How to use Microsoft Teams for consistency with dispersed sites
It’s one of the most consistent complaints we hear – teams struggle with consistency of documentation and implementation across dispersed sites. They’re bogged down in tangles of document reviews. There are different versions held in individual email accounts. With ever-busier work days no one knows what others are working on. It’s hard to coordinate catch ups, so everyone goes about things in their own preferred way.
In a recent engagement with a State Government department, the regional training team wanted to get smarter about how they collaborated on and delivered training.
The new team was formed by pulling together an expert from each area so they could train the Department on best practice. They were located across the state of Queensland, sometimes up to 1,800km apart. Without a common history or way of working the distance took its toll. Work on the training was stilted and slow. Each phase began only once the previous one was complete – usually, after the lead chased everyone for their contribution. It was frustrating for everyone.
We sat with them to understand their blockages and priority scenarios. The solution: Microsoft Teams and the Office 365 suite.
Reducing email overload
In just a couple of weeks, the group reduced their email clutter significantly by using Teams instead for document collaboration discussions.
They clocked up 34 replies across 9 conversations in that short space of time. Pause a moment to consider how many ‘Reply to’ or ‘Reply to All’ emails that saved their inboxes.
In addition, the conversations, context, and decisions remain in the ‘persistent chat’ for other team members to discover when they need to which puts everyone on the same page.
The holy grail: a single source of truth
The main job of this dispersed network is to work together to create training resources for regional staff. They must develop consistent messages around prioritised topics for the Department.
In the old way, people would email different versions to each other, never 100% sure they were working on the latest one. People would save local versions and edit them to suit their preference, resulting in inconsistent messaging.
Today, everyone easily reviews, edits and co-authors the one single document stored in their Teams Channel. They’re able to access the version history and understand the evolution of the document via the attached chat.
They are also creating items faster than before because they can immediately see feedback from the entire team and action it even as others are working on their part. It’s enabled a more agile creation process and the participants are loving the difference.
No one left behind
The team leading this charge towards a modern workplace acknowledged early it would not be as simple as flicking a switch.
To make sure we were bringing everyone along for the ride we coordinated a combination of coaching sessions and self-service spaces. The coaching sessions meant colleagues new to the technology weren’t going in blind. We were able to show them the elements of their new teamwork hub that were most relevant to their key processes.
Then we helped the team set up a Support Channel for proactive feedback, self-service support, sharing their wins and tips and tricks. In just three weeks the team created over 100 posts, learning by doing, and increasing the team’s shared knowledge and ownership of the change.
While this is the beginning of the journey for this network of colleagues, they are showing all the hallmarks of a team who are focused on better outcomes.
Seeing an obvious improvement to their day has driven participation, and adoption of the new process and toolset.
They’re already moving on to new use cases having recently tested their ‘hub’ to onboard new staff, helping them to get up and running and understand the team’s context incredibly easily.
The next steps for this team are to start using Microsoft Teams and Office 365 for day to day activities and to solve other issues like too many meetings with not enough meeting rooms.