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

October 28, 2017

Who is in my Microsoft Team?

Filed under: Digital Workplace,Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 17:19

In the beginning, Microsoft Teams had a limited scope: a team was always private and limited to colleagues within the same organization. Now, your team can also include people outside your organization. And all team mates, including the external guests, can easily see who else is on the team.

I’ve discussed in a previous blog post on what’s with Teams: what does this chat-based collaboration app in Office 365 offer us and why we use it. It is a hub for teamwork. Now let us look closer who can be part of such a Team.

Inviting team mates

Colleagues as team members

A Team Owner can add new members from inside the organization via the famous ellipsis (dot dot dot…), selecting Add Members. You can only do this at the level of the Team, not at the level of a Channel: the permissions apply to the Team as a whole.

The Team Owner can add Members to the Team via the ellipsis.

The Team Owner can add Members to the Team via the ellipsis.

Once you have added a colleague as a Member, you can upgrade them to become a co-Owner.

Switch role to Owner

The Team Owner can upgrade Members to the Owner role.

 

Externals als team guests

The Team Owner can also invite guests from outside the organization. At the moment, you can only invite people who have a Azure Active Directory account, such as everyone who uses Office 365. Later on, you should be able to invite anyone with a Microsoft account, like in SharePoint Team Sites.

The Team Owners can invite guests via their email addresses

The Team Owners can invite guests via their email addresses

Note that when you participate in Teams in more than one organization and more than one tenant, you have to switch between them in the app.

Switch tenants

Megan works for Contoso and has some Teams there. She can switch to the Teams at Macaw where she is a Guest.

Joining a public Team?

When you create a Tean, you can select the option to make it a public team, that anyone in your organization can join.

Option for Public Team

The can select to create a Public team

However, in none of my tenants I have seen the opportunity to join such a Public Team. I suppose it will become available later…

Checking who is in my Microsoft Team

All Team participants, even the external Guests, can check who is part of that Team via the ellipsis (the dot dot dot…), selecting Manage Team. Yes, it is strange that this option is labeled Manage Team rather than View Team, because viewing is the only thing non-owners can do. Or you navigate to the root of the Team, where you will find the Members page. The Members page displays all participants: Members as well as Owners and Guests.

View Team

All team mates can view who is in the Team, via the option Manage Team. Even guests.

Want to know more about a team member? You can check their place in the organization. This only works for colleagues; external guest cannot see your org chart.

You can get there by hovering over the photo – or photo placeholder – of the colleague you are interested in. In the people pop-up that appears, select the View organization icon.

People pop-up View organization option

Hover over the photo or placeholder to get the people pop-up with the option to view their place in the organization.

When you are chatting with a colleague, you can also reach the org chart via the tab Organization.

People org chart

In the context of a chat with a team mate, view his or her place in the org chart.

So all in all, I am quite pleased with the options we have to collaborate with different team mates in our Teams and to see who is in the Team. Even if not every option is available yet, it works nicely. In particular, external guests have a better collaboration experience in Microsoft Teams than in Office Groups.

September 30, 2017

What’s with Microsoft Teams?

Filed under: Digital Workplace,Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 19:55

Microsoft Teams is a hub for teamwork, allowing teams to collaborate in a chat-based app. It is part of Office 365 and ties into the existing features, supplemented with new functionality.

You can use a Microsoft Team as the one place where you collaborate with a particular team, with everything you need at your fingertips, anytime, anywhere. You take part in one or more Teams, in the web browser or the client version. Like with Office Groups, collaboration in Teams can be quite informal: anyone who can create a Group can also create a Team.

Why Teams?

Office 365 offers different collaboration tools, because not everybody works the same way. Microsoft Teams is ideal for people who prefer to collaborate in a chat-based environment.

The key novelty of Microsoft Teams is its persistent chat functionality. We already had persistent email conversations in Groups and conversations in Yammer. But the chat functionality we have in Skype for Business right now is more volatile. Yes, you see the conversation history, but only for the conversations you were personally involved in. And when you invite other people into your conversation, they do not see what was discussed before they joined the conversation.

In Microsoft Teams, you can see all chat conversations conducted in your Team, including what has been said in the past and what is said by team mates who have not invited you explicitly to join that conversation. And it is not just about talking: in Microsoft Teams you have serious collaboration functionality, for sharing documents for example.

What makes Teams powerful to me, is that it combines chat conversations with tools to collaborate on documents and share information, in an interface that connects it all up.

What do I get in a Team?

The functionality you get with Microsoft Teams is helps you to collaborate closely with your team mates: colleagues, but also guests from other organizations, who usually work in other Office 365 tenants.

Advanced team chat

The chat functionality at the heart of Teams is more advanced than the chat in Skype for Business.

  • As I just mentioned, it is persistent: it stays there when you close your Teams app, for everyone who is or who will be part of the Team. So it is very fortunate that you can edit your message…
  • The participants can start multiple conversation threads, which are kept together. In addition to messages sent by the participants, other activities are displayed among the conversation threads, such as new members added to the Team.
  • You can make a message pop out to somebody, by mentioning him or her. And make your posts and replies stand out visually, by including not only smileys but also animated gifs and stickers.
Teams chat

In the chat, you make your message stand out by mentioning people and by including visuals.

  • The main idea is to have a conversation with the entire team. But you can also have a private chat one specific person or a limited group of people: an ad hoc team. The difference with a Skype for Business chat is that this private chat in Teams remains available, just like the conversations with the entire team.
Teams private chat

Start a private chat with one or more people via the pencil icon next to the Search box.

Channels with tabs

Within the Team, the conversations are structured in channels. For example, in a Team about Office 365, the conversation about the different ingredients of the toolkit could take place in different channels. The same group of people can then follow all of these conversations, but it is easier to find something about a specific topic by using these channels.

For each channel, you not only have conversations, but also other information tabs. By default, you have a Files tab and a Wiki tab. You can add other tabs to your Team, like a specific PowerPoint presentation stored in the Files section. Or external sources, like YouTube or SurveyMoney.

Add a Tab to a Channel

Add a tab to a Teams channel, like a PowerPoint presentation or a YouTube video.

YouTube Tab in Team channel

Tab in a Teams channel displaying a YouTube video

Integration with other Office 365 tools

When you create a new Team, you also get a new Office 365 Group, its SharePoint site, plan in Planner and everything.  For example, the files displayed in the Team live in the SharePoint site, as does the OneNote notebook that you can add as a tab.

OneNote tab in Team

You can add a OneNote Notebook to a tab. This Notebook is stored in the SharePoint site associated to this Team, via its Group.

If you already have an older Office 365 Group and you want to add the new Teams functionality to it, you can do that, provided you are  the Owner of that Group. The dialog for creating a new Team has a section titled ‘Add Microsoft Teams to an existing Office 365 group?’; then select the existing Group that you want to connect to.

Add Team ot an eisting Group

Adding Teams functionality to an existing Office 365 Group

In your Team, for example, you can collaborate on a presentation in an integrated fashion. When you upload a draft into the Files section, you can start a conversation about it. You see the chat conversation right next to the presentation when you view it or edit it within the Team. By the way, I have not seen this nice integration when I add the file directly in a conversation. Not yet anyway.

Collaborate on presentation

Have a conversation about a presentation while you edit it inside the Team

 

For Team Meetings, we have integration with Outlook. When I schedule a meeting from Microsoft Teams, all team members also get an invitation in their Outlook agenda and they can open the meeting from that invitation. The meeting then takes place in Microsoft Teams, just like Skype meetings take place in Skype for Business.

Teams Meeting

The invitation to a Microsoft Teams meeting appears in Outlook and you can enter the meeting from that Outlook invitation

You can also start from Outlook 2016 using the ‘New Team Meeting’, to invite the team to a meeting. At the moment, that does not seem to work  as smoothly as starting from Teams. In Outlook, you have a button to schedule a New Teams Meeting (next to the button to schedule a New Skype Meeting), but then you cannot select the Team you want to invite. You can use the channel’s mail address to get the meeting into the channel, but the team members do not receive a personal invitation. Not yet anyway.

Teams Meeting invite from Outlook-ann

Scheduling a new Teams meeting from Outlook, by sending the invitation to the Team channel’s mail address.

How serious should we take Teams?

Very. At Ignite 2017, Microsoft Teams featured prominently. It was stated that Microsoft Teams is central, as communication is at the heart of team work, and Teams will evolve to be the core communication client. The Teams app will be the hero experience for voice and meetings and it will replace the Skype for Business client. And it is positioned as the tool par excellence for high-velocity projects. To hear it from their own lips, see the on-demand sessions.

There are dozens of Ignite sessions about Teams in particular and Teams as part of the Microsoft 365 landscape. These are Day 1 overviews where Teams are included as part of the toolkit:

August 31, 2017

DIWUG eMagazine article: How do we get users to adopt Office 365?

Filed under: Adoption — Tags: , — frederique @ 22:48

When the IT department rolls out Office 365, we cannot assume that all users in the organization automatically adopt it and keep adopting the new options that appear regularly. An ongoing user adoption program solves this problem. In an article in the DIWUG eMagazine, I dive into the question what the fuss is about and how to plan for ongoing adoption.

DIWUG is the Dutch Information Worker User Group. They organise community events in The Netherlands and publish a magazine that exists in a print version as well as a downloadable version; the magazine is in English. To read the article How do we get users to adopt Office 365? , you can Download DIWUG SharePoint eMagazine #19

In the article, I discuss

  • Phase 1: Envision what you need from the start, zooming in on champions
  • Phase 2: Get the users onboard, zooming in on help & training
  • Phase 3: Keeping driving value, zooming in on measurement

DIWUGemagazine19

July 31, 2017

Blocking the wrong tool does not guarantee adoption of the right tool

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 23:02

Sometimes I hear IT people say that they will block file shares, because the employees in their organization do not use SharePoint. The theory is that the users will automatically turn to the new SharePoint sites when they lose their old, familiar storage space. Or not, as it turns out.

I have talked about this in an earlier post  (So do we unplug the file shares now? ) , but let me add a real-life example that I have just encountered. No rocket-science or amazing revelations, but it is always good to touch base with real life.

Today, an innocent user approached me. She is used to storing files on her laptop, but fortunately she knew realize that something was wrong.

As it turned out, her personal file share had been switched off soon after she was onboarded earlier this year. This was the H-Drive (for home drive), which in some organizations it is called P-Drive (for personal drive). Its key feature is that it is connected to My Documents on your computer, so that your files are available offline and they are available on a server in case your laptop crashes. She had heard that she was supposed to use SharePoint sites instead of that file share. But nobody had explained to her how to get her files into a SharePoint site and how to use it.

Apparently, IT simply blocked her old tool, without enabling her to adopt the proper new tool. And as she was busy doing her actual work, instead of messing about with IT stuff, she just put her files on the C-Drive of her laptop. Which is actually a step back from using a file share, instead of a step forward…

Fortunately, she did grow to realize that her files would be lost if her laptop would crash or be stolen. So when we met about some other topic, she asked if I could help her out.
And yes, she was totally willing and eager to embrace Office 365, when I showed her how to upload the team-related files into a team site, and upload the personal files into OneDrive for Business. Especially when she saw the additional features, like versioning. She just needed to be empowered first.

How many other people in that organization have been forced back onto their C-Drive in the same way…? How much crucial information has been lost, when files marooned on the C-drive disappear in a laptop crash or theft? Tomorrow I’d better ask IT what’s going on…

So what I saw – again – today:

  • People will not automatically switch to a new tool when the old tool is blocked
    So: Don’t shut down an old file storage location before the new one is available and adopted by the users.
  • People are busy with their own work and don’t want to waste time on IT stuff
    So: Make it very easy to introduce and use the right tools
  • People don’t like calling an IT Servicedesk. They prefer to ask somebody they know.
    So: Be available and approachable. Make sure there are “champions” all parts of the organisation

June 25, 2017

Adopting new options? It works for the gannets

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 20:01

On holiday, I don’t think much about work or work-related issues. But sometimes I am reminded of, for example, user adoption. Not all Office 365 users are willing to adopt the latest and greatest options. But the gannets in Shetland do embrace and adopt new options.

Gannets build their nest on cliff ledges, from seaweed and plants.
But when an additional ingredient is available, they take advantage of it. Like fish nets. We have seen quite a few gannet nets that incorporate fish nets.

Gannet nest using fish net

Natural nests and nests with fish nets, in the colony on Noss (Shetland)

Gannet nest on Hermaness

This gannet at Hermaness on Unst (Shetland) also uses green fish nets.

Gannets feed on fish, which they catch by plunging from great height and at great speed.
But when they get the option to grab a free fish offered by the skipper of a tour boat, they don’t turn it down. Then they hover quite close to the surface and to that boat. The only disadvantage is that there are many competitors for the free fish…

Gannets fighting over a fish

Two gannets grabbed the same free fish, tossed overboard by the skipper of the tour boat at Noss.

And I agree with the gannets: if a new option arises and it works for you, why not take advantage and adopt it?

May 31, 2017

Users and IT – Worlds apart?

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 23:25

As a consultant, I am part of the Office 365 in-crowd. But I also mingle with end-users. Sometimes it feels like these are two different worlds. What is perfectly obvious to IT is incomprehensible or outrageous to the users. And the other way around.

IT terminology?

Innocent users sometimes misunderstand what the IT people are talking about. Of course, this is the case for obvious technology jargon. But product names also confuse.

I am involved in an Office 365 implementation programme, part of which is the migration of the mailboxes to Exchange Online. As a result of some communication about this migration, a user concluded: “So we have to stop emailing with Outlook and start emailing with Exchange?”. Oops, that was not what we meant.

Let’s focus our communication on the tools and tool names that exist in the world of the innocent end-users. The tool that users know and love is Outlook. Exchange is something that lives at the level of the server. 

IT intuition?

I’ve worked with SharePoint for twelve years now, and I know my way around it. I don’t always know by heart how everything works, and I had to pay serious attention when the modern interface appeared. But my SharePoint intuition is sufficiently well developed to get the job done.

I am particularly conscious of my SharePoint, Office 365 or general IT intuition when I notice where some innocent end-users try to click, for example. Someone tried to open Outlook on his desktop by clicking the Outlook label in Outlook Online. I had to see it, to understand what he was driving at, when he asked me why it did not work. Or there’s the new communication specialist who wanted to upload a document and could not find the button. It turned out she was not looking at the homepage of the team site but at the main tab of the OneNote notebook that a link had led her to.

Mind you, I am not suggesting that these end-users are stupid. Not at all. What they do can be very complex and totally beyond me. But if they have no experience at all with the tools, they may struggle at unexpected moments.

Let’s keep in mind that not everyone has the same IT intuition. Watch what innocent end-users are doing, by observing in real life or asking them to share their screen via Skype. That allows you to help them better at that time, and to improve your IT offerings and support materials.

What’s in it for me IT?

To be worth its funding, the IT project has to benefit the business. And to get adopted by the prospective users, so that it has a chance of achieving the business benefits, it has to benefit the people themselves. The users not only need to be able to benefit from the project, but they also need to be fully aware and convinced of what’s in it for them.

For example, Skype for Business is not just a tool that we roll out as part of Office 365. It is the answer to the prayers of users who need to communicate and share with people who are in different locations. Instead of wasting a lot of time traveling or getting stuck in misunderstanding by having meetings by phone in which you don’t see what’s happening, Skype for Business allows you to share your screen or look the others in the eye via video conferencing.

So let’s focus on what’s important in the world of the end-users. And involve the business and the users, to make sure that we really pinpoint the scenarios that address their needs and the solutions that meet their needs.

IT priorities?

The projects and programs that I’m involved with are usually initiated or at the very least supported by IT. In such projects, we often need input of feedback from the business, especially if IT does its best to involve the business and the users to make sure they benefit from it. In any case, the users need to spend at least some time and effort when they transition from the old tools and the old way of working to the new ones.

But the people in the organization are busy building houses, selling groceries, curing patients, auditing companies, or doing whatever else the organization specializes in. In addition to their daily work, they may also be involved in non-IT initiatives and projects. And those may well be far more important to them then the projects that are so crucial to the IT guys.

Let’s plan IT projects in conjunction with the rest of the project portfolio of the organization, so that the IT projects and their priorities fit with the other projects instead of clashing with them.

 

So innocent end-users and IT people may live in different worlds, but we have to keep in touch and cross over to the other world. Innocent end-users may visit the IT world if they are interested about new technology. But IT has to be able to deal with the world of the end-users, to help them adopt the new tools and the new way of work. Because the job of IT is to support the business and the end users Not the other way around.

April 30, 2017

FastTrack has good stuff for user adoption

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 21:06

Microsoft has a customer success service called FastTrack to help organizations realize business value faster with the Microsoft Cloud, including Office 365. It gives us guidance and practical materials, like templates. Good stuff.

The Office 365 Adoption Guide offered on http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office gives us the full story of the three phases – envision, onboard and drive value- with checklists and links to details and templates.

The Productivity Library (http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office/envision/productivitylibrary) contains over a hundred scenarios of how Office 365 can make your life easier. For example: Plan for work effectively, using Planner. For such a scenario, you get instruction pages and videos. And templates to make announcements, posters and flyers, tips & tricks messages.

You can also get help for onboarding end-users into Office 365. Small business owners (1-49 users) can use a setup guide. Customers with more than 50 licenses are entitled to assistance from the Microsoft FastTrack team, for example in migrating content. But that is not a free-for-all option.

There is also an entry point for all resources, per phase, that anyone can use: http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/office/resources/envision , including case studies, a guide for the helpdesk and plans.

So there is a lot of good stuff in there. We might as well use it…

March 31, 2017

Do not forget to start communicating at an early stage

Filed under: Adoption — Tags: — frederique @ 21:43

Too often I see IT departments do a project to implement, for example, Office 365 and develop new site templates. And then they plan to communicate the result to the business after it is finished. Maybe even help the users to adopt the new tools, once they are available. But only after the fact.

Recently, I have been involved in efforts to help users adopt Office 365 (see also 5 lessons learned about user adoption programmes and 5 more lessons learned about User Adoption). In my new project I also tripped over questions pertaining to adoption immediately. User adoption actually is an official track in the programme initiated by the IT department. I am working in a different track, from the perspective of a business unit. And we were missing things.

First and foremost: does the business, do the employees know about the programme to move to Office 365? Or when will it be communicated?

It turned out that only communication directly related to the roll-out was part of the adoption track: for example, messages to warn users that their mailbox or the team site they manage will be migrated soon. But there was no communication plan elsewhere to deal with the more general communication. And we did need that.

Why do we need to talk with the business at an early stage?

  • Get buy-in from the stakeholders. We need the decision makers on board. Not only the executive who approved the budget, but also the others.
  • Get approval for contacts to spend time on the programme. We need input from various people , to determine what new templates we need, to find out what existing content should be migrated , to inventory mailboxes that may or may not have to be migrated. Before we ask them to participate in workshops or check our lists, they should know why we ask and that it is ok to spend time on it.
  • Start the buzz. Employees may be interested to know that soon they will get new tools for collaborating and sharing. Some of them at least. If you tell them at an early stage, they may start looking forward to it and maybe even volunteer to get involved. Recently, some people decided to wait for the new team sites instead of renewing an expensive external tool, when we told them about the new options.

So we’ll start communication as soon as possible.

February 28, 2017

So do we unplug the file shares now?

Filed under: Adoption,SharePoint — frederique @ 23:32

I often see SharePoint environments that exist in parallel to good old file shares. The idea usually is to switch from file shares to SharePoint, because they allow the users to collaborate more effectively and efficiently. However, some users do not want to move away from the file shares. But then again, other users get confused if not everything is moved immediately. I do not have a silver bullet to determine the ideal moment to unplug the file shares. But let us take a look at some considerations, which came up in recent projects.

Switch from file shares to SharePoint

People sometimes ask me why they would stop using files shares and start using SharePoint in one of its incarnations. What’s in it for them? SharePoint sites do offer more functionality for collaborating that file shares. Mosst users can benefit from them, if they adopt them.

And why do I talk about SharePoint sites and not about the newer offerings in Office 365? Because these advantages appear in old school team sites on-premises or new modern team sites in SharePoint online, as well as in the sites associated to Office 365 Groups or Teams. It does not matter, many of the relevant options still live in a version of SharePoint.

SharePoint sites work better than file shares when you need to…

  • Share documents with people outside your organization
    In SharePoint sites, you can only allow externals if the administrators have switched the option on. But I have never had a file share that allowed for external access anyway.
  • Work anytime, anywhere.
    Of course some organizations lock down access without VPN, even in Office 365. But when it lives in SharePoint, your chances are a lot better for accessing information from outside your organization’s network or on a mobile device is a lot easier.
  • Collaborate in a controlled manner
    • Work in a document at the same time with multiple authors
    • Powerful versioning
    • Email notifications when a document is changed
  • Keep track of documents that have more properties than the windows basics
    For example, if documents have an expiry date, owner and a status, you can enrich them with metadata and use those to offer smart views, filtered to display overdue documents owned by my and grouped by status.
  • Work with more than just documents, like action lists, news, links, …
    Classic collaboration entails a lot of documents being exchanged. But the tools allow for more and more different ways to share and keep track of things, especially with the interactive Groups and Teams, including the spiffy Planner.
  • Collaborate on informal notes (for which sites contain a OneNote notebook).

Most of these advantages also apply to OneDrive for Business. OneDrive for Business is the replacement of the personal file share (P-drive or I-Drive or whatever it is called).

Unplug file shares when you switch to SharePoint

You can use file shares and SharePoint sites at the same time, in parallel. But this does cause problems, which you want to avoid by unplugging file shares.

If you have both, it is:

  • Confusing for the users: what do we store where? In an organization where IT did not want to rush the unplugging of the file shares, some users complained that the old file shares ought to be switched off right away. If we are on SharePoint and others still on a file share, how can we find each other? And how can we get used to SharePoint if most of the information is still on a file share? Of course other users panicked at the mere idea of losing their file shares, which is why the IT department took it slow…
  • Costly for IT: storage on file shares is expensive, and you don’t want to spend time and money maintaining two systems.

But look before you leap

Organizations are often eager to unplug the file shares quickly, in order to achieve the desired IT cost savings. However, this can also cause problems.

  • Some files don’t work in SharePoint For example, supersized files or “dangerous” file types (like .exe) cannot be uploaded into SharePoint. Filename with symbols like & have to be changed before they can be uploaded. Connections of connected HTML-files, such as handbooks, can no longer be browsed when they are moved into SharePoint.
  • Is SharePoint really working for the users? Don’t unplug the old file share before the new SharePoint sites can really be used. Not only should the environment be available, but it should also be accessible without hiccups and perform properly. I have hear enough people complain that they did not use SharePoint sites because they are so much slower than the old file shares. Then they are only working theoretically, but not in real life.
  • Have the users been empowered to adopt the SharePoint sites? Do they know they exist? Do they see what the benefits are? Do they understand how they can use them to achieve those benefits? Do they feel confident enough to dare use them? Can they get support?
  • If not:
    • Old school users may revert to older tools If you unplug the file share and they do not see SharePoint sites as a good option, users may go back to sending files back and forth as classic e-mail attachments. Then you may get the IT cost savings, but you will end up with a mess of unmanaged information.
    • Savvy users will find their own tools in Shadow IT Some users love spiffy new apps and tools, and they want to get the job done. So they will just go out there, download this, subscribe to that and join anything else if IT does not provide great tools. I have heard enough users explain that SharePoint sites did not work for them, so they used Dropbox or Google docs or WeTransfer or whatever else instead. This may be just fine, but it may also be a risk if they adopt Shadow IT tools that do not meet the security requirements for example. And don’t think you can prevent this by blacklisting the known tools for file sharing in the cloud. There is always one that the IT official will have missed and that some creative user has found…
  • And transition carefully The best way to transition depends on who you are as an organization, what information you have in the file shares, and what governance rules your information has to obey. Maybe you can move the current information from a file share into a new structure in SharePoint as you go along and leave the rest for a year before you just delete it. Or you can migrate a nicely structured file share into SharePoint using a migration tool. But you should think about it, before you get some garbage-in-garbage-out migration or lose crucial information. And maybe you only have regular office files, without any complications, to which SharePoint is ideally suited. But you should make sure, before users have no other option but to put exotic files onto their C-drive (which may crash) or flash drive (which they may lose) or external storage tool (which may be pirate by who knows whom).

So for some types of files, you may need to keep a file share. For some organizations and some users, a file share may continue to play an important role. But for most organizations, most users and most of the information, it is a good idea to move to SharePoint and unplug the file shares. However, don’t unplug them before you have made sure that the users have adopted the new tool and embraced the new way of working.

January 31, 2017

5 more lessons learned about User Adoption

Filed under: Adoption,Office365 — frederique @ 20:01

Last month I already posted some lessons learned about user adoption. Now I have bumped into a few more things that I want to take into account next time. Some things that worked nicely and that we should repeat and some that offer definite room for improvement….

See the previous post for the other lessons I learned, and here’s the next batch:

1.Get a sense of the users and their needs

Who are the people who are supposed to be using the tools you are trying to get adopted? What do they need? What’s in it for them? Before the tool is bought in the first place, the decision makers should know what it is for. But this information should be known to all stakeholders, in sufficient detail to make it work.

We held intake discussions with all department heads at HQ before we scheduled training sessions with their departments. This worked well: it helped us to determine what these users need and how the tools could help them.

However, what was less clear was how the broader employee groups would be involved: would the logistics people also have access to the tools? The people working in the shops? Or only their managers? Are the tools only for the information workers at headquarters? Or are they for everyone at a later stage? Not only did we not involve those groups, but also we could not answer the questions of the training participants who collaborate, for example, with the people in the shops. And that was a pity.

2.Determine what you want to achieve and make it measurable

Before you start organizing training sessions and other adoption activities, determine what you are trying to achieve: when will the adoption program have been successful? When are the decision makers, the people who pay for the program, happy with the result?

In our program, we kept track of the number of training sessions and the number of people who participated. And we asked the participants to fill in a survey with questions like “Are you going to apply what you learned in your work?” and “Does this training help you to collaborate in a more clever way?” to tell us how they felt about the training sessions and the tools.

However, we did not get enough information to allow the decision makers to decide what should be the next step. And they are still not sure what they want to know before they can make that decision. But is clear that we are not measuring if and to what degree the users are actually benefiting from the new tools, nor what they would need to go to the next level. How about the Office 365 Adoption Pack in Power BI for example (which should become available by the end of March, to see how much the tools are actually used and there is an increase?

3.Organize sessions per team

Sessions per team can work well, because they allow the teams to discuss what would work best for them. One size does not fit all teams, because they do not have the same jobs and they do not have the same needs.

We organized a session per team and we had an intake meeting with the team lead beforehand, to discuss the team’s needs and the most relevant agenda for the session. Then we saw in the sessions that the participants started to brainstorm how they could use the new tools as a team. For example, do their team meeting as a Skype meeting. Put their meeting notes in a OneNote notebook within their joint team site. Some teams loved Skype’s chat functionality, while other loathed it and decided on the spot that they would not use it for now. Fair enough, whatever works for them.

It can be tricky if the team members who share a training sessions have very different levels of Office 365 savviness. We explained the possible tension with the team leaders and they all decided that the team should still all join the sessions, even if some people already knew a lot. The more savvy team members were able to help their colleagues and bring up ideas on how to use the tools. And we had an assistant trainer, who helped out the less savvy team members who got stuck on something that was uninteresting for the others. We were quite happy with the way that worked.

4.Don’t overdose

A training session of 3 hours in which you try to explain everything to users who don’t know anything about the tools yet is not effective. They simply won’t be able to absorb everything… Two sessions of an hour and a half would work better.

We got feedback from the participants that the 3 hour sessions were rather overwhelming. Especially the less savvy team members were struggling to keep up. However, the planners made it clear that it was not possible to plan two short sessions instead of one long session for each team.

So what we tried to do is at least give the participants a sense in what way they could collaborate more effectively and easily using the new tools. And reassure them that nobody expected them to remember everything… If they want to retrieve details that they had missed or forgotten, they can check the help pages and videos we created or ask a colleague. And yes, we got quite a few questions ourselves, via mail, Skype or encounters in the cafeteria.

5.An adoption program is not a one-off activity

A good adoption program is not just one series of training sessions, or one communication campaign. In some cases that might be enough, but don’t count on it.

As I just mentioned, we had planned one series of training sessions.. But quite a few people contacted us afterwards with questions. Some people asked us to explain something again. But most asked for follow-up, now that they had played with the tools in real life. That is when you find out if you have really understood what’s going on: when you try to apply it yourself.

Unfortunately, nothing has been planned officially. We tried to help the users unofficially. But it was frustrating that we were just supposed to provide training, as opposed to help them to adopt the tools to boost their collaboration.

 

So to a program to increase adoption of Office 365 is helpful. We got enough positive feedback from users to make that clear. However, we can improve on the program and make it even more helpful next time.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress