Are you tripping over in Teams?

The story can go something like this:

  • Organisation completes Exchange migration — minimal user disruption, pops ups or a few tasks like reconfiguring a device, some new Apps to try and potentially supported adoption strategy.
  • Organisation enables Intune or MFA — people feel some pain. Brains have to be stretched to understand some new concepts however this is getting easier now that people have codes to their mobile for online banking and the like.
  • Organisation upgrades to Win 10 or Office 2016 — oooh new features, and some things to work out. People take on what they need to so they can continue their work. It’s like going through a maze, you hit a feature you don’t get, you shuffle back and take another route instead of diving in and embedding some change. Anomalies/ outliers absorb, enhance and are the ones who push through and understand much more. A mix of whining, excitement and business as usual.
  • Organisation rolls out Microsoft Teams — they figure people are well into Office 365 and will get it. Oh dear. Gaps in knowledge and lack of confidence shine through. People learn to chat. Phew. But more than that? It becomes a mess, and after a few weeks usage drops.

What I am getting at here is that is can be likely that there is a large portion of your users who have been on the journey but are not deeply across Office 365. And its showing up when they move in to Teams.

Before Teams, they attach a document to an email instead of sharing a link for the 50th time and just put a smile emoji acknowledging they are ‘being bad’ but not changing.

Before Teams, they download/ upload documents across sites and libraries. Many people forget the duplicates they are creating until there is a chaotic collaboration attempt. Just a few weeks ago I heard “I was working on the urgent financial report in the SharePoint library and the others were doing it in a copy in a Team library. Now we have 2 copies, due today and so many edits to make to merge them”.

Before Teams, people hide behind workarounds. They learn the must-have functionality. Who wants to be the one that looks silly in a conference call, or cannot connect to the meeting room tech. Things that show public competence become a priority. The rest is the daily behaviours at their desk that we don’t see.

When you move to Teams, old ways (I’m trying to not say ‘bad’ ways) can turn this fantastic collaboration opportunity into confusion and chaos.

Take sharing documents with links. How many people understand the features in creating a unique link to share a document? To remove editing or have it be a link to just a specific person or group?

These links are powerful. I love how I can create a link to something stored in my OneDrive, or a Teams library, and paste it anywhere. I can paste it in another Team conversation thread, an email, a Teams chat. However I can be quite alone in this way of working. The common behaviour is to upload duplicates all over the place and that alone can be painful and unproductive.

Then you take OneNote and Planner and stick them as a tab in a Team for a group who don’t understand the purpose or use. And things fizzle out.

It has such potential but people don’t know about them yet and don’t try. They back away and go back to the old ways.

The biggest challenges is the ‘what to store where’ dilemma. I have seen organisations get all excited and tell me “we are moving all our file shares to Teams”, then 6 months later it’s confusing and the new phase is “we are moving all the documents from Teams to a business unit SharePoint sites”.

Get all the ducks in a row before diving in. Have really clear governance and communicate it visually to your people — why a Team, what goes on in a Team and what is stored elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. I love people. I love Office 365. It’s not about me swanning around being a perfect super user, pointing out how all the other users are wrong and don’t get it. I am a person who is passionate about these projects and wants to see success. I also have many faults 🙂

I want users to step into Teams, have the context and support, move across into new ways of working and thrive. So think about if your people are ready, if you have the organisation ready, and dive in to thrive.

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