Microsoft Teams – Remote meeting strategies

I’ve been working with Microsoft Teams for the entire 3 years (Happy birthday Teams) that it has been in place. I’ve seen it used for meetings, both planning and meeting execution, in addition to Team collaborations. I thought I’d share a couple of the things I’ve seen, especially as we are now adding millions of users a day to the platform and to a lot of you, its still pretty new.

Planning to meet as a team

A lot of us still hold team meetings, whether this is small groups regularly or larger groups for a more formal progress meeting on a monthly basis.

One of the great things about Microsoft Teams is that you can easily collaborate on the planning of a team meeting as well as holding it within Teams. One of the companies I work with has a a structured and large team meeting each month. To plan this meeting there is a formal agenda and a deadline to submit your items for review / discussion. As all of the team has access to the collaborative shared files, the group set up a dedicated channel and added a template for the monthly meeting agenda and then created the next 6 months meeting agendas with the agreed dates. Any member of the team can edit any agenda, adding in their own items or adding documents for review in an associated folder structure. This means that when the meeting takes place, there is already a familiarity with the agenda and no arguments about what should or should not be on it. This is a real collaboration, and, with a little automation, this could be a really neat process. For now, the team keep things running manually and one person takes responsibility to create the agendas in advance.

The meeting itself uses the team channel to access data and to take live notes which are updated later and agreed on by collaborative editing. This team respect the process and keep things orderly, realising the collective benefit of a self regulating process.

These days, with everyone working from home, the meetings, as well as the planning happen on Microsoft Teams.

Daily Stand Ups (sitting down)

When working together in the office, my team have a daily stand up meeting. It is a 9:30am quick review of the day, what we have on so we all know what’s likely to crop up, how we can help each other and who has tight deadlines to respect them by not disturbing them during the day.

Since we have all been working remotely, we have had the same meeting by using a planner view in our team for the stand up – we add in our tasks for the day and have a morning video chat about what we have on. OK, yes we are sitting down – but I have made sure we all use video so we can just check that we are all still ok. The meeting is a little longer as we now do have more team chat but we start the day focused and we all feel that we are back in touch.

During this remote working period we have also added an end of day catch up – this is a quick catch-up on any roadblocks, successes and a usually much lighter group discussion rather than each person having input in turn. Yesterday we played on a virtual whiteboard and made a masterpiece – I think we may introduce Pictionary Fridays just to lighten the mood at the end of the week!

My Personal experience as a CEO

In addition to the group sessions I’ve found that the transition to working remotely all the time means that your team will ping you individually a lot, meaning you end up with a lot less concentration time by making yourself permanently available – so while I have an open call (like an open door) policy, on days where I need to concentrate and get something delivered I’ll make sure that there is a 30min block in the diary where I can be contacted – this allows the team to group any items they need a quick decision, direction or feedback on to a slot of time and also allows me to get a break!

I’d love to hear how you are using Microsoft Teams to keep in touch – how you think the product could be improved to help with this and if you have any great strategies to share.

Thanks for listening – don’t forget to leave comments below or get in touch with me directly if you’d like to chat about the content posted here or anything to do with the Power Platform – I’m a Business Applications speaker and evangelist with a clear focus on delivering real business value from technology. I speak at least once a month so please find me at an event and #LetsGetCoffee

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