When NOT to use Microsoft Teams

See this article to know When to use Microsoft Teams first. This article lists scenarios where using Teams is counterproductive or plain simple wrong!

Do not use teams if one or more of the items listed below are true.

  1. If there are too many people involved, do not use Teams. Technically, the limit is 2500. But you decide practically. Teams is designed for extensive interaction between team members. If there are lot of people, you cannot expect extensive interaction. Think about using Yammer. It is good for predominantly push and interaction-on-demand kind of functionality.
  2. If the team means the whole department and you already have a departmental Team Site in SharePoint. Use that site. Do not use Teams to create another Team. Why? Because, behind-the-scenes it creates another SharePoint site. Defeats the purpose.
  3. This one is obvious but still makes sense to mention it: If all team members do not have access to the Teams app, do not use Teams. In this case, you will need to do double communication manually. I will not call it inefficient usage – it is misuse.
  4. If the communication and coordination with the team is required but not critical, do not use Teams. Non-critical, but functionally necessary stuff can continue using traditional email.
  5. Do NOT use Teams unless every member is aware about its actual benefits. If you try to force it on ignorant people (Ignorant about Teams, I mean!) , it will not work. Educate them first. The best way is to show a nice and compelling demo.
    If only few people in the team use the Teams app and others do not, it defeats the purpose.
  6. If all members have not understood that they have to check the Teams app as frequently as they check for mails in the Inbox.
    The benefit of Teams is that it does not send anything to your inbox. Conversations and communication happens within the Teams app. If some members forget to see the activity in the app, they are effectively not working as a team.

That is all I can think of as of now. If you know more scenarios where Microsoft Teams is contraindicated, post them as comments.

 

 

 

 

Testing Quiz Feature. Pls Ignore.

 

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When to use Microsoft Teams

When to use teams

The obvious answer is – “whenever you want to work with your team”. But that is not enough. Here is a more precise answer. If all (or most) of the requirements listed below are true, you should use  Microsoft Teams.

  1. Your organization has Office 365 Teams license available for all the people whom you intend to work with as a team.
    As on Jan 2018, if you intend to work with people in another organization, they also need to have Office 365 license.
  2. The kind of work you do with the selected team members has to be specific to a common topic of interest. It could be a project, a new initiative, a deliverable, an outcome …
  3. Usually there is an end date for such things. But that is not a must.
  4. The work being done is not just about sending messages and informing each other. You need to keep track of who said what, need files, images, notes, collaterals and so on.
  5. The kind of work you do is frequent. For infrequent work, just use email.

Yes. That’s it.

You can create a new team even for just you and someone else. Remember to create multiple teams for multiple contexts, even if some members may be common. More on that later.

Finally, DO NOT create too many Teams in the app. You will need another team to manage all these Teams.. ha ha!

Good to know When NOT to use Microsoft Teams as well.

Office 365 Best Practices: Maximize Adoption and Consumption

Office 365 platform is very powerful. However, I have noticed that most customers derive only fraction of the potential benefits. There are many reason for this bleak outcome. Refer to my series on Office 365 Worst Practices for details. In this article I will highlight the reverse Office 365 Best Practices.

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This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Jargon explained

Adoption, Consumption, Effective Utilization, Efficiency Maximization, Workplace transformation, etc. are the words / phrases used while describing maximum and relevant usage of all Office 365 tools by all users. They all mean the same. The objective is to maximize ROI and work efficiency in order to drive personal as well as organizational growth.

Office 365 Best Practices

Do not buy the cheapest option

Many customers just want to move from on-premise to cloud. They think that is the ONLY benefit of moving to Office 365. Just convert from CAPEX to OPEX – save on-premise overheads and that’s it. This is not the ONLY benefit of O365. There are a thousand more. Think of empowerment of all users (while saving money).

Go for E3 or E5 SKU. For ALL users. Yes. The cost will be significant. But if utilized appropriately, unimaginable improvements will follow in months. Break-even can happen in as little as six months.

Disclaimer: I do not benefit monetarily by sales of Microsoft products. As you know, I am an MVP (evangelist) and RD.

IT alone should not drive Office 365 adoption

There may be very compelling reasons for IT to spearhead and drive the Office 365 migration project. However, it is not just an infrastructure migration. Unlike most products, Office 365 is NOT transparent to end users. In fact, it is very visible to them. Every user spends 4 hours or more using Office tools. If you want to change (improve) their usage of these tools and add many more tools, you better do it in a manner that is compelling to all users. Push does not work (unless it is a security issue).
Pull is requried. IT alone cannot generate that pull. IT must do this along with the business side.

Involve top management throughout the project

Top Management is the crucial component which is often missed. It is not enough to have a couple of powerful sponsors. The top management has to experience the efficiency transformation first-hand. Only then they will be able to support the initiative wholeheartedly. Otherwise they just cut a ribbon, give a motivating speech at the launch and then nothing happens. Everyone remains inefficient happily thereafter!

All possible business heads should be a part of the Office 365 project. Why? Because, all of them stand to gain substantially from the potential productivity transformation. If some business heads refuses to support the initiative, leave them alone. After they see the success stories around them, they will happily join the mainstream.

If you cannot convince the Top Management, do not bother to convince the users. Your adoption drive has already failed.

Launch is important but not enough

Everyone plans for the launch. It is an event to show off your contribution, gain recognition, motivate more users to join, demonstrate tangible improvement and so on. No problem. Great. Go ahead and put posters, change desktop images, insert banners on intranet home pages, create mailers, create a buzz, conduct quizzes…

That is just the beginning. If nothing happens beyond this, the end comes swiftly. Any kind of excitement reduces soon.

If excitement was sustained, it would be called boredom!

Unless you convert that excitement into a necessity (a good habit), the benefits will be very short-lived. ROI will be a distant dream. Remember, Office 365 is a subscription, but it does not include wisdom and capability transformation. Software cannot do it alone. We need sustenance.

To achieve this you need many things including – having a significant training budget, internal team to drive efficiency and ability to highlight internal successes to motivate all users on a long-term basis.

Office 365 is not just a small utility. It can transform lives and organizations. Give it enough time and perseverance to transform you.

Learning is not FREE

Office 365 contains 20+ tools. Most users know only four – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  At least they think that they know. 
Unfortunately, nobody knows how to use Office efficiently. We are all trial and error artists!
Just adding 16 more components and conducting a half a day training is not going to change anything. This is the height of wishful thinking.  Each tool needs to be explained in terms of the need and its benefits.

In most cases, the rollout of tools (and related training) is phased out over a year or more. In this case, every user does not even get exposed to every tool – which is a perfect recipe for failure.

Roll out all products at once – in phases

This is contrary to common practice of deploying one component at a time. Provide all tools together. Sounds complex? No problem – break it down into phases. In each phase include a manageable set of users. It could be a location, team or department. Initially have smaller set of users, learn from the rollout and then expand the horizon.

Make sure the learning activities are synchronized with the rollout. The worst case scenario is a user who returns from a training – highly motivated to try the new stuff, to realize that the laptop is still running older version of Office and no trace of Office 365. It is a frustrating experience for users. This creates negative word-of-mouth publicity which can destroy the adoption drive.

Exchange down and all others up

This should be the larger objective. The most common reason for work inefficiency is the misuse of Outlook. Now with OneDrive, Teams, Skype, Groups, Planner and other tools, the need for using email is reducing dramatically. All these tools eliminate mails and provide a more focused channel for working together.

If email usage continues to grow with minimal increase in the usage of other tools, your adoption strategy (and execution) has failed. In this case, relook at the content, provide more focus on new tools, also explain why email misuse is bad and provide more hands-on experiences to convince users. Publish internal case studies to make people aware that it works within our organization as well (not just in other company’s case study).

Empower users with analytics

Depending upon the product(s) you have, emphasize on teaching the new method of analytics. Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map constitute the new platform called Power BI. If every user adopts to Power BI, there can be unimaginable improvement in everything that the organization does. This happens even without branching into big data, IOT and other recent technologies. Ever since Power BI was introduced, I have not seen a single organization which has leveraged this powerful toolkit across all users. What a waste!

Office 365 contains Office. Remember that!

Almost routinely, I see that the adoption plan just does not include Office itself! The logic is, we have been using Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for many years (or decades). Everyone knows how to use these tools. Why waste time and money? Just cover OneDrive, Skype, Teams, Groups and OneNote.  Wrong thought process. Why?

Office has been around for decades. Any new product Microsoft adds is DESIGNED to integrate with Office. Nothing is created in isolation. Therefore, for all these cloud tools to be utilized efficiently, they must be used from WITHIN Office.

Integration is the most important feature of Office platform. By excluding Office from the training and adoption plan, you are literally ensuring sub-optimal results. No question of having a good return on investment.

One more reason for including Office. It has evolved beyond our imagination in 30 years. Unfortunately, nobody keeps track of how Office is becoming better and offering more and more benefits with lesser effort. Reinventing Office is a great way to transform efficiency – along with the new cloud tools.

There is more… But for now, this is a good start.

Your opinion matters.
Feel free to post your experiences as comments.
Queries are also welcome.

Webinar vs Video content

I create content for many customers and vendors including Microsoft. Often there is a discussion about the difference between a live webinar and an offline video.  Here are the differences between the two. A live webinar is easier to deliver to a live audience. But creating an appealing and high-impact video is far more difficult!

Item

Webinar

Video content

Audience

Live audience connected remotely using Skype, etc..

No audience while creating the content

Impact

During the webinar delivery

Viewing after publishing

Script

High level topics with live demo. The content plan is written with live audience in mind.

Detailed script with every sentence and associated visuals pre-defined

Editing and Post-production

No editing. It is necessary to upload the actual content.

Editing and FX are used to increase the appeal, simplify delivery of knowledge and explain concepts / processes

Interactivity

Live Q&A, discussion

Comments, Shares, Likes, Discussion, embedded hyperlinks, table of contents

Objective

Awareness creation

Awareness creation + In-depth coverage + Skill Transfer

Purpose of uploading the
content

As a reference point for those who attended the webinar

As an authoritative place to learn about the specific topic

Time required to create a 10 minute output – for the same topic

10 minutes

2 days

Information density

Low

High

Viewing lifespan

During the webinar.

Video posted after webinar is not seen at all.

This is because the webinar was designed for online engagement. Offline, it is boring and distracting.

Long.

Videos are designed for high-impact, getting attention and sustaining it. Lot of planning is required to make videos engaging.

Promotion required

Before webinar – to maximize live attendees

After publishing – to maximizing viewership

Cost

Low. Because time is spent for actual delivery only.

High. Because time is required for every step and detailed planning, production and post-production.

Your experiences may be different. Do post comments and queries here. Thanks.

Which Office version do I have?

Most people do not need to know the exact version (nor do they care). But in case you are troubleshooting a problem with Office, you will need to know the version.

Finding the exact version is a funny story. Why? Because the version is shown somewhere in some menu. Over time, that menu itself has been changed and moved around. Therefore, the answer to the question “Which version do I have?” is “You have to go to place x, depending upon the version you have”. Angry smile

That does not make any sense. Therefore, it is a visual answer. You have to literally look at the way Office looks (Word, Excel , etc. ) and then figure out where the version is mentioned.

Microsoft has written a detailed article with screen shots to answer this question. Here is the link  Which Office version do I have?. This shows various screen shots. You open a file in Word and compare the screenshots to find the version.
Funny but true.

slow PC? Close Browsers

The commonest reason of slow PC / laptop is too many browser windows open – in too many browsers. It does not matter if it is IE, Edge, Firefox, Chrome or Safari… all of them are like an operating system! Just close them first. Find out the actual browser pages you want and re-open them. That’s it.

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I have just the browsers open. No other apps. Each browser has just ONE site open.
IE = CNN.com, EDGE = Amazon.in, CHROME = YouTube.com, Firefox = portal.office.com

We tend to forget how many sites we have opened in how many browsers! Be mindful of that and you are good to go.

Remove cell spill-over from Excel data

If a cell has no data in it, the data from the cell on the left side spills over it. This can lead to confusion while reading and understanding the data. How to remove this cell spill-over?  Very simple. Just three steps:

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  1. Select the data range.
  2. Press Ctrl G or F5 to open the Go To dialog.
  3. Click the Special button.
  4. Choose the Blanks option.
  5. Now, all the empty cells in the highlighted area will be selected.
  6. Just type a spacebar. This will go automatically into the active cell.
  7. DO NOT press ENTER. DO NOT disturb the selection.
  8. Press CTRL ENTER.
  9. That’s it. Now all the spill-over items will be truncated.

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Creating complex presentations together

We need complex presentations quite often, e.g. Periodic reviews, new projects, planning, and so on. Such complex presentations usually need inputs from multiple persons. Each one sends a small piece of presentation to some central coordinator – not just once, but repeatedly. The central person struggles with copy pasting stuff, fights with formatting and layout conflicts and has a miserable life in general!

complex presentations - editing together

The solution is simple. Store the base presentation on OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams. Share it with all the contributors and let them edit it. Try it out now!

Editing complex presentations together: Benefits

  1. Multiple persons can work on the presentation simultaneously, without confusing each other.
  2. Enormous time saving
  3. There are no copies (CCs) to deal with. The presentation is always a single file.
  4. Past versions are stored automatically so that you can refer to an earlier edit.
  5. You can see if others are editing simultaneously. You can go and look at the slide they are working on.
  6. If required, you can clarify doubts or suggest changes to each other using chat (Skype FB )
  7. If there is a conflict, the owner can resolve it. Conflict occurs when two users change the same item in two different ways.

It is simple, useful and revolutionary. Practice this with your colleagues couple of times and then you will have the confidence and the motivation to use it in real life.

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OneNote Embedding

Here is a list of sites supported for OneNote Embedding.

ClickView

DailyMotion

Docs.com

Flipgrid

Geogebra

Giphy

Microsoft Forms

nanoo.tv

Office 365 Video

Office Mix

Power BI

Quizlet

Repl.it

Scribd

Sketchfab

Slideshare

SoundCloud

Spotify

Sway

TED Talks

ThingLink

Trello

Vimeo

Vine

Wizer

YouTube

Here are two examples: YouTube and Power BI
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Just copy the Share link and paste it into OneNote. It understands what to do. DO NOT put the IFRAME code. That is for HTML pages.

All PowerPoint Icons

Here is a very useful collection. I am sure you have noticed the PowerPoint Icons – 450+ beautifully created SVG graphics. The problem is that you need to select and download icons on demand. Two problems. Firstly, it requires an internet connection and second problem is the need for inserting the same icon again and again.

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I solved both problems by manually downloading each and every icon available today (7 Nov 2017). You can download this presentation (5 mb) and get offline access to all icons. Remember, SVG format allows these to be scaled without any loss of resolution.  SVG support is available only with Office 2016 and upwards and of course Office Pro Plus.