Blog | Successful Rollout of Microsoft Teams | A How-To Guide for Any Organization
Vesku Nopanen is a Principal Consultant at Innofactor and Microsoft MVP for Office 365, guiding and coaching customers to find the benefits and value when adopting new tools, methods, ways of working and practices within the everyday work-life equation. Through events, articles and blogs, Nopanen shares tips, tricks and news about Microsoft Teams and Office 365.
Usually, a Microsoft Teams technical rollout is as easy as an admin flipping a few switches. Poof! Every user in the organization can now start using Teams. Throw in an optional training session and boost everyone’s productivity by 150%. While most decision-makers in an organization wish that were the case, the reality is that a successful Teams rollout requires much more than just a command from the CEO. Like any new platform or technology, it’s one thing to roll it out technically but quite another to get the user adoption necessary to generate an acceptable ROI.
Leveraging the benefits of Teams
When an organization starts planning on a Teams rollout, there are several levels of benefit that need to be addressed.
- What are the business benefits for the company in using Teams?
- How can managers, team leads or project managers (PMs) benefit from Teams?
- And the biggest group of all, employees, even first-line-workers: What's in it for them?
It’s a natural process but one that is often forgotten. When a tool benefits or provides you with something new, you are automatically more interested in it. Interest feeds user adoption which, in turn, drives ROI. In the same manner, make sure you have your Teams benefits mapped out in the context of your unique organization or team.
A few popular benefits to Teams include:
- Reducing the number of internal emails
- Centralizing communication streams foregoing disparate systems
- Better search
- Cataloging features
- Real-time feedback cycles
Garnering internal advocates and sponsors
Once you’ve mapped out the benefits, track down and know your internal advocates and sponsors. Managers, team leads, PMs and IT are typically roles that have a lot to gain (or lose) from a successful implementation.
Without sponsorship for your Teams rollout, there are more limits how to recruit and train internal champions, who are a key to helping other users realize the benefits of Teams, boost their skills and drive user adoption. With the right sponsorship, you can gain the support of ‘lead’ users such as managers and build critical momentum, along with required additional resources, that ensures your rollout's success. Other resources include training sessions, available time for learning and upskilling internal advocates to help and guide a large number of users on Teams. Lastly, sponsorship communicates and reinforces the importance of Teams for the business, further driving training session attendance and usage.
Optimizing with playbooks and best practices
Do you know your users? Do you know their workflows and pains? Do your users know the tools available? Do they know what tool to use, when and why? Do your managers know how to use their tools?
These questions are relevant to any rollouts, not just Microsoft Teams. For any technology (and other) implementations, you must understand your users. And your users must understand how Teams fits into the bigger picture of technology and processes in your organization. Examples and scenarios will build an understanding of how Teams is best used.
For example, despite the ubiquity of Slack and Skype, your organization’s teams need to start collaborating and discussing within their Microsoft Teams application. The value is shared information and collaboration. That only happens when the team is using a central repository. There is a slew of clear business benefits and best practices, leverage those for your success.
Succeeding with embedded solutions
Teams is fundamentally different than other ‘collaboration’ applications. As Microsoft states:
“It seems like not long ago we were all complaining about the scarcity of tools in the workplace. Nowadays? It’s scarcity of attention we’re battling, caused by an overabundance of tools. We’re continually toggling between apps to answer emails. Chat with colleagues. Launch meetings. Make to-do lists. Share files. On and on and on. Making us less focused and more stressed.
To ease this stress, we created Microsoft Teams to give you a single platform to get work done, better.”
Don't make Teams just "another tool." Because it’s not. Teams is the new (all-encompassing) platform for business. It’s inherently connected to the organization, not just decision makers and stakeholders but also business applications. This means Teams must first be connected to business processes, making it easier for users to connect to various systems without leaving their Teams ‘home.’ Make it easy for them to participate directly via Teams. Approvals, routine tasks, notifications, file sharing, pulse surveys or project feedback —it can all be done within Teams, and it should be.
Minimizing the resistance
With change comes resistance. But when your team or organization recognizes the benefits, understands the importance and knows how to leverage the tool, they will come around. Know and understand your users, lower the resistance. Leading the Teams implementation gives you the opportunity to control the resistance.
Engaging and empowering users during rollout also creates a sense of shared ownership and less resistance. Users must be able to provide feedback, and that must be taken into consideration. Feedback can be collected via various means such as forms, polls or applications. The key is to make the feedback experience seamless and the insight actionable. Apps have the benefit of being more active, appear in the user’s focus and can take advantage of various possibilities of Teams platform. For example, some apps can request feedback at set intervals or based on triggers inside the user’s team, results are real-time, and some even have action planners or corrective action guides. On the other side, forms are also available out-of-the-box but are more passive and typically not as robust or seamless. Teams is for your organization’s users, give your users a voice.
Start simple, pilot and iterate
Keep in mind: Teams is for users. It is their workplace, their hub for work. IT may help set up Teams, but it’s the business and users that are the key players who will both start using Teams if there are benefits for them to gain. Commonly, multiple pilot groups or stages are used to discover what works, what needs attention and how resistance is minimized. The tool’s value is directly correlated to usage, ensuring user adoption throughout the rollout is mandatory for a successful Teams implementation.