Eating Our Own Dog Food: Microsoft Teams Edition

We really wanted to start this post with a tool joke but none of them really worked for an opening.  So, we’re just going to give it straight to you: Microsoft Teams is on of our go-to tools and we want to share with you how we use it on the day-to-day. Yes, this is us eating our own dog food and sharing it with you but we can’t help it. The simple fact is that Microsoft Teams is our second favorite tool in the entire world (second to our hubley intranet, of course).

How We’re Using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has become the “Huddle Spot” for our project teams. By creating a Microsoft Team for each project group, we’re making it easier for our teams to collaborate, communicate and connect in real time.  We encourage team members to keep notes, communicate and track tasks within the Microsoft Team site. Documentation is created within the Team space (which allows for real time input and editing by everyone on the team). We can host virtual meetings, collaborate on PowerPoint Presentations and even tie in third party apps, if we want to.

That’s a mouth full, I know. Allow me to summarize with an original quote:

Using Microsoft Teams is Essentially creating a virtual office building (so,  without all the walls). ~A (10.2018)

Basic Features

When a new team is created, it comes ‘stock’ with three basic apps:

Conversations

Conversations is a ‘forum style’ communication tool. Team members can make comments, @ each other and reply to what other team members are saying. Whenever updates are made to the team (app additions and such), an automatic conversation is created.

Basically, the conversation tab is the place where employees go to stay in the know, leave quick notes for team members or share memes to help team members get through the day!

 

Files

“Files” is pretty self explanatory. It’s where the files live. We usually end up with draft versions of User Guides or other client documentation, presentations for meetings (always available for review or recall), Statements of Work for projects, and project report updates as necessary. One team file tab can hold all of the files needed to execute any project in all the best formats (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, etc).

Wiki

Wiki is a whiteboard of sorts. For Rogue projects, we generally ditch the wiki in favor of a team OneNote because we love all things OneNote.

 

 

 

Roguish Add-On Essentials

As we’ve already mentioned, there are plenty of selections when it comes to Microsoft Team add-ons. The two add-ons that we almost always end up adding to the mix are OneNote and Planner.

OneNote becomes our Wiki. It houses our meeting notes, idea sketches and personal to-do lists. Every project leader has their own style for OneNote setup but I like to create a note section in every OneNote titled “scratch.” Within this “scratch” section, I’ll make a page for each team member and ask them to use it for their personal note taking. Encouraging people to jot down notes in organized Pages and sections is a great way to ensure all items are captured when diagnosing issues, providing updates to clients and when building a bank of Lessons Learned. An added bonus in this type of note-taking transparency is that you can learn a lot about your project team members by getting to know their note-taking style!

See: Adding OneNote in Microsoft Teams

 

Planner in teams can be used in varying context. We use planner to track QA Tasks and issue logging, breakdown project tasks into subtasks to create handoff, or to organize teams into smaller working groups and then to assign tasks to those smaller groups. For anyone who is familiar with kanban, it’s like that but built into the Microsoft super collaboration platform!

See: Using Planner in Microsoft Teams

Not Ready to Adapt?

That’s cool; we understand but keep in mind that Microsoft has set a roadmap to replace Skype with Teams. So, adaptation is inevitable. We’re cool with you easing into all the collaboration wonder that Microsoft has rolled out in the past few years, but don’t take too long and get left behind. For first steps, we suggest that organizations start moving in the direction of virtual collaboration (Microsoft Word co-authoring makes that easy).

Contact Us to find out how this all ties in with hubley.  And remember, if you’re not using the tools you have, you may be the tool. (HA! I knew we’d get a tool joke in here, somehow!)

~A