Why do I receive invites to channel meetings in Microsoft Teams? (mystery solved)

For awhile I have been witnessing what I would call an oddity and something that I felt might be unexpected. As I covered in this post Microsoft Teams: Making your meetings matter Microsoft Teams has three different types of meetings (channel, private and meet now). Whenever someone on my team would schedule a channel meeting, for some odd reason everyone who is a member of the team would receive an email invitation. This is odd, because a channel meeting is a meeting that occurs in the open and lives in the channel of a team. It’s designed for anyone on the team to have permissions to attend the meeting if they choose to. If I wish to join, I can click the meeting in the channel to join. If the meeting doesn’t appear to be interesting, I don’t join – it’s as simple as that. Why would I need an email invitation?

If you have experienced this “issue”, you’ll want to keep reading!

After thinking perhaps this was user error or maybe even a bug, I brushed it off. However, it kept happening with other teams I would join and even hearing stories from other organizations that experience the same behavior – so I had to investigate. Before we go further, let’s first understand what a channel meeting is.

What is a Channel Meeting?

A Channel Meeting is a meeting that occurs within a channel in a team in Microsoft Teams and is out in the open, visible (and open) for anyone that is a member of the team to join (it’s “public”). For example, this can be a recurring team status meeting. When browsing the channel in my team, I can immediately see a meeting is occurring and can join and leave as I wish. This might also be useful if I want people to have awareness that a meeting is occurring, and based on the agenda they can choose whether or not there is value in them attending (similar to the meeting title and brief description on a monitor outside a physical meeting room). There are two types of channel meetings: scheduled and non-scheduled (meet now). For purposes of this blog, I’ll only address scheduled but see this blog here for more information on meet now.

Below is an example of what a channel meeting looks like if you were to browse the channel and see it. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening here:

  • On the right of the channel name (Go To Market Plan) the icon, indicating there is a meeting currently in-progress.
  • In the conversation feed, I can see the meeting name (Weekly Team Meeting) a button to join, the date/time it is scheduled for, and who the original organizer is.
  • Notice the two photos to the right of the meeting name? That’s indicating there’s two people currently in the meeting and who they are (in this case Alex and Adele).
  • Notice I can also see the chat that is occurring in the meeting, in real time. In this case, Megan has placed today’s agenda in the chat which I can see even though I’m not in the meeting! This helps me decide if I want to join.
  • Lastly, I can see the meeting timer for how long the meeting’s duration is thus far. In this case, the meeting has been going on for 9 minutes.

Important: The coolest feature of this? Once the meeting has ended, this information will be persistent! Talk about going back and reviewing the history of who attended, and the chat history of meetings!

At any time, I can click the button to see the meeting details where a detailed description and additional information.

Scheduling a Channel Meeting:

Let’s briefly talk about how to schedule a channel meeting. Channel meetings are scheduled using the Teams client (desktop or web). Note that at the time of this writing, scheduling channel meetings using the Microsoft Teams add-in for Outlook, is not available. To schedule the meeting, click on the meetings button on the left side of the client. Then at the bottom of your agenda view click the Schedule a Meeting button. Give the meeting a title, a description (agenda), and specify the channel you want to meet in. Do not invite specific individuals. Then click Schedule a Meeting. The meeting will appear in the channel as you saw in the example above. At this point, anyone can join.

You’ll now get an email notification… (and here’s why)

Remember, a team in Microsoft Teams has an Office 365 Group associated with it. When you are added to a Team as a member, you are also a member of the associated Office 365 Group. With a group, you have two ways to read messages sent to it, either by subscribing to it or by manually which will result in you receiving an email notification (just like a traditional distribution list) or by browsing out to access the group the group directly. (Note, with Teams messages sent to the team will not appear in the group, with the exception of calendar invites which I’ll touch on in a moment).

Here’s an example of “browsing to the group” using Outlook Web App:

Subscribing to a group

When you are a member of a group, you may automatically be subscribed to email notifications (based on how the admin has configured it). But with Teams, when you belong to the team and the underlying group, you’ll also receive notifications. When a message is sent to the group, and you subscribe to it, you’ll receive an email notification that has this in the footer of the message indicating it’s coming from the group:

How do I manage these notifications? Browse to the group in Outlook Web App, and click the gear icon on the far right side to display options:

Next, click Manage group email. This is where you can specify your preferences for subscribing to email notifications of the group.


Okay, so why am I receiving calendar invites from the channel meeting?

Let’s take a look at the preferences above, but with a lens on what radio button is checked by default. Notice the radio button Receive only replies to you and group events is checked. This means if a calendar event is scheduled in the group’s calendar – since you subscribe you will receive the calendar invite as an email! Changing the radio button to Don’t receive any group messages will allow you to no longer receive any email (including calendar invites) from the group and thus the team in Microsoft Teams.

Important: If you are the organizer of the channel meeting, you will always receive an email invitation because you are an organizer of the meeting.

Conclusion:

As part of your user training and adoption when rolling out Microsoft Teams to your organization, they are educated on this feature and develop an understanding of how meetings in Microsoft Teams work. See my blog post Microsoft Teams: Making your meetings matter for more information. Additionally, a best practice could also be developed to create the group first and using PowerShell administratively configure subscribe settings, then associate the team with it.

Microsoft Teams: Overview and Demonstration (Video)

I am often asked “What is the best way to provide an overview to my organization and show them a demo of Microsoft Teams?” Of course, the answer is “it depends” based on whether you are a Microsoft Partner, IT, finance, marketing, operations, sales, customer service, etc the way I show you and tell you about Microsoft Teams will be different (I tailor my pitch and demo to meet your specific interests and what you are looking to get out of the toolkit).

However, you may be looking for a generic pitch and demo of Microsoft Teams that you can show your customer (if you are a Microsoft Partner) or show around your organization internally to build momentum and interest around the product – or to even give you ideas about how to use the toolkit. This blog post will walk you through exactly that – two sections on an overview and a demo of Microsoft Teams!

Important: The goal of this post is to inspire you and give you ideas as to how to talk about Microsoft Teams and show people a demonstration. It is not intended to be the one stop shop nor is it the only way to conduct a show and tell of the product (it’s simply, one method of doing so).

Very Important:
If you are a Microsoft Partner, the deck I used and the demo script can be found at http://aka.ms/TeamworkPartner

Overview

The following video (click to watch) is ~14 minutes and is a recording of me giving you an overview of Microsoft Teams. The slides below are excerpts from that video.

The first three slides of the video is setting up the conversation – for purposes of the blog, let’s skip those and jump straight into the Microsoft Teams slides.

Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork in Office 365


How I think about this: For me, this boils down to four key pillars:

  • Chat, calls & meetings for today’s teams. What I find especially interesting, is that when I am having a team meeting, it occurs out in the open (public) area of a team within the channel and anyone can join at any time – you don’t need to be invited. (more on why openness is important to teamwork later)
  • Integrated Office 365 Apps. Brings the capability to integrate PowerPoint, Word, PowerBI,etc directly into Microsoft Teams so you never have to leave the application to get work done – and can easily share your thoughts, commentary and feedback in one place for others to see.
  • Customizable and extensible. This brings a huge opportunity to integrate and connect your line of business software to Microsoft Teams, more on this later.
  • Enterprise security, compliance and manageability. Security is built-in, compliance controls are supported, and manageability is integrated into Office 365 – enabling IT to easily control the viral growth of the application within your organization.

Integrated Office 365 apps


How I think about this: I never actually have to leave the Microsoft Teams interface to get work done. Using tabs and files I can co-author a document right within Microsoft Teams, make commentary and start threaded conversations that are contextual based on the document in question. Leveraging Microsoft Graph, I can browse for and access my recent documents and bring in email conversations to the team so the entire team can participate – oh and because it is all occurring within Teams, those conversations and files can be searched for later!

Customizable and Extensible

How I think about this: This is a major opportunity for Microsoft Partners and Microsoft customers to integrate line of business applications with Microsoft Teams thru bots, connectors and tabs. For example, I can use a bot running on the Microsoft Bot Framework (hosted in Azure) that allows a user to have a natural language conversation with, and will go out and query data in that line of business application and present it back in Teams. This really inspires me on how Microsoft Teams can contribute to your digital transformation and really enable hard business outcomes for your organization.

Enterprise security, compliance & manageability


How I think about this: Microsoft Teams is designed with security in mind as it encrypts data at all times (at-rest and in-transit) and includes support for multi-factor authentication and other security features such as Azure AD Conditional Access. In addition, it supports Office 365 compliance tools such as eDiscovery and legal hold (requires E3 or E5). For manageability – it’s all managed using the familiar Office 365 Admin Portal and PowerShell.

Demonstration

The following video (click to watch) is ~40 minutes in length that provides a demonstration of Microsoft Teams with a focus on Teamwork and chat-based workspace.

How I spend my day in Microsoft Teams (#Teamwork)

I often get asked “Matt what does a typical day in the life look like for you when using Microsoft Teams”? While that can certainly be a loaded question (because how and what I use Teams for can be different than others) I wanted to share with you my typical work flow as it may inspire you to look at your own workflow in a new way and how you interact with others on your team(s).

Important: While I would love to share screenshots of what my day looks like in Microsoft Teams, I have provided below example screenshots from my demo environment. These are intended to be a visual aid to help you imagine what that particular activity looks like. More importantly the text and story is intended to inspire you as to how you might be able to better use Microsoft Teams as a tool that not only enables you to do your best work, but help you to enjoy your work and be more productive. Lastly, my story below is only one of my stories as to what I do on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy, and as always I am looking forward to hearing your feedback and how you spend your day in Microsoft Teams.

7:30am (Morning coffee activities)

The day starts off browsing my Activity Hub in Microsoft Teams and checking to see if there are any new @ mentions where someone on any of the teams I subscribe to, needs me for any specific actions (i.e. review a document, add my comments to a status deck, etc). I also peruse to see if there are any team announcements from my leadership. Lastly I check the channels that have Yammer connectors that are related to the projects I am working on to see what others in the company are saying about the project. If there is a topic of interest, within the channel I may @ mention someone to then triage that Yammer message


8:30am (Team meetings)

I attend my daily stand up meeting with the project team to discuss status of tasks. Depending on the circumstance I may join the meeting from the Microsoft Teams smartphone app while commuting into the office. The project manager uses the Planner tab to record tasks and assign owners and due dates. She will facilitate the meeting around the Planner tab by sharing out her screen and moving tasks between buckets (In-Progress, At Risk, Completed). Someone on the team is taking notes in the OneNote tab as shared meeting notes that will be visible by all team members.



9:30am (Data analysis)

Using the PowerBI tab in my team channel, I review the project budget and spend data for the project and on another tab I check how much time each team member is spending on the project. I start a new conversation on the PowerBI report and @ mention the team to ask a few questions on hours and budget. I also @ mention the project manager to let her know the report is up to date and she can copy/paste it into the weekly executive status deck.


10:30am

A lively email conversation is occurring among team members where the review of a proposal is taking place. I noticed team members are editing the document and making comments and as a result, multiple versions are in the email thread. To ensure we have a single version and can all collaborate on the same thread and avoid forking, I forward the email to the team channel in Microsoft Teams and @ mention the channel to let everyone know to continue the conversation here.




 
 

11:30am (On-boarding)

We are having new team members join us tomorrow, so I need to up date the team wiki using the Wiki tab in the team channel. This is where all general information about the project is stored, acronyms/definitions, team contact information, project goals and objectives, etc. Once the new members join the team we will direct them to the Wiki tab to get started.


12:30pm

As part of this particular project, we need to professionally record videos of product demos and presentations. After working with the studio, I upload the raw footage to Microsoft Stream and then I create a Microsoft Stream tab in Teams that provides access to the video right within Teams. I announce to the team via an @ mention the footage is now available for their review and comments.


1:30pm

A task on the project involves creating a lab environment for our customers to learn new features of a product. This task is owned by a vendor/contractor and I realized they need access to the team so they can participate in conversations and collaborate on lab manuals and instruction documents. As a result, I validate they meet requirements set by my IT department to gain access to any proprietary information that is in the team, and I add the trusted individuals as a guest to the team in Microsoft Teams. I then @ mention the team welcoming them to the team.


2:30pm

Using the Microsoft Forms tab in Microsoft Teams, I create a survey that will be used with a pilot group of customers for the project to gather their insights and feedback. Of course, this is a draft of the survey so I will start a new conversation in the tab and @ mention several team members to gain their input on the survey.


3:30pm

There’s an upcoming team offsite next month in Redmond that requires us to carefully coordinate flights and hotels. Using the Kayak Bot added to the team channel, we can agree on flights and hotels and coordinate our travel schedules. I setup the bot, and start looking at flights and hotels.


4:30pm

At the end of the week on Friday there will be an executive review meeting of the project. To aid in putting together the deck required for the meeting using search in Microsoft Teams I look for updates from team members on various project tasks that stretch across conversations and files. Once I finish creating the draft PowerPoint deck I add it as a tab to the team channel and @ mention the team to ask for their input and review prior to the meeting.


5:00pm

To end the day, I have a 1:1 meeting with my manager. I place a private video call to him using Microsoft Teams and make the video feed full screen. I do this so he can see that I am not multi-tasking and that he has my complete attention (he also does the same). If needed we keep action items and talking points recorded in a shared OneNote notebook that we will reference throughout the meeting.

  

Microsoft Teams: Help! The team owner left the company and we don’t know what to do!

Have you been a member of a team (in Microsoft Teams), and the only team member who has owner permissions of that team leaves the organization? Unfortunately, if the owner of the team is no longer with the organization, you may feel like there’s no way to promote another member of the team to be an owner. I have a solution for you as there is a simple and easy way to do this, but you need to be the Office 365 Tenant Admin or contact your help desk.

When a team is created in Microsoft Teams, it also creates an Office 365 Group. That Office 365 Group provides the underlying permissions and membership required to access the team. Let’s say at the Contoso organization, Christie Cline Sr. VP Sales & Marketing, leaves the organization. Christie was the only team owner of the Project Del Mar team in Microsoft Teams. The team has other members, but no owners. Without a team owner, how will we add/remove members and manage the team?

Well, because we are using Office 365 Groups, the Office 365 Administrator can manually promote another member of the group (and consequently the team) with owner permissions – thus giving the team an owner who can now manage the team. Let’s look at how to do this.

Below you can see that Christie is currently the owner of the Project Del Mar team:

Christie leaves the company, and IT is notified to delete her user account in Office 365:

Once her user account is deleted, back in Microsoft Teams we can see that she is no longer listed – and no other owners are listed (just the members of the team):

We now need to promote another member of the team to be the team owner. Within the Office 365 Admin Portal browse to Groups and select the group (team) in question. I will browse to the Project Del Mar group and display its properties:

Under Owners click Edit -> Add Owners, select a new owner and click Save. (In this case I will select Alex Wilber as he is already a member of the team and has agreed to take over team ownership responsibilities).

After the change is complete, I will confirm in the group’s properties that Alex is now listed as an owner:

After waiting an hour for the new owner change to propagate, in the settings of the team (in Microsoft Teams) I can now see that Alex has been promoted to an owner:

Conclusion: Adding an owner back to a team is a simple and straight forward process but does require someone with the right administrator permissions in the Office 365 tenant.

Microsoft Teams in Education: Impacting our future

Growing up, I was not the best student and was always unorganized and ill prepared. Looking back, if only I had the type of technology and resources that are available for today’s learners. One of these tools is Microsoft Teams and Office 365.

Microsoft Teams is thriving in the business space and quickly becoming a mission critical tool for how teams collaborate with one another and get work done. There’s another interesting application for Microsoft Teams though, and that’s using it in education to as a tool for learners to do their best work. I recently explored this as I am working with a local school in my community to help modernize learning using technology, and I am blown away by the cool factor of this solution when used in an education environment. (see Immersive classroom experience in Microsoft Teams rolling out to Office 365 for Education customers worldwide)

This blog post is just a quick reference of resources available for you to get started in Microsoft Teams in education and it’s major capabilities. I highly recommend reviewing the resources below (especially the 1-hour training course) before attempting to use this in your environment. Enjoy!

Watch the following video for an overview of Microsoft Teams in education:


Your master resource for all things Microsoft Teams in education is the following website: https://education.microsoft.com/courses-and-resources/resources/meet-microsoft-teams on this website you will find information on the following:

  • An awesome
    1-hour introduction to Teams course
    (watch this before proceeding)
    • Module 1: Getting Started with Microsoft Teams
    • Module 2: Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) meet Microsoft Teams
    • Module 3: Manage Teacher Workflows in Microsoft Teams
    • Module 4: Creating a Class in Microsoft Teams
    • Module 5: Customize Learning using Apps in Microsoft Teams
    • Module 6: Increase student engagement with Conversations in Microsoft Teams
  • Getting started guides (review these first before using Microsoft Teams):
      • Understanding Teams
      • How to introduce Teams to your class
      • Customize Teams for your unique scenario
      • Understand Microsoft Teams (core values, differentiators, definitions)
      • Team membership, roles and settings
      • How to deploy Microsoft Teams (tenant-wide settings), client distribution, licenses.
      • Launch pilot teams (form team ambassadors stage and launch pilots, identify pilot teams, identify ambassadors)
      • Launch institution wide (kickoff meetings,staging,integration,shift work, raise awareness,etc)
      • Learn about scenarios (school improvement advisory committees, incident response plans, social and emotional learning programs, teacher evaluations)
      • How to introduce Teams to your peers and customizing for your unique scenario

Understanding the types of teams

There are 4 types of teams in Microsoft Teams in education:

  • Classes Teachers and students collaborating on group projects, assignments, etc. In this team you will two additional tabs (along with the standard conversations and files tabs):
    • A OneNote Class Notebook for each student to perform their work in and for the teacher to upload new content such as handouts and deliver interactive lessons. What’s really cool is a teacher can give feedback on homework directly in the notebook.




    • Assignments tab where you can create and manage assignments for the class.




  • PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) Educators collaborating within a professional learning community. In addition to the standard tabs you will have a PLC Notebook tab.


  • Staff Members Staff leaders and staff members collaborating on school administration and development




  • Anyone Students and school employees collaborating in interest groups and clubs

Conclusion: Microsoft Teams in education is game changing for not only the student for the educator and administrator as well. Review the fantastic resources above and if you have questions please feel free to submit a comment. Enjoy!

–Matt

The new culture of work

I wrote about how I invest in my career and one of the strategies is watching the Modern Workplace video series produced by Microsoft. I recently watched an episode titled Global Workforce: The new culture of work that I felt was really worth sharing with my readers and fellow peers in IT. In this blog post I’d like to share with you what I learned and inspire you to explore this topic deeper and what this means for your organization.

In the video Microsoft host Alex Bradley interviews two guests from the industry: Kelly Joscelyne Chief Talent Officer, Mastercard and Cam Marston President, Generational Insights who offer interesting insights on the topic of generational and cultural differences in the workforce.

Here’s what I learned:

(These notes are a mixture of quotes from the speakers that resonated with me and my own interpretation)

Understanding generational and cultural differences is a dilemma for most leaders

Businesses that have a globally distributed workforce with employees located anywhere, these employees are most likely also customers of your business. This means that by better understanding your employees, you also better understand your business.

Generations have biases on technical expertise

As humans we may develop bias that some generations are more technically savvy than others. A critical function of business, technology is owned by youth and is unprecedented.

Expectations differ, such as with speed of realization

Life stages of generations influence expectations of technology. Different generations have different life stages, but all humans want the same things – compliments, reward, recognition, etc. Generations are actually similar, but what’s happening in the world is different – and many share the same experiences. Going through life stages changes a generation’s perceptions.

There are 3 common hurdles:

Cultural Sensitivity: What are the sensitivities with generations? How can you tap into everyone in the organization and be inclusive but yet spur innovation that is diverse? Lack of awareness.

Social Distance: Leading teams across borders. How do you build trust in teams that aren’t in the office (or same location as you?) this can be difficult. “Water cooler” talk is important to social health and important to build effective teams. How do you do this virtually?

Communication and Tone: What’s the feedback loop look like within the company? What about when emails or social channels are used? Communication can easily be misinterpreted between cultures.

Cultural Divide

Leaders must gain a deeper understanding of their people and finding time to do so is extremely important. Finding collaboration tools helps to bridge cultures. Leaders must ensure that everyone has a voice while being sensitive to cultural tendencies. You have to co-create and be inclusive.

Build trust by being human, having empathy and following thru (and building trust). Spend quality time with your people.

People want to work for an organization that touches their need for cause and purpose. What I found really interesting: “perks by tech companies have trickled into traditional workplaces”. Providing a connected purpose for employees is critical but employers find it difficult to provide the perks.

Wrap Up: This portion of the video was about 22 minutes in length, and I found it interesting – certainly talking points to use. This gives me ideas for how using technology to build the humans in teams together to be empowered to do great things together.

The remainder of the video was an overview of Microsoft 365 by Jack Elmorm from Microsoft. He delivered some great demos on Microsoft Teams and how teams communicate in different ways, 3D in PowerPoint for visual aids, Azure Cognitive Services for language translation, live language translation in PowerPoint using subtitles to multiple languages during a presentation (audiences can follow along the presentation on their own device, in their own language). This was really cool!

Enjoy!

–Matt

Guest Activity Notification in Microsoft Teams

Guest Access in Microsoft Teams allows people from outside your organization to seamlessly collaborate with you in the same team in Microsoft Teams as if they were an employee. For guests this could be contractors, vendors, customers, etc. Those guests may be a guest member to many teams outside of their organization – so how do they know when there is new activity occurring in those other teams, without having to switch tenants in the Microsoft Teams client?

If you are using the Microsoft Teams desktop client, anytime you are @ mentioned, or there is a team or channel announcement (team or channel @ mention), a new notification badge will appear above your photo. This is a nice feature as I can be working in my primary tenant (perhaps my company’s tenant) but if you @ mention me (my “guest account”) in your tenant I will be notified and can then make a decision to switch tenants and check the activity hub.

In the lower left corner of the Microsoft Teams desktop client, above my profile photo will be a notification badge. This notification badge is essentially a counter and will display the number of new unread notifications I have in my other tenants that I am a guest of. Here’s an example where I have 3 unread notifications:

 

Clicking on my profile photo will expand the menu, and I can see there are 3 unread notifications in the Microsoft (Guest) tenant:

This is a quick and easy way to stay organized when it comes to guest access in Microsoft Teams and keeping track of activity in other tenants. Enjoy!

Microsoft Teams: Sorry, I was talking on mute.

Have you been in a virtual meeting and you started talking, but wondered why no one was answering you, and the call kept going with you unacknowledged? Well, I feel your pain, it happens to me all the time too. It’s called talking on mute, where the microphone is muted yet I did not realize it was muted, and I started talking only to hear nothing in return from my intended audience.

Today, I was on a call (in Microsoft Teams) where this happened – but something magical occurred when I was talking on mute. Microsoft Teams notified me automatically to let me know I was talking on mute! For someone who has “talkingonmute-itis“, this notification is magical and exciting!

Essentially it works pretty much as described. If your microphone is on mute and you start talking, a message will appear in the meeting window: “Your microphone is muted”. Here’s what that looks like:


Game changing, enjoy!

–Matt

Wait, Don’t Click Send Yet! (Considering the Impact of Email)

We have all been there. Inundated with email throughout the day, our inboxes can range from having dozens to hundreds to thousands of unread messages in them – and it never seems to stop. During the day with back to back meetings, collaborating with others, travel, etc it can be difficult to check and respond to email during the typical workday. Sometimes this leaves us with checking and responding to email in the late evenings and weekends, as this is the only time we have time to sit down and focus after the day’s activities are over.

Throughout my career I have formed a habit of doing exactly this as I am sure many of those reading this have as well – it has become natural, and something that is expected. Let’s also not forget how email is connected to our mobile devices and we are constantly checking to see if any new messages have arrived (or immediately grabbing the device once it buzzes).

Recently I have recognized the impact of sending emails late at night or on the weekends have downstream to the recipients of my emails. In this blog post I will discuss the challenges of this, the impact and how I have evolved this habit into a new “best practice” for myself. I hope in reading this you will be inspired to evolve and develop your own best practices for how to best handle email in your life.

Why is sending an email bad?

To be clear, sending an email is not a bad thing, not at all. But, sending an email after the recipient has ended work for the day can have major impact downstream to your recipients and others who read the email. Let’s break this down into a typical flow of sending an email after business hours:

(Note, the following is just an example)

  1. I need to send an email to a co-worker because I need status on a project. I need this information because I have an upcoming status review meeting with management.
  2. I haven’t had a chance to send it yet today due to meetings, but it’s now 9pm and I need to get this out (because I feel the sooner it’s sent the better, as it’s off my plate and my co-worker might respond faster than if I were to wait until tomorrow).
  3. I spend 5-10 minutes composing the email asking for the specific status information I need. I click send.
  4. My co-worker is logged off their computer, but he has email setup on his smartphone and receives a new message notification (along with a ringtone and vibration).
  5. The co-worker hears the notification, and decides to read the email. He then spends roughly 20 minutes composing the email (researching the status, gathering information, etc).

Impact it has on me:

Impact: The most important item to mention here, is that I am working after hours. The question becomes, why was I working so late? The fact that I am working late creates additional (and unnecessary) stress. Stress can have a negative contribution to health and job satisfaction.

Questions I ask myself: What can I do to reduce the time I spend working after hours? What can I do during the workday that can prevent me from having to work late? Why do I feel I need to send this email right now?

Impact: After I send the email, the recipient will more than likely reply – generating additional email messages that will arrive in my inbox. This creates more work for me to then triage and go through.

Questions I ask myself: Was there a better way to get the information I need rather than sending the email? Is there a different method I can use? Does it have to be through an email? Lastly, does my company really want me to be working this much after hours?

Impact it has on others:

Impact: The obvious downstream impact is on the recipient themselves. The recipient may now start to feel stressed that the email needs to be replied to immediately.

Questions I ask myself: What is the recipient doing currently during this time (at night or on the weekend). How likely are they to reply to the email? By sending this email, am I taking time away from their family? By sending this email, am I creating unnecessary stress for them? Am I going to somehow damage the relationship or create resentment by sending this email? How frequently do I send email after hours to this one individual? Lastly, how important is the email and can it wait until the next business day?

Okay, but I still need to send the email:

If the email must be sent and there is no other option, I developed a few new personal best practices for how to send the email but ensure it doesn’t arrive until the next business day. There are two methods for which to do this: scheduled and save in drafts.

Scheduled:

Outlook has a useful feature that allows you to schedule the day and time for when you want the email to be delivered. After you click send, the email will remain in your outbox until the scheduled day and time and then it will be automatically sent. I find this feature particularly useful as I can still work late at night or on the weekend (or even on a plane) and still triage email as needed. For more information on how to schedule emails in Outlook see the following article.

Draft:

I use this method frequently as I like to reply to emails or compose new messages but save them in my drafts folder. On the next business day, I have time set aside in the morning to review the emails in my draft folder, and make any necessary modifications before I send them. This time is blocked on my calendar as “Matt Time” and is intended for administrative tasks such as responding to emails.

Another best practice I developed when sending the email is disabling the ability for recipients to reply all to the thread, and therefore generating more email traffic than necessary. When I send an email to a large number of recipients or to a distribution list, enabling Rights Management Service on the message and selecting “Do Not Reply All” disables the Reply All button. For more information on how to do this, click here.

What other options do I have besides sending the email?

In my daily work, I have many communication tools available to me and based on how I want to communicate will dictate which tool I use:

Microsoft Teams: If I am working on a project team, or need to communicate within my direct team, posting the message to Microsoft Teams and @ mentioning the specific individual may be a better option. Perhaps the email I wanted to send was more informational to the team, and no action is required (i.e. a newsletter, news article, or general “FYI email”) then Microsoft Teams might be the best place to post it (remember you can send an email to a channel in Microsoft Teams).

Yammer: If I have a question about something, but I am not sure who to ask, posting to Yammer may be the better option since everyone in the company subscribes to Yammer and I may find the right subject matter expert. Here’s an article I wrote about thinking through how being social at work makes me more productive.

Phone Call: As simple as it sounds, personally I forgot how effective calling someone can be. The phone call may take less than a few minutes and can be very effective by getting you the information you need or allowing you to share your information with the recipient.

Conclusion: Taking the time to think through if sending an email is really necessary can have a huge impact. However, if you must send the email, consider scheduling it or saving the draft for the next business day. Lastly, consider minimizing the audience or disabling the ability to reply all. I hope you find value in this blog post, please feel free to leave comments if you have your own best practices that you have developed.

Microsoft Teams: PowerShell Support

As an IT Professional, I am always looking for ways to automate tasks and make daily operations simple. When it comes to Microsoft Teams, being able to automate the creation of teams, channels, and settings within a team is critical to the success of Microsoft Teams within an organization. PowerShell support for Microsoft Teams allows you to do exactly that, and it gives me additional ideas to make the administration of Teams easier:

  • Automatically provision new teams, new channels within the team, add members and set options such as a picture, and member permissions.
  • Create a self-service tool that uses PowerShell on the back-end to make creating teams easy for end-users but with controls for IT. For example, a user browses to a website form to create a team. PowerShell can check for a team that has a duplicate name, to ensure users aren’t creating teams with the same name. I see this as one simple example but is powerful when we start to think about governance we can provide to the business on Microsoft Teams.
  • If I need to add a large number of members to a team, using PowerShell I can add those members in bulk from a .csv
  • Standardize settings within each team that is created.
  • What’s your idea for using PowerShell with Microsoft Teams? (Tell me in the comments below!)

UPDATE: 12/2/2018: PowerShell module updated to 0.9.6 now allows admins to manage any team, even when they are not the team owner.

UPDATE 12/28/2017: Documentation on GitHub
https://github.com/MicrosoftDocs/office-docs-powershell/tree/master/teams/teams-ps/teams

In this blog I will take you through how to download, install and run the a few examples in the Microsoft Teams PowerShell module. At the time of this writing, the following cmdlets are available:

Install-Module MicrosoftTeams


At the prompt type Y and press Enter:


If you are prompted for untrusted repository, type A (for Yes to All) and press Enter. The module will install.


Once installed, we can now connect to Microsoft Teams. To connect type the following and press Enter:

Connect-MicrosoftTeams

 

At the Microsoft Teams PowerShell Cmdlets dialog box, type your Office 365 credentials and press Enter


Once connected to the Microsoft Teams instance in your Office 365 tenant, the following will be displayed:


You can now start to run cmdlets, or scripts against Microsoft Teams! Note, at any time you can type Get-Command -Module MicrosoftTeams to see a full list of commands available:


To return a list of the teams in the environment, type the following and press Enter:

Get-Team

 Note: Within PowerShell, teams are referenced as a GroupID for the underlying Office 365 Group.


For the next example, let’s create a new team for marketing employees in San Diego that is a private team. Type the following command and press Enter:

New-Team -DisplayName “San Diego Marketing” -AccessType Private

 The team will be created with an Office 365 GroupID assigned:


Note: The GroupID is important when you wish to assign classification policies to the underlying Office 365 group, in addition to when you need to remove the team among other things.

Within the Microsoft Teams client (teams.microsoft.com) we can see the team has been created:


To remove the team, type the following and press Enter. Where <GroupID> is the GroupID of the team you created:

Remove-Team -GroupID <GroupID>


Conclusion: These are some of the basic functions you can perform with the Microsoft Teams PowerShell Module. Over time I’ll be adding additional scenarios with PowerShell – if there’s one you are interested in leave me a comment and I would be happy to write about it!