Best Practices for planning & delivering the full power of Microsoft Teams

The Hybrid Challenge

Going to a Hybrid Work Model is not easy but essential to satisfy what has become many employees’ expectation since the pandemic. The challenge is in delivering that balance of flexibility in where you work (remote or in-person) with human interaction and camaraderie as you work together to achieve the enterprises goals. How do you keep remote workers equally involved, seen, and heard to maintain a productive, inclusive environment? This article will explore how to deliver on that promise with Microsoft 365 and in particular Microsoft Teams and walk through the steps organizations should take to ensure they get the solution right for their approach to the hybrid workforce.

Why Teams for Hybrid Work

Microsoft Teams is really the ultimate tool in satisfying the needs of remote work.  From its asynchronous communication options like Instant Messaging to its ability to video chat and host meetings of all kinds from anywhere it really has the power to be your center of collaboration in the hybrid workplace. In addition, Microsoft really has invested in specific features to make remote workers really feel an equal level of inclusion on meetings and in the workplace. You can find out more about Microsoft Teams features here.

What we see as one of its most important capabilities that is often overlooked is how to incorporate line of business systems, build apps and automate processes within Teams. This, along with the modern user experience it provides, is what really drives the adoption of teams and allows you to customize it to the way your team actually works. The key here is to look at M365 as one coherent end to end platform and by connecting Teams to Power Apps, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure, and hundreds of other apps—you can drive innovation across your entire organization. Whether that means building workflows across the stack, embedding Power BI reports within Teams channels, using Forms and automation throughout teams, the possibilities are endless with all the tools available in M365.

Choosing the Right Partner

Once you know what’s possible with Teams, the first step is to choose the right partner to work with. With IT departments putting out fires all day and night, it’s almost impossible for them to stay up on all the new features & offerings available, that’s where a partner/trusted strategic advisor comes in. Most consultancies can tout experience and expertise which of course is important but what we feel is the true differentiator is how they manage projects, how they work with your users to drive adoption & their ability to be on time & on budget. Because in the end the measure of the success is how your users will use the solution.

At Gig Werks, what we do uniquely well is understanding the breadth and depth that Microsoft offers as a stack to bring together meaningful business solutions to drive user adoption – that’s designed in a way that people actually work. We work with your team when developing a solution to drive best adoption and use agile development to stay on budget.

Getting Started with Planning

Planning is essential when setting up a Teams solution or really any solution you develop for your team. We recommend starting at a high level and establishing that MVP (Minimally Viable Product), setting that initial scope and budget and then start to do more detailed use cases all while keeping an eye on the budget. This agile approach to planning keeps you in regular collaboration with stakeholders and keeps you in control of scope and budget so you don’t waste time and money going down a rabbit hole on something without the buy in from your users. By doing your planning in sprints you keep your options open for what you can do vs another round of features and set yourself up for the best opportunity for a successful Teams solution.

Understanding Licensing

Once you know how you’ll be using Teams and the rest of the M365 stack figuring out your licensing is the next step. If you own any iteration of M365 then you own Microsoft Teams & SharePoint! Additionally, there is also a free version of Teams available. If you own a M365 E3 or E5 license then you already own Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and the E5 gets you Power BI.

All solutions can also be purchased individually. Here is a link to learn more about your Teams or M365 licensing or please reach out and we can go through with you together

Agile Project Management & Managing to Budget

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That is how we recommend building a solution as mentioned above in Planning. Don’t try to do it all up front. Start high level, then get into those details. Avoid costly errors or work buy making it an iterative process. Little planning, build what you planned and review with the team, keeping all stakeholders involved and on board with the solution making managing to budget much easier and perhaps most importantly ensuring adoption and success of the solution with the constant involvement from your constituents.

Another key to driving solution adoption and success is the user experience. Teams and M365 have a great modern UI that is intuitive and easy to use which is essential. You can’t expect an end user to buy in if you’ve made it harder navigating that application.

In Conclusion, to really succeed with Teams and the Hybrid workplace, it is essential to involve your team from start to finish. Teams is a solution that effects all your users and if you truly want to make it the collaborative hub for your enterprise you need the right partner and team to do it right. Contact us today and lets get started!