I finally tried Microsoft Loop. My experience and challenges.

While I did get briefly across Loop with all the noise about it a while ago, I hadn’t yet really incorporated any components into my daily work. See, I have been on projects that were deep in the flow and focused on delivering other scope to clients, not driving things like new features. It’s that typical hesitation to try something new when things are in motion and not feeling the desire to change…. Hmm… I’m sounding a bit like a resistant end-user!

Currently I am working with a client where the last few weeks we are deep in testing.  This week during a meeting I immediately felt there was a use case for trying Loop in our bi-weekly catchups for capturing things we want to raise in the testing meetings. This is beyond our formal issues register and testing process. It’s the adhoc ideas, thoughts, questions that we want to bring into the next catch-up.

So, how did I try Loop?

Mid-meeting when we considered an idea, and how we would capture this and follow-up the next week I suddenly had a brain-wave. This Loop thing I have seen could be handy here! And thus became my first experience using it. Let’s explore.

Firstly, when I got the idea, I had to find it.

In this customer tenant I had noticed the Loop icon somewhere but not really had time to click and try. The first challenge was to work out where it was, how to trigger it and work with a component.

See, my expectations of Loop was it would add value to meetings. I thought it was going to be ideal for capturing dot points or numbered items as part of a meeting. Naturally to find this I went to our scheduled reoccurring meeting invite.

In the Microsoft Teams calendar, I went to the meeting and opened what I often refer to as the ‘meeting hub’.

No luck.

In the meeting there was no Loop icon.

Then I moved into the chat area of Microsoft Teams and a specific chat history with a colleague. Interestingly the Loop icon is there.


So I clicked on it and created a loop component with a random few dot points. She immediately edited and we could easily use Loop in our 1:1 chat. However this doesn’t suit our use case and I was determined to further explore.

Next test was I went into a chat from a meeting earlier that day. Loop icon exists there.

So it was very clear Loop exists in chat. But what about meetings?
My work around was to go to a meeting, open the chat and simply a full stop to trigger that meeting chat to open in my chat area. When I did this, I could then trigger Loop in the chat for an upcoming team meeting.
 

While this worked, the thing I was most disappointed with is I feel Loop would be ideal in the meeting hub. I would love to book a meeting, then go to that area and create a Loop component. Having to feel like it’s a workaround to trigger the meeting chat wasn’t a smooth experience and one that I know many end-users will find confusing.

Having Loop in 1:1 chat was easy to use, however I am not sure how often I will capture points with a person, rather than in a group app, document, wiki, notes.

What are some of the other user cases?

I was most excited about the use of Loop for quick thoughts, meeting prep, taking down notes, ideas and the many ways it can support meetings. I have heard that one idea is for capturing and working with a block of text and people all working on it. This I am curious to see as my immediate confusion again would be “where is it?”. This I will dive into another time. 

So, who has Loop?

Another key thing I am reviewing is where my client is on the roadmap journey with Microsoft – are they behind the features available to a lot of bloggers, MVPs or others in earlier releases? Is it me? Am I using less at this client and is that why my Loop experience seemed a bit lacklustre?

To be honest, this morning I tested in my business tenant which is an earlier ring than general, and it was similar.

I am curious if there is a different earlier ring or release experience that those raving about Loop have that I am missing out on… another area to explore.

This is a key point and worth looking into if you are reading about new features and interested in trying across your organisation. Where are you on the roadmap? When something is released, do you have it quickly or does it take 6 months to arrive in your tenant? Also, for some clients, I see it spread slowing across their users. It can be frustrating when half your organisation has a feature that hasn’t arrived to others. A big adoption blocker and strange experience. Be careful when you are swept up in the hype of something new when the reality is people are blogging about a feature they have in early release that could be months to hit your tenant.

And finally, key considerations for adoption of Loop

Yes, my passion area and focus in a lot of my work is adoption. How do we translate all of this to people, the end-users, and make it be useful, understood, and have uptake if desired across the organisation.

The challenge with Loop I see, is developing content to help people understand it. Sure, you can click on it and whip up a table or some dot points, but the confusion lies in:

  • What is a component
  • Where is it saved
  • How is it shared
  • How and when to use it

It is then important to explore what it could replace – meeting actions, agenda, capturing information. What are we doing now that could be enhanced by using Loop components? This is key.

Along with this, a critical aspect is – What happens after Loop is used in a meeting – where does the data go. A key example is meeting actions. Sure, capture them with Loop in a table, dot points or however you like. After the meeting it doesn’t alert people to do things (like with a planner card) and how would people know where to access those actions in future to review. And even if it alerts you by email, that doesn’t integrate with actions in Planner or To Do, so we’ve now created another thing.

Finally the key thing I have with it immediately – if we use it in a chat, it moves with the thread. So you need to know to pin the Loop component to have it sticky and easy to access. Otherwise I predict frustration with the data and how to easily access it.

Overall I think it is a great feature. I see opportunity and when I initially read about it, and watched some videos a while ago I was excited. However, I just don’t feel that what I have accessed and tested in my tenant and initial experience matches the hype. I look forward to working with this further, but first I have to push through this initial confusion and challenges with the initial experience. And that concerns me for bringing broader users on this journey.

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