that the official standard browser is the old school Internet Explorer 11, make sure you have a consistent story for the alternative: which browser should they use, in which situations. Especially if the company has doubts about the security of a browser like Chrome. Ok, then tell us what we should use.

Plan the roll-out of Modern SharePoint carefully

Don’t push the Modern experience of SharePoint while the users are still on Windows 7 and Internet Explorer if you don’t have to. If they are already using SharePoint in the classic mode, keep it until Windows 10 and a modern browser has been rolled out.

For example, we are currently updating a project site template for one of our units. Our key users were very clear on it: we keep it classic. They have many innocent users, who won’t be able to handle the bad experience with the Modern version on the old computers. We will transition to Modern some time next year, when everyone has Windows 10 and a reasonable browser…

What can the end-users do?

Switch to a different browser when IE11 does not work

As long as you don’t need support from somebody who adheres to the official story of Internet Explorer as the standard browser, switch another browser (like Chrome of Firefox) for some tasks. In particular, editing site pages in a Communication site.

Switch to the classic view when the modern does not work

In document libraries and lists, you can switch back to the classic view if the modern gets stuck. The views tend to be “sticky” when you expand a group for example. This trick is useful for people who have worked with the classic SharePoint and who don’t mind experimenting with views. I know I use it from time to time..

Link to return to classic SharePoint from a modern library

Link to return to classic SharePoint from a modern library

Enter metadata via ’i’ > ‘Edit all’

In classic SharePoint, conscientious user uploading a document filled in their metadata in a dialog box presented automatically as step 2 of the upload. In modern SharePoint, the user no longer gets prompted to fill in the metadata in such a dialog screen. Even if some fields are required, the uploaded document just lands in the library, The fields that are required are marked with an orange ‘Required info’ label though.

You then need to select the document and click on the I-icon to set the metadata. In the pane that opens on the right hand side of the screen, you can enter the metadata directly. However, the fields in these panes are “sticky”. Sometimes, the value you enter does not get saved… If you want to enter several fields, it works more robustly if you click ‘Edit all’.

To enter metadata, select a document and click the i in the top right corner. To make sure the metadata are properly saved, click Edit all.

To enter metadata, select a document and click the i in the top right corner. To make sure the metadata are properly saved, click Edit all.

 

July 31, 2019

Microsoft Teams first steps and lessons learned in real life

Filed under: Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 23:56

We have not rolled out Microsoft Teams yet, but we have started some pilots. In these first steps, we have learned a few lessons about how the tool lands in the organization in real life. Let us take a look at five of them.

1.Word of mouth from the early adopters works

Some of our users are quite savvy. They had found out about Teams, wanted to try it out and were very enthusiastic about it. And they talked about it to others. The result was that those others also started clamouring for Teams.

So: start with a small group of eager early adopters. Make sure they know it is a pilot, if you haven’t set up the configuration and the support system properly yet.

2.Innocent users don’t want yet another communication channel to check

When I introduce Teams to users who were not already interested in the new tool, the first reaction is usually something along the lines of: “I already have my phone messages and Outlook and Skype and SharePoint and Yammer. Are you telling me I have to keep an eye on yet another tool to stay up-to-date?”

So: explain that they can get a notification when something relevant happens in Teams. And teach everyone to @-mention the person who should answer the question or give them feedback. Keep reminding the users of this; ask the Team Owners to do so as well . And explain that Teams will replace Skype for Business.

3.The terminology confuses people

We have Microsoft Teams with a capital T for teams with a small t. And people when ask for a ‘team site’ for their team, we need to check if they are talking about a SharePoint team site or a Teams environment. Messy…

So: make sure you are talking about the same thing. And don’t call regular SharePoint sites ‘team sites’…

4.Links to files are often broken in conversations

You can start a conversation about a file stored in your Team. This will display the conversation directly in the context of that document. But I have seen quite a few cases where the link to the file was broken from the conversation. At this moment, there is no way to preserve the link if the file is renamed or moved the to another folder

So: explain how this works and that you need to post an updated link.

Conversation in the context of a document

Conversation in the context of a document

5.The wiki in Teams is not practical for taking meeting notes

In one of our Teams, we tried to handle our meeting notes in the wiki that is a standard part of the Team. And we also started to write business scenarios in that wiki. It drove me crazy immediately, because I wanted to move around content in the first draft and it did not work the way I wanted… The wiki is quite rigid: the structure is fixed and you can’t just drag & drop sentences.

So: Use the wiki to “publish” info (About his team, finished use cases…). Do not use the wiki for taking notes or brainstorming.

The wiki in Teams

The wiki in Teams

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