The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption (episode 4)

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Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded episode 4 in our podcast miniseries The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption. The user adoption Q&A episode focuses on answering listener questions, including:

  • How do I work with (or around) executives that don’t support our SharePoint/Office 365 efforts?
  • How do I build a user adoption strategy when my own leader doesn’t want to support it as an ongoing service offering?
  • How do we meld user adoption programs after a merger or acquisition?
  • How can we encourage geographically-dispersed staff to engage in local Office 365 community events?
  • How do we balance user adoption needs (e.g. speed of delivering new Office 365 groups) with the need for governance and rigor?

We hope you enjoy episode 4!

Want to know more about our podcast miniseries?
The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption explores the challenge of driving Office 365 adoption at the organizational level. In episode 1, we dispelled the idea that adoption is an urban myth. We explained why the traditional “build it and they will come” IT model doesn’t work and outlined why organizations must invest in user adoption as an ongoing service.

Episode 2 focused on organizing and facilitating user adoption events. We shared creative ideas for hosting internal user group events, including virtual or in-person office hours, “lightning round” demos, and hack-a-thons (aka innovation day events). We also discussed the importance of making these events your own by tying them to your company culture.

Episode 3 focuses on strategies for building user adoption campaigns to support Office 365 product rollouts. We discuss how user personas can help you identify product use cases and key product features, share practical ideas for generating user excitement, and talk about the importance of running Office 365 pilot programs to road-test your communications and training plans.

Previous posts in this series:

SharePoint Fest DC – May 2019

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It’s almost time for SharePoint Fest DC 2019! I’m excited to head back to Washington DC in a couple of weeks for this year’s conference. It’ll be a busy week; I’ll be delivering two workshops, three sessions, and recording a podcast episode with Daniel Glenn. If you haven’t registered for SharePoint Fest DC yet, don’t miss your chance. You can even save $100 on your registration with discount code Haase100.

Here’s a list of the workshops and sessions I’ll be delivering:

  • Driving adoption of Office 365: From idea to implementation (half-day workshop)
  • Drive Digital Workplace Improvements with Innovation Games (full-day workshop with Liz Sundet)
  • Keep it Going! Driving Office 365 User Adoption as a Service
  • Next-gen user adoption: Leveraging hack-a-thons to drive creative Office 365 engagement
  • The Peter Pan complex: Determining when a SharePoint site should grow into a hub site

For more information (including abstracts), check out the conference agenda.

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Daniel Glenn and I will also be recording episode 4 of our Office 365 adoption podcast, Your User Adoption Questions Answered, from 8:00-9:00am on Thursday, May 2nd. We’ll be answering your user adoption questions during this episode. Go to https://go.re365.show/CoffeeChatQ to submit your questions–or plan to attend our podcast recording live at the conference.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities: A community to love

20190406_085439We kicked off our 21st SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event this morning! We’re fortunate to have such a great assortment of attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers come together to make the event so special. Today’s event was one of our largest, with:

  • 40 sessions
  • 33 speakers
  • 8 tracks (Office 365, Flow, Power Platform, Teams, Dev, IT Pro, General, ISV)
  • 600+ registered attendees

Check out event pics below. And stay tuned for information on our Fall 2019 event (date TBD).

The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption (episode 3)

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Daniel Glenn and I are releasing episode 3 in our podcast miniseries The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption! The episode, titled User Adoption Planning for Office 365 Pilots & Rollouts, was recorded at the 2019 MVP Summit. It focuses on strategies for building user adoption campaigns to support Office 365 product rollouts. We discuss how user personas can help you identify product use cases and key product features, share practical ideas for generating user excitement, and talk about the importance of running Office 365 pilot programs to road-test your communications and training plans.

We hope you enjoy episode 3!

Have a user adoption question?
During our next episode, we’ll be answering user adoption questions. Want to have your question featured on the episode? Submit it now at https://go.re365.show/CoffeeChatQ

Want to know more about our podcast miniseries?
The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption explores the challenge of driving Office 365 adoption at the organizational level. In episode 1, we dispelled the idea that adoption is an urban myth. We explained why the traditional “build it and they will come” IT model doesn’t work and outlined why organizations must invest in user adoption as an ongoing service.

Episode 2 focused on organizing and facilitating user adoption events. We shared creative ideas for hosting internal user group events, including virtual or in-person office hours, “lightning round” demos, and hack-a-thons (aka innovation day events). We also discussed the importance of making these events your own by tying them to your company culture.

Previous posts in this series:

Build it with Microsoft Flow: Get a notification when your manager posts in Yammer

yammerWe’re all busy at work, and staying up-to-date on new posts in our favorite Yammer groups isn’t easy. Fortunately, Microsoft Flow can help! I previously shared a blog post on using Flow to monitor Yammer and send email notifications when a specific “watch word” was used. Now let’s take look at another common scenario: setting up Flow to send you an email each time your manager posts in Yammer.

Here’s an overview of what the flow looks like:

Yammer manager flow-01

And here are the steps to re-create the flow:

  1. Create a new flow from blank (aka not from a template).
  2. Add the trigger When there is a new message in a group.
  3. In the Group Id field, select the name of the Yammer group you want to monitor.
    Note: This flow doesn’t monitor multiple Yammer groups at once; it triggers to run when a new message is posted in a single Yammer group. If you’d like to run this flow across multiple Yammer groups, you’ll need to copy your completed flow and create a new flow for each group you want to monitor. The process for copying your finished flow is provided in step 22. 
  4. In the Network Id field, select the name of your Yammer network.
  5. Add the Get user details action. In the User ID field, add the Message List Message Sender field. (This action pulls the email address for the user who posted the Yammer message.)
  6. Add the Get my profile action. (This action obtains your email address and identifying information. You’ll need this to pull your manager’s information and configure your email notification later in the flow.)
  7. Add the Get manager action. In the User field, insert the dynamic content User Principal Name. (This action obtains your manager’s email address.)
  8. Add the Compose action. You’ll be using this action to translate your manager’s email address into all lowercase letters. Odd I know, but this ensure you don’t have any capitalization-based mismatches in your flow.
  9. Place your cursor in the Compose action Inputs field.
  10. Click the Expression option in the config box.
  11. Under the String functions header, choose toLower(text). If you don’t see the toLower option, click the See more link in the String functions header bar.
    Yammer manager flow-02
  12. Click the Add dynamic content option in the config box.
  13. Under the Get manager header, choose Mail.
    Yammer manager flow-03
  14. Click the blue OK button to save your expression.
  15. Add a Condition action.
  16. In the Value box, add the Yammer User Email field.
  17. In the Choose a value box, add Output.
  18. Add a Send an email action in the If yes box.
  19. In the To field of your email, insert the Get My Profile Mail dynamic content. You may need to select “See more” under the Get my profile header to see the Mail content.
  20. Add additional details for your notification (e.g. subject line, email verbiage, etc.).
  21. Save and test your flow.
  22. Optional. If you’d like to set up this flow for a second Yammer group, follow these additional steps:
    1. Go to the information page for your flow.
    2. Click on the More dropdown and select Save As.
      Yammer manager flow-04
    3. Specify a name for your copied flow and click Save.
    4. Return to your My Flows page and edit your newly-copied flow. Update the Yammer group identified in your trigger, save the flow, and turn on the flow.
    5. Repeat step 22 for each Yammer group you want to monitor.

That’s it! I’ll now receive an email each time my manager creates a Yammer post in my Microsoft Flow Yammer group.

Sharing your new flow:
Now that you’ve created your flow, it’s time to think about sharing it with others in your organization.

Piloting your Office 365 rollout

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If you’re just beginning to plan your Office 365 rollout (or are in the process of rolling out additional Office 365 applications), it’s important to consider the benefits of running a formal pilot program. A pilot enables a subset of users to access Office 365 prior to its rollout to the entire organization. There are many benefits to running a pilot, including:

  • Road-testing your communications and training. I host weekly Q&A calls for my pilot testers. The calls enable pilot participants to provide feedback on their experience, highlight favorite features, identify gaps in our training materials, recommend new methods for engaging business teams, etc.. This feedback is key because it comes from the business. Whenever possible, I like to test out the pilot users’ training ideas during the pilot itself. If they request a What is Office 365 training session, I’ll assemble a training curriculum and offer the new class to the pilot group. Taking this extra step during the pilot enables me to gather more feedback and puts me in the best possible position for my org-wide rollout.
  • Building a knowledgeable set of pilot users that can support your rollout and (hopefully) recommend Office 365 to their colleagues. Giving users early access to Office 365 and offering them the opportunity to impact your rollout builds rapport. This enhanced sense of community engagement will help you build momentum for your rollout, enhancing user adoption.
  • Testing your license enablement and support processes. As part of your pilot, you’ll need to enable Office 365 applications for your pilot testers. You’ll also need to provide support as they begin using the products. This is an excellent opportunity to test (and improve) your licensing and support processes. After all, pilot testers are more likely to forgive enablement issues and support delays. And learning from your mistakes during a pilot will ensure the same mistakes don’t occur during your org-wide rollout!
  • Identifying use cases and success stories. Ideally, your pilot testers will be leveraging the new capabilities they’ve received. Consider setting up time for them to show off their results. You may find unexpected use cases for Office 365 and success stories that highlight key value-adds. Leverage these use cases and success stories to tell the story of Office 365’s business value.
  • Validating your governance and compliance policies. A pilot program enables you to see how Office 365 performs in your environment. Your networking team can validate network traffic is flowing smoothly. Your information security team can validate all appropriate risk requirements have been met. If you have compliance or legal record hold requirements, those teams can validate to ensure data is being scanned, stored, and supervised appropriately. If there are issues, you have time to correct before Office 365 is rolled out to your entire organization.

Pilot Planning
But how big should your pilot be? And how long should it last? The scale of your pilot should reflect the size of your organization and the level of governance and compliance controls you need to implement.

As a general rule, I recommend building a pilot program that is roughly 3% of your overall user base. If you’ll be rolling out Office 365 to 10,000 users, that would mean having a pilot group of 300. If you have a user base of 50,000, you’d want to build a pilot group of 1,500. While this 3% target may sound large, it affords the best opportunity for user feedback. Keep in mind that you cannot expect strong participation from all pilot users. No matter how well-intentioned, there is always a percentage of pilot testers that contribute minimally or not at all. Targeting 3% of your user base ensures you will have a viable set of pilot testers to try out your products.

Your pilot program will also enable you to test key governance and compliance controls (e.g. archival and supervision of Outlook email, record retention, SharePoint hub site governance, etc.). In order to run a valid test, you will need a sufficient data sample size. If 3% of your user base will not give you enough data to work with, increase the size of your pilot group accordingly. It is always best to adjust any necessary governance policies or security and archival controls before your org-wide implementation.

Now that you have a rough idea of your pilot size, it’s time to start planning who should be part of the pilot. Ideally, you should target:

  • Highly engaged users from across multiple business lines (not just IT).
  • Green dot and yellow dot users that are quick to adapt to change.
  • Volunteers. Always engage those who want to be part of your pilot. These users are more likely to engage, will dedicate more time, and are much more likely to provide feedback. While it may be more work to amass a set of volunteer resources, they will be more engaged and provide better feedback than voluntold users.
  • Strong communicators. Feedback is an essential part of the pilot process. You want to engage those that are willing to provide written or verbal feedback.
  • A variety of personality types. Ideally, you want to include technology optimists and pessimists in your pilot group. Technology optimists have a good impression of IT and are generally enthusiastic about trying out new technologies. Technology pessimists have a stronger “what’s in it for me” mentality and need to see or hear something compelling before they decide to jump on board. Incorporating both technology optimists and pessimists in your pilot will give you the best opportunity to validate your Office 365 messaging and training.

How long should your pilot last? While many companies have intense pressure to roll Office 365 out quickly, I’m a firm believer in meaningful pilots. The more time spent piloting and refining your approach to governance, training, and license enablement, the more successful your rollout will be. A pilot period of 3 weeks is incredibly tight, but can generate value. A pilot period of 1-2 months will generate more user data and enable you to refine your training offerings.

There is one exception to this “lengthier is better” rule for pilots. If you work for a company with a strong technology innovation culture and most of your users are very comfortable with technology change, a longer pilot may not be necessary. If your organization is facing a great deal of technology debt in the workforce productivity space, a longer pilot will better enable you to build momentum for the upcoming change.

Pilot execution
Now that you’ve completed your pilot planning, it’s time to execute your vision. Plan to launch your pilot with a formal series of kickoff meetings, brown-bag lunches, and/or targeted pilot communications. The goal is to celebrate this important stage of your Office 365 rollout efforts. And the more positive noise you can generate, the more pilot user engagement you’ll see.

You’ll also want to make it easy for pilot users to learn about Office 365 and provide feedback on their experience. A few ideas I’ve seen work well:

  • Share “getting started” scenarios. Many users may feel intimidated when they first open a new Office 365 app. Providing quick, easy-to-follow “getting started” scenarios for each app gives your pilot users a running start. If you’re going to pilot OneDrive for Business, for example, you could create getting-started scenarios that explain how to:
    • Create files in OneDrive
    • Save Microsoft Office files to OneDrive
    • Share a OneDrive file (or folder) with someone
    • See OneDrive files that have been shared with you
    • Open files using the OneDrive sync client
    • Edit files in the OneDrive mobile app
  • Host weekly Q&A sessions. As I mentioned previously, I host weekly Q&A calls for my pilot testers. The calls enable pilot participants to provide feedback on their experiences and ask product-related questions.
  • Schedule “Show & Tell” events where pilot users can share Office 365 tips and demo solutions they’ve built. Provide an opportunity for your pilot users to shine. Schedule a recurring meeting where the pilot users come together to share cool new tricks they’ve learned and demo solutions they’ve built in Office 365. For best results, keep this a peer-to-peer sharing meeting. Having a pilot user demonstrate a new Microsoft Flow they’ve built is powerful stuff. Their excitement and confidence in using Office 365 will motivate other pilot users to follow suit.
  • Build a private Yammer group for your pilot users. Yammer is a great “thinking out loud” app that supports discussion and sharing of ideas. I recommend creating a private Yammer group where pilot users can share insights, ask questions, etc. Add all pilot testers to the group before your pilot begins and send them the group URL for easy reference. As the pilot coordinator, it’s important you actively participate in the Yammer group. Share Office 365 tips, provide links to appropriate training resources, and answer pilot user questions.
  • Track your pilot user Yammer sentiment. If you’re providing your pilot users with a Yammer group for sharing ideas, use Microsoft Flow and Azure Cognitive Services to perform sentiment analysis on the pilot Yammer posts. The sentiment data gathered may provide insights into your pilot group’s overall satisfaction with Office 365 and help you identify solution use cases.
  • Stay in touch. I always want my pilot testers to feel like they are part of a valued community. Connect with pilot users that are in your geographic area by hosting meet-ups or coffee chats. Communicate with geographically-distributed pilot users via Yammer or Teams. And share an “Office 365 tip of the week” for all pilot users.

Want to learn more?
Asif Rehmani published a great article on the key reasons to include an early adopter program in your Office 365 rollout. Check it out–it’s well worth a read!

Learning & doing more with the Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide

Microsoft released a new Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide in January 2019. The guide explains why technology change is so hard and provides practical ideas for driving organization adoption of Microsoft 365. If you’re tasked with driving organizational adoption, the guide is a must-read.

Adoption requires users to adapt and change their technology behaviors. New Microsoft 365 users must understand the new technology at their disposal and be willing to fundamentally change the way they work. Bringing about a change of this significance requires an open mind, as well as an organizational investment of time, people, and resources. It requires effective just-in-time training to help people get up to speed on the technology, operational support that can assist users with their questions, and champions to promote the use of Microsoft 365. But organizational adoption programs also have to inspire users. Change is an individual choice that cannot be mandated or coerced.

The adoption framework outlined in the Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide provides a process for building your adoption plan and optimizing your results. It guides you through defining your strategy, determining your readiness to adopt, building your adoption plan, measuring and reporting usage, and encouraging ongoing engagement/adoption.

accomplishment-achievement-adults-1059118The guide also shares the inspirational champion story of the Best Buy SharePoint Ninja program. I’m thrilled to see the program still being upheld as a success story. Launching the SharePoint Ninja program at Best Buy was one of the highlights of my career, and effectively-built champion programs are a vital part of the Microsoft adoption story. For more information on the Best Buy SharePoint Ninja program, check out the session Matthew Ruderman and I delivered at SharePoint Conference 2014: http://aka.ms/bestbuyninjas 

Build it with Microsoft Flow: Get a notification when a “watch word” is mentioned in Yammer

yammerIf your organization uses Yammer to drive information sharing and employee knowledge transfer, you have a potential treasure trove of great content. But staying up-to-date on Yammer conversations can be tough, particularly when you’re running from meeting to meeting. It’s easy to miss key Yammer posts, even if you subscribe to email notifications.

Fortunately, Microsoft Flow can help! Let’s say you want to monitor a particular Yammer group for one or more “watch words.” When a message that contains the watch word is posted on Yammer, you’d like Microsoft Flow to send you an email notification. This functionality enables you to audit Yammer groups for the content you’re most interested in.

Here’s an overview of what this flow looks like:

Yammer watch word-01.png

And here are the steps to re-create the flow:

  1. Create a new flow from blank (aka not from a template).
  2. Add the trigger When there is a new message in a group.
  3. In the Group Id field, select the name of the Yammer group you want to monitor.
    Note: This flow doesn’t monitor multiple Yammer groups at once; it triggers to run when a new message is posted in a single Yammer group. If you’d like to run this watch word flow across multiple Yammer groups, you’ll need to copy your completed flow and create a new flow for each group you want to monitor. The process for copying your finished flow is provided in step 15. 
  4. In the Network Id field, select the name of your Yammer network.
  5. If you’d like your watch word email notification to include the name of the person that posted the Yammer message, add the Get user details action. In the User ID field, add the Message List Message Sender field.
  6. Add the Get my profile action. This action obtains the SMTP email address for the current user (e.g. john.doe@mycompany.com). You’ll use this SMTP email address to configure your email notification.
  7. Add a Condition action.
  8. In the Value field, add the Message List Message Body Text field.
  9. Change the is equal to field to contains.
  10. Type your watch word(s) in the Choose a value field. In the example flow shown above, my watch word is PowerApps.
  11. Add an action in the If yes box. Since I wanted to send an email notification when my watch word was used, I added the email action.
  12. In the To field of your email, insert the Get My Profile Mail dynamic content.
    Note: You may need to select “See more” under the Get my profile header to see the Mail content.
  13. Add additional details for your notification (e.g. subject line, email verbiage, etc.).
  14. Save and test your flow.
  15. Optional. If you’d like to set up your watch word flow for a second Yammer group, follow these additional steps:
    1. Go to your flow’s information page.
    2. Click on the More dropdown and select Save As.
      Yammer watch word-02.png
    3. Specify a name for your copied flow and click Save.
    4. Return to your My Flows page and edit your newly-copied flow. Update the Yammer group identified in your trigger, save the flow, and turn on the flow.
    5. Repeat step 15 for each Yammer group you want to monitor.

Now that my flow is built, I receive an email notification like the one shown below each time the watch word PowerApps is mentioned in my Microsoft Flow Yammer group:
Yammer watch word-03.png

Sharing your new flow:
Now that you’ve created your flow, it’s time to think about sharing it with others in your organization.

Credits (and a few words of encouragement):
If you’re working with Microsoft Flow and are having a hard time figuring out how to build the workflows you need, don’t despair! When I first started trying to build this “watch word” flow, I got completely stuck. I couldn’t figure out how to build it without complicated formulas or JSON. Many thanks to Jon Levesque, Marcel Haas, and many others on Twitter for jumping in and teaching me a better way to go about it!

Requesting sign-off approvals on your OneDrive files

Microsoft has integrated out-of-the-box Microsoft Flow templates directly into OneDrive! With the new Request sign-off template, you can easily send your OneDrive files out to co-workers for review. You’ll be able to specify who the reviewer(s) are at the start of the workflow. You’ll be notified via email once one of the reviewers has approved the file.

Let’s walk through how the new flow template works:

  1. Select the file you want to route for approval.
  2. Go to the Flow dropdown in your menu bar and select Request sign-off.
    oob-flow-01
  3. When the flow panel opens, click Next.
    oob-flow-02
  4. Type in the name(s) of the people you’d like to review your document. If desired, type in a custom message for your reviewers.
    OOB-flow-03.png
  5. Click Run flow to execute your new workflow.
  6. Your reviewer(s) will receive an email notification that a document is pending their review.
    OOB-flow-04.png
  7. You’ll be notified via email when your file is approved or rejected.
    OOB-flow-05.png

Timing for this new feature:
This new out-of-the-box Flow template began rolling out to Office 365 tenants in December 2018.

The new “Send a copy” feature in Microsoft Flow

In January 2019, Microsoft announced the new Send a copy feature in Microsoft Flow. With Send a copy, you can quickly and easily share a copy of your flow with others in your Office 365 tenant. You can Send a copy of your flow from two different locations:

The options menu on your My flows page:
Yammer watch word-09.png

Or from the flow properties page:
Yammer watch word-08.png

Once you select Send a copy, a configuration pane displays. You can customize the title of your flow, add a description for it, and specify the name(s), email address(s), or security group(s) you want to share with. Remember: You can only send a flow to others in your same Office 365 tenant. You cannot use Send a copy to share flows across tenants.

Once you’ve finished entering all your flow copy details, click Send.
Yammer watch word-04

The recipient(s) will receive an email indicating a flow has been shared with them. The user(s) can also go to the Shared with me tab on their flow template gallery to see and use their copy of the flow.
Yammer watch word-05.png

Once the recipient(s) creates a new flow from the template that was shared with them, they’ll be able to customize it. IMPORTANT: No link is retained between the original flow and the version that is shared. The flows operate independently and can be customized at will.

So how well does the feature work?
Save a copy provides a quick and easy method for sharing flows between users. It’s relatively easy to use (both for the sharer and the recipient), and I love the new Shared with me template gallery tab in Microsoft Flow.

But at its core, the Save a copy feature is a one-time content push. Copied flows do not remain connected, and sharing only happens unidirectionally. A user you shared a flow with cannot, for example, iterate on your flow and dynamically share their updates with you. They can Save a copy of the updated flow and send it to you, but you’ll need to create a new instance of the flow to see the changes made.

The Save a copy feature also doesn’t allow for flow template browsing. Users are unaware of flows their co-workers have created; they can only see flows that have been manually shared with them. If you’re looking for a more robust method for sharing flow templates internally, check out my series on driving Microsoft Flow adoption with the creation of an internal organization-level template gallery. (Credits to Daniel Glenn for partnering with me on this solution.)

The bottom line:
Save a copy provides a quick and easy way to share flows with individuals or security groups. While there are limitations for its use (e.g. it’s a content “push” instead of a browse-and-reuse option), it can be used to create one-off flows in only a few clicks.