Teams is the big new collaboration buzz here at Ignite, and at today’s session we get to see behind the curtains and get a little insight about the announcements made at the conference. This is an open Q&A session where the panel will talk about the news at the conference, the reactions to the announcements, and take questions from the audience.
About the team onstage
Darrell Webster – @regarding365
Dan Stevenson – Principal Group Program Manager, Microsoft
Loryan Strant – Consultant Prime – Office Server and Services MVP
Alistair Pugin – Productivity Evangelist – Office Server and Services MVP
Dan gave an introductory presentation with a few important Key points
- Microsoft is committed to Skype for Business. I have personally been asked if Teams is replacing SfB, but that is not the message here. There is at least one more server version in the making, and there is no announcement about any termination of SFBO
- Teams is ready now, but will get readier over time. It is an application in constant development.
- Microsoft and partners are ready to help customers adopt Teams One great place to start is using faststart http://aka.ms/SkypeAndTeams or http://successwithteams.com
- More on Compliance, management and administration will be coming soon
- All other office 365 teams are integrating their products into Teams
Introduction to the Teams team
Dan moved on to go through a couple of slides to set the agenda for the Q&A, and letting the audience hear some of the Teams team (this being the software engineering organization that builds Teams) experiences and reflections. I reccomend looking at the slides for accuracy, but here are some of the highlights I want to share:
- The team uses Teams for all internal meetings
- Teams is used for most 1-1 communication within the engineering team
- Many use chat, but the general trend is to use channels more than basic chat
- A few core teams
- 100 channels (by function, products, announcements, competitive, fun staff and more)
- Apps and extensions are widely used
After working with Teams for a while, here are some of the Teams team wishes for the future. The wish list is not a roadmap, but rather examples of areas they could look into in the future.
- Private channels within teams, creating a hierarchy
- Shared channels between teams
- Read-only channels for informational purposes
- Sharing chat history
- Participant controls in meeting (“Desperately” – Dan Stevenson )
Dan also shared some of the key findings when it comes to factors driving the usage, growth and retention
- Get the users to use the Mobile app – Users tend to be more productive when using mobile: (mobile users tend to be more active overall when mobile).
- Make sure users already belong to a team before adding them to Teams. This gives them something to start with.
- Smaller teams usually tend not to work, 3 is to small, 6+ tend to work better
- File sharing: People got to the places their files are
- An IT-led adoption tends to get things going at a quicker pace, where an organic approach will take some time to catch up in volume of active users.
My own summary
“On the way”, “on the roadmap” and “coming soon” are often a part of the answers we hear, and it just shows this is a product in the making. And it will be evolved over time, just as many other products now are continuously being improved. Microsoft encourages us to use Teams and SfB side-by-side until required functionality is ready in Teams. But if the features a group of people require is already available in Teams (like internal chat, meetings and document collaboration) you should really consider to make the swap to Teams right away.
I think it will take some time until the consumers and IT-pros get used to the idea that the product is “never” being finished the way things were done in the “old” days. This is the power of the cloud, it’s a new way to deliver funtionallity into products continously. The time when finalized products are shipped every “X” years is simply over.
Don’t heistate to get started. Use tools side-by-side, and gradually phase out obsolete tools when the new tools cover your requirements. That’s the real message here at Ignite.
A great place to go for information on what is happening, or to submit your own requests is the user voice. Use the “feedback” link within the application to be redirected to the user voice site.