Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Add a MS Ignite Calendar

If you're attending Microsoft Ignite this week, don't forget that you can create a separate calendar for your sessions - it keeps them from filling up your primary availability calendar, and let's you see them separate from your regular day's events. 

You can also publish the calendar and share the link (like this one, if you're wondering what a Teams geek like myself is interested in at MSIgnite) with a colleague if you want them to know what sessions you're attending.

Monday, September 7, 2020

My [un-official] achievement badges for Microsoft Teams!

I play Xbox, so I'm no stranger to Achievements. I thought it would be nice if we could unlock achievements in our use of Teams as well! One of my favorite that I've seen achieved a lot more these days is...

:)  Check out this form - if you've performed one of these actions in Microsoft Teams lately, grab your badge - you've earned it!


Friday, September 4, 2020

Why I like the "for a selected [Teams] message" trigger (Hint: it's about Microsoft To Do)

Being able to build and perform additional actions on a Teams message is already nice. But it became extra nice for me when I realized I could use it to help get Teams messages into Microsoft To Do, which helps me follow-up on important posts from my colleagues.

After starting up my Instant Flow...

...I'm able to build out the Card and ToDo task for my new Teams action. In my card, I simply give myself an opportunity to put an extra note on my new To Do task, which, in my Flow, I add to the subject line...

Together, these allow me to create a new To Do from my Teams message, with an optional note...

My new To Do is now visible and ready for me to add to one of my To Do lists, or add a reminder...

But I really like is how my hashtags are still working in this scenario as well, which makes it easy for me to quickly see all my #FromTeams tasks...

Time to get some things done!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Different Guest User Scenarios in a Microsoft Teams meeting

As Microsoft Teams meeting participants, we all come in different shapes and sizes and flavors. :) When we're joining someone's meeting, we might be a fellow user in their tenant, or we might be an external Guest visiting their tenant. The meeting might be one that someone created in Outlook, or it might be a Channel meeting.  

I tried to show a few of those flavors below, in case it might help someone understand why they're seeing what they're seeing in their next Microsoft Teams meeting (click the images for a larger view):

Meeting Created In

and the User is a

and the User’s tenant is set to

The chat looks like



A tenant different than the meeting

(no files, only the most basic chat)



The same tenant as the meeting

(better chat, but still no files)



The same tenant as the meeting

(user gets files (view/edit) and can even see chats created prior to the meeting)



A tenant different than the meeting

(no chat, no files)

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Tips for using Edge in your Microsoft Teams demos - Profiles and Apps

One of the things I do often with customers is demo Microsoft Teams. Given that Teams is a collaboration tool, it's very useful to be able to work with multiple personas in my demos in order to demonstrate different collaboration scenarios. Edge serves me well for this need, particularly with two of its features - Profiles and Apps.

Profiles for your Personas

Profiles are like little browser sandboxes - they keep the cookies, passwords, history etc of a particular user in its own browser session.  While most traditionally used to manage a single persons' 'work' versus 'personal' accounts, they're also extremely helpful for simultaneously working among multiple personas during a demo.

Here, you can see that I'm using three personas in my demo environment - Ricardo, Megan, and the Administrator.  These represent three real and distinct users in my demo tenant:

So, as I browse the web as Megan B, for instance, the browser assumes that persona/credentials throughout my entire session.

I'm now also always 1-click away from using a persona, since I can pin each browser profile to my taskbar:

Among other things, this lets me have [in this case] 3 browser windows open that each behave like unique users. I can have each of them logged into a Teams meeting, fore example, to show different meeting experiences. But one of the most useful scenarios for me is having two users editing the same document, to show real-time co-authoring:

In addition to all these great features, remember that each browser is storing it's own set of cookies and passwords. With this approach, I almost never have to type in a single password for anything I'm accessing, which makes my demos that much more seamless!

Installing sites as Apps

As you might imagine, the Administrator persona is key, since I often have to make configuration or policy changes as part of my demos. In my Admin browser profile, I'm able to navigate to the M365 admin portal and access, for instance, the Teams Admin Center. But given have often this occurs, I also leverage an Edge feature that lets me 'install' that particular website as what appears to be an App in my Windows environment:

After doing so, not only do I now have my Teams Admin Center in it's own app-looking window, but I even have Start Menu buttons pinned and ready to go so that I can later access the Admin Center with just one click! (It also remembers that the Admin Center 'app' should use the MOD Administrator profile)

These features are a must-have if you want to avoid fumbling around for passwords, and to make sure you're able to highlight multi-user scenarios in your demos.

More info:

  • See this in action in this 8-minute video I created for a customer to walk thru how this is done

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A reason to disappear into your Teams custom backgrounds

Ever seen people move so far back from their camera during a Microsoft Teams meeting that they disappear into the image behind them? Now that custom backgrounds in Teams are becoming more popular, I started thinking about this phenomenon and realized there's a potential benefit to this "blend into the shadows" effect...

What if the background I choose happens to be my profile pic? Perhaps with a few added graphics?:

In the case of the mockup above, I'm actually sharing my video feed during the meeting. But, I've closed the cover on my webcam (rather than moving away from the camera) so that only the background shows. I used a few Photoshop skills to create the image, then clicked "Add new" in the background settings to upload the image to Teams.

A few kool things about this:
  • Of course I support everyone turning on their live video feed during Teams meetings, but this could be a professional-looking compromise on those bad hair days :)

  • While I'm clearly trying to imitate a typical no-video-feed-in-Teams look here (black background and all), it gives me the chance to add things like company logo that a normal profile pic in a Teams meeting wouldn't provide.

  • The big win - I can show my profile pic in meetings outside my tenant! No more joining my customer's meetings as a guest with just the big "RW" circle showing.
What do you think?

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Microsoft Whiteboard vs OneNote

I've gotten a lot of questions from my government customers lately about how to use a whiteboard in Teams. In the government cloud, we're still waiting for the integration of the Whiteboard app in Teams, and so for now OneNote is one of the alternatives.

I discussed this on one of my Friday webinars, but at that time neglected to show the co-authoring experience. The video [below] demos that. Also coming soon is my session on OneNote that I delivered during the global Microsoft365 Virtual Marathon conference [video link here]. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Snatch your team members out of Outlook! - Using the Quote button for Teams Adoption

I talked today in my weekly webinar about using the Quote feature to increase Teams adoption, and kill minimize email. :)

This can help bring email conversations in Teams, or to help callout what parts of someone's message you're replying to. Check out the video below:

Sunday, March 8, 2020

One Files Tab to Rule Them All

The Problem: I need to access many different document libraries for the many project files that I oversee. But, I don't need to be in every Project Team's group, engaging in their conversation chats - I just need the files!  I also don't want to go clicking all over the place every time I'm looking for a project file library.

The Answer: Use "Add Cloud Storage" to turn one Files Tab into a 1-stop shop for accessing those other libraries!

Each link (seen below) will open that library in Teams (that's right, it's better than some bookmark that opens a new window), even if that library doesn't exist in Teams (ie, even if it's just some normal SharePoint Online library with no associated MS Team):

Permissions: You would of course need to have Permissions to access each library (all handled via SharePoint), and if you don't, clicking on the links will remind you of that:

Working with the files: Even better, I can still edit, co-author and chat with my team members on a document that lives outside Teams:

Channel 'Navigation': If you happen to be someone that likes to see 'buttons' for all your libraries listed down the left-hand side, you might consider making a Channel for each library. The Channel's only purpose would be to give you access to click on a link that opens that particular file library. For example:

Search: From a Search perspective, one downside to this approach is that my Teams search box is only going to find documents that exist in Teams that I'm a part of. I could still, at least, search my "NotTeams" documents by hitting the "Open in SharePoint" button and using the "Search this library" search box.

For organizations just starting with Teams, wondering how to incorporate all their existing pre-Teams SharePoint Online libraries, this could be the answer!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mention with ease! in Microsoft Teams

What if your hashtagMicrosoftTeams teammates are listed in the system as "Lastname, Firstname", but you want to use their first name when you @mention them in chat, and you're tired of all the backspacing? Use Ctrl+LeftArrow, then Backspace, and watch the magic happen... Did it work? :)

Friday, February 21, 2020

Not-so Invisible Files in Microsoft Teams

When I'm helping customers work with files in Microsoft Teams, I often remind them to make sure their files are all in folders that are aligned to Channels, because otherwise Teams users can't see them.

This is mostly true, but this video talks about how there are some caveats to this, and also shows what changes to make to get the best files experience:

Friday, January 31, 2020

Quickest way to put an email in Microsoft Teams from Outlook

Essentially, you Save As your email in Outlook, then hit Save As again, and drag your email from that window into your Teams message.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Teams Live Event - Jan 10 Q&A

To all those who joined me in this morning's Live Event, I wanted to respond to a question here, as promised:

To the question of whether you could join a Live Event via phone bridge, looks like the answer is No. There isn't a phone number generated for the purpose of being used as an alternative to connecting via web and/or Teams client.

Given that the phone bridge scenario is often used as a friction-less, non-techie way of joining calls/events, at least we know that someone only needs a web browser to join and get audio/video, and doesn't need the full Teams desktop client, or some other software install. They could also join via mobile app as well.

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Teams Gamification at the Columbus, OH User Group - Jan 2020

I'll be speaking next week at the local Columbus OH user group for Office365 on the topic of Microsoft Teams Gamification

It'll be a demonstration and overview of the topics I discussed in my blog post, showing the integration of Teams, PowerBI, Flow and more.

Find more detail at www.buckeyespug.com.  Come check us out!