Is Microsoft 365 adoption a project or a service?

Historically, many of our waterfall IT implementation projects classified training as part of the project rollout effort. End-user communications were done in broad waves (usually via mass employee e-mails or non-personalized intranet news articles), and training efforts were limited to a phase of the project rollout schedule. With our move to agile, many organizations have expanded training in an effort to drive sustained user adoption. But the critical question still remains: Should Microsoft 365 adoption be treated as part of your rollout project or as an ongoing service?

In most cases, the answer is dictated by funding. Organizations with a fixed-dollar approach to implementing Microsoft 365 tend to view end-user training and adoption as a part of the implementation project (regardless of whether they’re running in waterfall or agile). Organizations with a more fluid funding model or a cultural drive for ongoing employee education may invest in resources to support ongoing Microsoft 365 user adoption efforts.

How do project-based and service-based adoption efforts differ?
Project-based user adoption is temporary, with a defined start and end date. If you’re running adoption as a service, you’ll be investing in user adoption on a continuous basis. You may be staffing virtual or in-person office hours, leading training classes, hosting user group meetings, coaching employees on how to use Microsoft 365, etc.

Adoption project or service-01

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, user adoption isn’t a temporary effort. There is no magic formula for success and adoption doesn’t have an end date. If you want successful adoption of Microsoft 365, you’ll need to build, evolve, and drive adoption from now until the day you stop leveraging the platform. Even the most successful adoption programs will die without dedicated attention and fresh ideas.

What does an agile adoption service look like?
Agile Microsoft 365 adoption services will vary by organization and industry. There is no one-size-fits-most approach to building a successful adoption service – you will need to figure out what works for your users.

A few key things to take into consideration as you design your adoption service:

  • Ongoing resource availability. Adoption requires time. You can run successful adoption programs with employee volunteers, but it is always beneficial to have staff dedicated to driving Microsoft 365 adoption. Dedicated staff give you access to time and resources on an ongoing basis, along with the ability to track adoption goals as part of employee performance.
  • Focus on the outcomes. User adoption isn’t an exact science. A user adoption best-practice that has worked amazingly well in one organization will completely fail at another. Your users and your company culture have an immense impact on the success or failure of your adoption initiatives. I recommend taking an iterative, outcome-based approach to user adoption. Try out new ideas with an adaptable mindset. See what works and what doesn’t, and don’t get attached to ideas until you know they work for your organization.
  • Be creative. When you run a long-term adoption service, you run the risk of users tuning out your message. You’ll need to evolve your approach and messaging to be noticed. Don’t be afraid to be creative and think outside the box!

How much control do you enforce on your Microsoft 365 services?

banner-smallIn this episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we discuss controls you should enforce on your Microsoft 365 services. This is a broad topic, and the approach taken needs to reflect your organization’s use cases, risk acceptance stance, industry, and regulatory needs.

Key topics discussed:

  • Should you enable all your M365 services (e.g. email, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Teams, etc.) at once? We discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a holistic “big bang” rollout versus enabling services individually or in small groups.
  • How do you manage and secure M365 mobile apps? Do you enable mobile app access at the same time you enable browser or desktop applications (e.g. do you roll out Teams for desktop, browser, and mobile simultaneously)? And how will you manage your mobile security?
  • The importance of planning. Understand your organization’s needs, your appetite for control and risk, and how the Microsoft 365 services work together before you build your rollout and enforcement plans.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Managing a Microsoft Teams deployment with effective governance

banner-smallIn this episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we address a listener question about how to quickly (and safely) deploy Microsoft Teams. COVID-19 has driven a massive increase in Microsoft Teams deployments to support staff that are now working exclusively from home. In many cases, these Teams deployments are being done quickly and without the normal governance rigor.

Listen in to hear our recommendations for planning a quick deployment of Microsoft Teams. We highlight key governance decisions that need to be made prior to your rollout, as well as governance follow-ups that can be done after Teams is deployed. Enjoy!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Protecting your data in Microsoft 365: A quick walkthrough of the M365 security settings

banner-smallIn this episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice, we outline Microsoft 365 security settings for protecting your data. We cover authentication options and identity protection, data security policies, Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), limiting third-party connectors in Power Automate, and how to protect content being shared from SharePoint and OneDrive. It’s a whirlwind tour of Microsoft 365 security settings in less than 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


How do you manage your content lifecycle from Microsoft Teams to your Intranet?

M365VoiceLogoIn this episode of the Microsoft 365 Voice podcast, we answered a listener question about how files authored in Microsoft Teams could be shared organization-wide quickly and easily. The listener is leveraging Microsoft Teams and SharePoint in a mid to large-sized organization. They have content that is created in a departmental Microsoft Teams team, but later needs to be published to the intranet or a SharePoint Communications site so all employees can see it. During this episode, we provide best-practice recommendations for publishing content from Microsoft Teams to SharePoint. Enjoy!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


May 2020 – Virtual conferences

Many of us are continuing to shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. While we all mourn the loss of our in-person conferences, there are several great (and free) online events you can attend this month. I’m thrilled to be speaking at 2 upcoming conferences – Office 365 Nashville and the Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon.

Office 365 Nashville – May 8, 2020
The Nashville organizing team has done a phenomenal job bringing together 30 speakers for this all-day event. With tracks for Power Platform, Office 365 Admin, Developer, Microsoft Teams, etc. you’ll be able to find an array of great sessions to choose from. And you won’t want to miss the end-of-day keynote by Jeff Teper (Corporate Vice President – Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive)! Check out the event schedule and registration, and don’t miss my session at 1pm! I’ll be walking through the process of setting up Azure Cognitive Services, Power Automate, and SharePoint to perform automated sentiment analysis of Yammer group posts.

Haase o365Nashville

Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon – May 27-28, 2020
The virtual marathon is a free 36-hour event that features speakers from all over the world. The organizing teams have pulled sessions from across Microsoft 365 and Azure, including keynotes from several Microsoft product team members. I’ll be delivering my Getting started with SharePoint home sites and hubs session, which outlines what home sites and hubs are and provides practical strategies for implementing them in your organization. Make sure to check out the other marathon speakers and register to attend!


How do you set up a strategy for Yammer?

M365VoiceLogoIn episode 12 of the Microsoft 365 Voice podcast, we share strategies for deploying and governing Yammer use in your organization. Key themes covered during the episode:

  • Getting started with Yammer
  • Helping your Human Resources and Corporate Communications departments feel comfortable with Yammer
  • Dealing with Yammer communities and conversations that cover non-work topics
  • Measuring Yammer’s utilization and value
  • Monitoring Yammer posts related to COVID-19
  • Leveraging the new Yammer web part to expose conversations in SharePoint, Teams, etc.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.


Are metadata, content types, and taxonomy still relevant in SharePoint Online?

M365VoiceLogoI have a big announcement to share today….I’m joining Antonio Maio and Mike Maadarani as a member of the Microsoft 365 Voice podcast!

The M365 Voice podcast provides product news and best-practices for Microsoft 365, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobile Security (EMS). Antonio and Mike launched M365 Voice earlier this year, and have already hosted podcast episodes on Microsoft Search, Project Cortex, and Microsoft Teams private channels.

I joined the M365 Voice in April 2020, and am bringing with me a new Q&A format for some of our upcoming episodes. Each Q&A episode will feature a Microsoft 365 question pulled at random from our “question jar.” The questions will be fielded from all of you, and our responses are unplanned. You’ll be getting our collective (and immediate) wisdom recorded live on each podcast episode!

Check out my first episode below, where we answer the question “Are metadata, content types, and taxonomy still relevant in SharePoint Online?

Want to submit a question to the M365 Voice? Your question may make it on a future podcast episode!

Meeting regret: Overcoming the fear of saying the wrong thing

Earlier this week, a mentee approached me with meeting regret. She didn’t regret what she said or did during a recent meeting. She regretted with she didn’t say–the answer she didn’t give and the details she didn’t provide. Her fear of saying the wrong thing led her to say almost nothing.

Most of us will be saddled with meeting regret sometime in our career. We may ruminate for a few hours or a few days over what we wished we would’ve said or done, but then we’ll move on. Those with chronic meeting regret face a much greater challenge. Conquering chronic meeting regret requires us to push through our fear again and again until it becomes less palpable.

So how do you push through that fear? Here’s a few ideas:

Reframe your post-meeting commentary
When my mentee approached me, she was focused on how she’d messed up during the meeting and let herself down. Self-criticism is a powerful weapon that can inflate fear and spur on the cycle of meeting regret.

I suggested she change her post-meeting commentary. Whenever she started the “I messed up” internal dialogue, I advised her to recite this sentence aloud:

“I didn’t answer that question as well as I would have liked to, but I’ll do better next time.”

It may sound stilted or overly formal, but studies have shown this type of cognitive behavior therapy is very effective for re-training our thoughts and internal messaging.

Give yourself a re-do 
If you can’t stop ruminating about the meeting and what you didn’t say, find a quiet spot and give yourself a re-do. Replay the meeting in your mind, but this time say out loud all the things you wished you’d said during the meeting. This clever trick gives you the opportunity to practice saying what’s on your mind. And hearing yourself saying things clearly and concisely trains your brain to believe you’re capable of delivering a strong message. The best part is, you can take as many re-do’s as you like. Practice until you’re happy with your words and delivery.

Practice meeting gratitude 
Take a few moments after each meeting to reflect on how you did. Instead of looking for things that didn’t go well, look for the good. Maybe you asked a question you’d normally have been too scared to ask. Or maybe you contributed to the conversation in a new way. Write down a few words about what you did in a gratitude journal. (You can even create a section in your OneNote notebook to store these moments of gratitude.)

Bottom line: If you look for the bad in your own performance, you’ll find it. By focusing on the good, you’re opening yourself up to improved possibilities.

Seek feedback
We’re often our harshest critic. One easy way to ensure you’re getting an unbiased perspective on your own performance is to gather feedback from others. So find a few trusted colleagues and share with them the effort you’re undertaking to overcome chronic meeting regret. After a big meeting, send your trusted colleague(s) an instant message or an email asking them to give some feedback on how you did. Their perspective will usually be kinder (and more realistic) than your own.

COVID-19 prep: How to put together a “work from home” environment using Microsoft 365


What if you had 24 hours to prepare before your team or workforce was locked out of the office? What would you set up to ensure co-workers could continue working and stay engaged?

REgarding 365 ran a virtual hackathon in March 2020 to illustrate how organizations can set up the essentials required to send an entire workforce home in the wake of Coronavirus. We know organizations vary widely in their preparedness for remote working and that business continuity plans differ. While the ideas presented in this hackathon aren’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for every organization, we hope the ideas presented give you a jump-start on your planning efforts.

The hackathon, hosted and led by the fabulous Darrell Webster, broke down Microsoft 365 planning efforts into several teams:

Each team worked together during the hackathon to ideate and build solutions. Together, we demonstrated how Teams, Yammer, SharePoint Online, Power Automate, and Microsoft Forms can be used to create a modern workplace.

We hope this virtual hackathon gives you real-world ideas for mobilizing your employees to work from home in these difficult times. Stay safe, stay home, and #FlattenTheCurve.