Microsoft Ignite 2019 – Using Innovation Games to gather requirements

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Microsoft Ignite is coming up soon! One of the sessions I’ll be facilitating is a 75-minute unconference session on using Innovation Games to gather requirements.

Unconference sessions are unique. Designed to be highly interactive, these sessions give you an opportunity to engage with speakers and fellow attendees, learn new skills, and share your ideas. During this Innovation Games session, you’ll learn how games can be leveraged to gather project and feature requirements, determine what motivates our team members and customers, and build shared understanding. You’ll participate in several Innovation Games during the session, and learn how you can adapt and facilitate the games once you return home.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about Innovation Games. Reserve your spot now!

Microsoft Ignite 2019 – Women in Technology leadership roundtable

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In November 2019, I’ll be heading to Orlando for Microsoft Ignite! One of the sessions I’ll be facilitating is the 75-minute Women in Technology leadership roundtable “unconference” session. Unconference sessions are interactive and collaborative. Meant to facilitate conversation, networking, and group-based learning, unconference sessions give attendees the opportunity to share ideas and learn from one another.

The Women in Technology leadership roundtable will focus on the unique challenges female tech leaders face. We’ll share leadership success stories and challenges, discuss the importance of personal brand, evaluate the impact of role and gender-based stereotypes in the workplace, and conduct peer mentorship mini-sessions. In the peer mentorship mini-sessions, attendees will work in small groups to share ideas and solve everyday workplace challenges.

Whether you’re a woman in tech, an organizational leader, an aspiring mentor, or an ally that wants to support the growth of gender diversity in the tech space, you have valuable insights to share. We’d love to hear your stories, your ideas, and your suggestions at the Women in Technology leadership roundtable!

Space for this unconference session is limited, but you can pre-register to reserve your seat. A waitlist will automatically queue up if the session fills up, so add your name to the list even if registration peaks.

Click the link below for session details and registration.

SPS Ottawa – October 2019

administration-ancient-architecture-1045915-cropI am so excited to be visiting Ottawa, Ontario for the first time this week! I’ll be seeing friends and speaking at SPS Ottawa. My session, When cookie-cutter user adoption doesn’t cut it, examines typical pitfalls of SharePoint and Office 365 user adoption campaigns. I’ll explain why great user adoption ideas can work well at one organization and fail miserably at another. I’ll also provide practical tips and techniques for building adoption strategies that reflect the unique needs of your culture, your users, and your business. Attendees will leave the session with a working knowledge of how to design adoption strategies tailored to their organization’s needs.

Many thanks to Antonio Maio and Mike Maadrani for welcoming me to speak at the event. I can’t wait! Registration for SPS Ottawa is still open and attendance is free. Consider joining us; it’ll be a fantastic event!

The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption (episode 5)


Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded episode 5 in our podcast The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption. In this myth-busting episode, we confirm and debunk common Office 365 user adoption myths. Check out our thoughts on common theories like:

  • “We hire smart people. They’ll figure out how to use Office 365 for themselves.”
  • “If you build it, they will come.”
  • “Clicks (or volume) equals value.”
  • “Once that killer feature is here, the tools will sell themselves.”
  • “Voluntold champions will drive usage and adoption.”
  • “Organic adoption is the best!”

We hope you enjoy episode 5!

About the podcast:
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.

Episode 4 is our listener Q&A session, where we answer questions like:

  • 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 can we encourage geographically-dispersed staff to engage in local Office 365 community events?

Previous posts in this series:

SharePoint Fest Seattle (August 2019 edition)


I’m thrilled to be headed back to Seattle in a couple of weeks for SharePoint Fest! I’ll be delivering three sessions and recording a new Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption podcast episode with Daniel Glenn. If you haven’t registered for SharePoint Fest Seattle yet, don’t miss your chance. You can even save $100 on your registration with discount code Haase100.

Here’s a list of the sessions I’ll be delivering at the conference:

  • The Peter Pan complex: Determining when a SharePoint site should grow into a hub site
  • Your mobile lifeline: Leveraging Microsoft Flow buttons to drive productivity
  • The “disruption-vs.-value” debate: Defining the pace of your Office 365 implementation

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

Daniel and I will be recording episode 5 of our Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption podcast in front of a live studio audience on Thursday, August 22nd from 8-9am. We’d love to have you join us in person for the discussion!



SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities call for speakers (Fall 2019 edition)

SPSTC_logo_smallWe’re thrilled to welcome everyone back for another SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities! Our Fall event is scheduled for Saturday, November 16, 2019 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Our call for speakers is now open. If you’d like to be considered, please submit your session ideas and speaker bio. Submissions will be accepted through August 25th.

More information about the Fall 2019 event (including registration and session schedule) will be posted over the next few weeks. Please monitor our Facebook page and for updates.

#MVPbuzzChat episode 54

I sat down with Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet) recently to record an episode of #MVPbuzzChat. We had a great conversation about enterprise Office 365 and SharePoint adoption and governance. Topics covered include:

  • Growth in end-user adoption content and sessions in the SharePoint & Office 365 space
  • History of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities
  • Impact and growth of female-led technology sessions
  • Metrics analysis trends for SharePoint and Office 365, including the challenge in defining what strong adoption in organic OneDrive implementations looks like
  • The challenge justifying technology’s value to the organization (and how technology utilization and value differ)
  • How to connect with your end-users to drive interest and engagement
  • How innovation games can help you gather requirements, build consensus, and drive strategic discussions with your end-users and decision makers
  • Why companies should adopt a practical model for SharePoint and Office 365 governance that reflects your organizational culture and industry you’re working in
  • The great content we have available on REgarding 365, including The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption podcast miniseries that Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded

Enjoy the #MVPbuzzChat!

SPSNYC 2019: Don’t miss it!

I’m excited to be heading back to NYC on July 27, 2019 to speak at SharePoint Saturday New York City. I’ll be presenting When cookie-cutter SharePoint user adoption doesn’t cut it. This session examines the pitfalls of SharePoint and Office 365 user adoption campaigns and identifies the key cultural and strategic challenges we all face in driving user engagement. We’ll discuss why great user adoption ideas can work outrageously well in one organization and fail at another, and session attendees will learn how to build a user adoption continuum that reflects their users, company culture, and business goals.

Registration for SharePoint Saturday New York City is already open. Check out the event schedule for details on all the sessions. Please plan to join us – it promises to be a great event!

It’s Microsoft MVP renewal day!

2019-2020 MVPI’m excited, honored, and grateful to be renewed for another year as a Microsoft Office Apps & Services MVP! The MVP award is given by Microsoft as an acknowledgement of technical and community leadership. I received my initial MVP award in February 2018 and am so excited to be renewed for another year!

The Office 365 community is such a gift. The relationships I’ve built (both inside and outside Microsoft) have helped me grow my skill set, expand my career, and build lifelong friendships. THANK YOU, Microsoft, for the continued honor. I’m looking forward to another great year!


SharePoint home sites and hubs: A primer

christian-stahl-313383-unsplash.jpgIn May 2019, Microsoft announced SharePoint home sites, the new landing site for your intelligent intranet. Home sites are designed to bring together personalized and organizational news, events, conversations, content, and video on a single SharePoint communications site.

Your home site will be your Office 365 home base. Your tenant admin can configure your Office 365 navigation bar so users are taken to your home site when they click on your company logo. And when your mobile users click on the yet-to-be-released “home” button in their SharePoint mobile app, they’ll be taken to your home site.

As the new Office 365 landing site for your organization, home sites are designed to engage users and highlight your brand and organizational messaging. And with megamenu navigation, you can use your home site to link to your key internal SharePoint sites and hubs.

You’ll be limited to one home site per tenant. Your administrator will need to use PowerShell to elevate your SharePoint communications site of choice to be your home site. The PowerShell elevation command will:

  • Make the site an official organizational news site
  • Set the site search scope to be tenant-wide
  • Enable 1-click site access via the SharePoint mobile app home button
  • Connect the home site to your SharePoint start page

So what’s the difference between a home site and a hub?

Your SharePoint home site is your organization’s Office 365 “home.” By design, you’ll only be allowed one home site in your Office 365 tenant. And the home site must be a SharePoint communications site.

Hubs provide a familial, logical tie between SharePoint sites. With hubs, you can unify SharePoint site branding, provide a unified navigation experience, and roll up news and events in a centralized display. Hubs enhance content discovery by tying sites together and enabling browsing. Hubs are also flexible, easing the work involved in re-branding sites as org structures change and evolve. Simply assign your site to a new hub and your site’s branding is automatically updated.

While Microsoft has controlled the number of hubs that are allowed per Office 365 tenant, the limits continue to increase. When hubs were first released in May 2018, there was a limit of 50 hubs per Office 365 tenant. In August 2018, Microsoft increased the limit to 100 hubs per tenant. In May 2019, Microsoft announced another increase–this time to a maximum of 2,000 hubs per tenant! No release date has been provided for this 2,000 hub limit, so stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, we’re all living with the current 100 hub limit.

Hubs can be built on a variety of types of SharePoint sites, including communications sites, team sites, or classic sites.

Can a home site be a hub?

Yes. You can use a hub as your Office 365 home site, but only if the hub is a SharePoint communications site.

So where do you start?

Hubs are available in SharePoint Online today. Microsoft recommends we “hub before we sub” (use hubs to connect your modern SharePoint sites instead of building classic SharePoint sub-sites).

While home site functionality has been announced, no formal release date has been set. Your best approach in the near-term is to start designing and laying the framework for your organizational information architecture, including buildout of your hub framework. Once home sites are released, you’ll be able to synchronize your approach and designate your organizational home site.

Learn more