Managing a Microsoft Teams deployment with effective governance

In 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

In 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?

In 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?

I 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.

Tips for getting started with SharePoint hubs

If you’re on SharePoint Online and haven’t started exploring the use of hubs yet, it’s time to invest. SharePoint hubs are a key component of your intelligent intranet strategy, alongside home sites, branding, navigation, and site scripts.

Hubs provide a familial, logical tie between your SharePoint sites. Hubs unify site branding, provide a common hub navigation experience, roll up news and events, and provide a way for your users to find interrelated content quickly and easily. Hubs also support the dynamic nature of your organization. As departments re-org and your company structure changes, simply associate your SharePoint sites to new hubs and your branding will update automatically.

Hubs will require a re-examination of your information architecture and SharePoint site planning strategies. To help you with the transition, check out my list of getting-started hub tips.

1. Embrace the new “flat” world of SharePointTo embrace SharePoint hubs, you need to let go of the old hierarchical model for organizing sites in nested site collections. Modern SharePoint sites are flat, existing in their own individual site collections. SharePoint hubs allow you to assemble these flat sites logically into families and make use of hub branding, unified navigation, and content roll-ups. And best of all, hubs prevent the age-old struggle of migrating SharePoint sites between physical site collections.

Hubs also change the longstanding trend of using departmental site collections as a quick and easy method for organizing SharePoint sites. The dynamic nature of hubs (and the quickness and ease with which you can change hub site associations) gives you the flexibility to organize your SharePoint sites more creatively.

2. Let your users chart your course. I recommend analyzing your users and their content needs before you start mapping out the structure of your hubs. Consider how your users will draw connections between your content, how they’ll approach finding the content they need, and why they care. Key questions to ask:

  • How do your users classify content? If one of your employees changes their name, where would they go to find information on submitting a name change? Would they start by searching HR policies? Looking for tax forms? Or contacting the Legal department? Learning how your users think about content will help you determine its best logical “fit.”
  • If you had the ability to target content to key employees, how would you do it? Hubs are being enriched with great audience targeting features that enable you to dynamically target content for key users. As you design your hub strategy, keep your audience targeting needs in mind. A simple way to define key audiences is to lay out your content, associated hub, and the audience the content will be targeted to (as shown below).
    audience targeting
  • Branding & common navigation. Hubs provided a unified look and feel and a common hub navigation bar. Simply put, which sites do you want to have joined with a common brand and navigation bar? And which sites will your users want to see together? Breaking down your hub site associations to this level will help you differentiate your site and hub alignment.

3. Learn how mind-mapping can help you map your sites to hubs.  Hubs require us to build logical links between our SharePoint sites based on the subject matter and audience. Tying sites together by department or organizational division is no longer enough. We must account for how users will think about the content stored on our sites and how they’ll connect content from different sites.

Mind-maps are a great tool for drawing and designing your hub site relationships. Mind-mapping is the visual representation of thoughts, discussions, and ideas. While strategists and information architecture practitioners have advocated using mind-maps for years to capture group conversations and decision-making processes, the new flat architecture model for SharePoint makes mind-maps a perfect methodology for outlining the logical ties between your SharePoint sites.

If mind-mapping is a new concept for you, start small. Try building a mind-map while you watch Microsoft Ignite 2019 session videos. Once you get the hang of mind-mapping, it’ll be easier to apply the concepts to your SharePoint information architecture.

Mind map example 2

4. Consider a naming convention for your hubs. If you’ll be using hubs throughout your organization, you may want to consider a naming convention that clearly identifies each hub as a hub. Let’s say, for example, you have a hub for Legal, another for HR, and a third hub for Marketing. How do you want to refer to each hub? Examples may include:

hub naming conventions 03

Using a common term for each hub (e.g.  spot, inside, or about) enables you to clearly differentiate hubs from your other SharePoint sites. I recommend finding a term that fits the culture, style, and brand identity of your organization. You’ll want to educate your users and SharePoint site owners about your new naming convention so they recognize your hub sites.

5. Consider how you’ll govern the use of hubs in your organization. Hubs can only be created by Office 365 global administrators or SharePoint administrators. Since hub creation is centrally controlled, you’ll need to consider how your new hubs will be created. Will site owners request hubs via a centralized form or via email? Will there be an approval or review process to ensure new hubs are appropriately scoped and named?

There are many additional governance questions to consider for your hubs:

  • How will you ensure duplicate hubs aren’t created?
  • How will you manage your number of hubs?
  • Will you require a minimum number of associated sites for each hub?
  • Will you set up permission guidelines for associated sites?
  • Will you define roles & responsibilities for your hub site owners? Will hub owners require anything of their associated site owners?
  • Will you audit your hubs on an annual or semi-annual basis?

I recommend a practical governance model that takes into account the key use cases for hubs in your organization. If you’re working in a large enterprise, for example, you may need to put governance precepts in place to ensure you stay below the 2,000 hubs per tenant limit that Microsoft has in place. If you’re working in a small to medium-sized organization, a 2,000 hub site limit may be a non-issue and require no governance oversight.

6. Determine whether you’ll incorporate a home site as part of your intelligent intranetHome sites serve as the landing site for your organization, bringing together personalized and organizational news, events, conversations, content, and video on a single SharePoint Communications site. Incorporating a home site along with your hubs will require additional information architecture planning. Check out Microsoft’s home site planning recommendations to get started.

SharePoint Conference 2020–it’s back!


As you plan your community events and conferences for 2020, make sure you don’t miss the SharePoint Conference. We’ll be back this year with more speakers, more content, and more attendees in sunny Las Vegas May 19-21, 2020!

I’m honored to be asked back as a speaker, and will be presenting Getting started with SharePoint home sites and hubs. The session will cover Microsoft’s new intelligent intranet features, including usage of home sites to surface personalized organizational news and hubs to organize SharePoint sites into contextual families and roll up relevant content. For more information, check out my session promo video below.

Hope to see you at the SharePoint Conference. And don’t forget to use promo code HAASE to save $50 on your conference registration!