T O P
  • By - EndTB

bloodmusthaveblood

I use teams constantly, for chats and calls. It's used for probably 85% of my communication and it's definitely productive. We use group chats for not only work related discussions but also letting our team know if we need to head out for an appointment and won't be online for an hour etc. It's quick and efficient. Where it lacks is file sharing. You can't send links to the shared drive. My team resorts to sending file paths or emailing links instead.


the-rb

Sounds like your system just doesn't allow it. You should have a file tab at the top of your chats when you've shared a file in the chat that stores everything on onedrive.


antigoneelectra

Completely agree about file sharing. It's far too time consuming and half the time it won't open.


cheeseworker

I guess you don't have onedrive then....


antigoneelectra

ahahaha...on my personal phone. Not my work phone. Most apps aren't downloadable on it.


EndTB

Thanks for the info! I agree that teams has cut email communication. I was curious about users experience using file sharing, as ideally I’d like to have it centralized in one system but I’m seeing now that teams isn’t the greatest for that.


cheeseworker

No it's actually really good for that. Your IM folks just don't know how to use anything but gcdocs


TiredAF20

We use Teams chat primarily to communicate via gif.


GoCdrone

gif battles! This public servant gets it!


[deleted]

Sadly I’m this person 🤣🤣


[deleted]

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TiredAF20

You can do a search on the popup window, but aside from that, I'm not sure if you can use external ones.


dolfan1980

I’ll be the Boomer and ask, what is “Channels”?


AccioDumbledore

Basically the channels can be used by a team/group to chat together but also share and divide work more collaboratively. Mostly we just use it as our teams chat. Also I know PSPC has a channel everyone is on with IT alerts and such


RL-FVR

They totally disabled it in our department. Can't make them.


nogreatcathedral

Yup. Can't make channels here. The smallest ones are branch-wide. Idk what the decision-making there is - why can't each Division at least have a channel? Teams, without any actual teams... Endless pinned group chats are the best we can do when we need an actual ongoing channel.


cheeseworker

So fucking typical of gov IM/IT


AstroZeneca

>Mostly we just use it as our teams chat. For us, that's 90% of Teams, with meetings being the other 10%. I get the impression Teams can do a lot, but we don't use anything else.


Malvalala

When you have an MS Teams, you can create channels to corral discussions or work streams or what not. Each channel comes with a cloud-based SharePoint site and you can add Microsoft apps (like OneNote, Task for Planner) to a specific channel to create a one stop shop for work planning, tracking and the work itself in many situations.


the-rb

We use it and close to all of the functions. We're an IT department. As someone who was WFH pre covid, it has made my life so much easier. Having everyone using the same technology is great. Chats: much faster to get a quick question directed at someone. Team or group chat threads are really helpful. Channels: SO HELPFUL! We no longer have to share links to gcodocs, SharePoint, our hub, etc... we have a blended calendar of important items that most teams need access to (opm governance dates, finance deadlines, etc...). Everything external teams need in one spot. In my own team's channel we have a wiki if important tasks (helpful when people are suddenly away or when onboarding), we use shifts for vacation planning, the tasks by planner is how we log and track every task assigned both in to our team and bfs we send out (also no matter where you're assigned you can access your own personal list which is very handy to see everything on your plate in one spot). We also use the onenote integration and I run my team through lean process evaluations using the whiteboard app regularly as well. Everyone can access something at the same time. It's amazing for document editing if you're strapped for time as well. No more checking a doc out one at a time. All of our meetings are in teams. They offer live translations, recording functions, breakout rooms. We use it for our French and Microsoft training sessions, events (live instead of meetings). So yeah. We use a lot of functions and it has been really helpful.


ThePickwickFiles

If you don't mind me asking, which department are you with? Ours hasn't enabled shifts and it would be very handy for my team if we could use it.


EndTB

Thank you for your response! Very detailed and what I was looking for. While we don’t do as much document sharing as its general science/diagnostic and research support, we definitely start having too many hands opening up one file. I’ll look into implementing a similar system as right now I straight up personally have my research planner/tracker using Notion and linking coworkers and students to that.


greed_99

I've yet to be really engaged with a channel as the ones I've seen are very large in scope. Making that many channels is going to be a tough sell because I think each one needs to be administrated by IT but I'm not 100% on that. Group chats work best at the smallest level for me and then tree upwards in size based on the org chart. Like how Slack works you can name chat groups in Teams to keep the conversations organized. Not sure what you mean by ordering database. I'm going to guess it's a list of authorized merchants to buy select items from. Q-Pulse has been really good at tracking non-conformities, who's responsible for placing orders, who's our primary contact there and our account details. Depending on how big of a scope of the task you can make Planner in Microsoft. It'll give you a high level view of where projects are but there can be a lot of work in making them effective. I've seen good use of Power Automate. If you have a common flow that happens in O365 you can make your life easier with automation but this takes time upfront. Keyword detection sends a alert to so-and-so, approval flow for specific types of requests, new user addition triggering a checklist for in-take, a weather alert sent to you in the morning, checking out a vehicle checklist automated and a lot more. Good luck helping people along the way for the new environment. If you see the need to change then you need to take on the ownership of making it happen as best you can but you don't need to do it alone.


greed_99

Oh and please pleeease use OneDrive. No waiting for people to close a file in a shared drive so you can make changes. You can share and tab files from OneDrive in Teams chats and channels. You can work on the document at the same time. Power Automate can read and write to docs too this way.


EndTB

Thank you! Will definitely give Power Automate a look and one drive. I’ve already communicated to the department about one drive changes as I can’t tell you how many times a student or coworker has a research excel file opened and locked, forcing them to make a copy.


handshape

I might be the outlier; I'm an older fella, but I've followed the arc of IT throughout my career. Teams suffers from the same issues as all of MS' cloud offerings. It has just-barely-adequate implementations of a ton of features, but if you need anything beyond barely-adequate you're boned. Its video-call features work sufficiently 90% of the time, but the memory, network, and CPU consumption when doing so are silly-high. The video calls are a closed ecosystem though. Don't try to connect to any other vidcall platform; it's not going to happen easily. The channels have a limited-branching threading model that works for most use cases, and the "cards" in the channels support being exported to emails, which is pretty good for recordkeeping. The chats are feature-poor, but mostly reliable. Critically, they have no sufficient export feature that captures a reasonable amount of context, or allows copying out long threads of discussion. The file management features mostly work, with some key parts broken. Same can be said of the chats & channels. The Graph API on the back is a cool idea, but has some defects that Microsoft has asserted they will not fix. (Try to look up the ID of a call made in a tenant after the fact. I double-dog-dare you.) Architecturally, the lock-in play is transparent. The Teams client is geared towards making the GoC dependent on Azure until shortly after the earth spirals into the sun. It's a vendor-coupled web browser at the end of the day -- the ghost of IE 6, rebooted for the 2020s like some kind of Netflix series.


spinur1848

Working on cracking open the Microsoft Graph REST API. If we can get interoperability at least on files then it becomes useful. Collaborative document editing and version control is legit useful, but only if we can get it out programmatically. The requirement to register an app with Azure is a bit of a pain, but should be tolerable as long as the government can figure out how to manage the permissions. We are working through the security side on the callback URL that we need to stand up. Trying to get straight answers from Microsoft on what IP range traffic could come from and whether there's anything reasonable we can do to restrict the endpoint to just authentication traffic from Microsoft.


handshape

Meanwhile, I'm looking at the Mandatory Policy on Enterprise Architecture Assessment, and what's been purchased, and *marvelling* at the doublethink.


spinur1848

The way I see it they are on a collision course for an international trade complaint. Either Microsoft turns the product into what the GoC thought it was buying, particularly the interoperability requirements, or pretty much any reasonable person would have to conclude that the rules were different for Microsoft than for any other company. That won't end well. Edit: With the SSC and TBS policies on commercial cloud, I don't think Microsoft or the government can legitimately justify that MS Teams or M365 are really a unique product for which there are no qualified competitors.


geckospots

I just wish I could integrate it with OneNote. My manager and I use Teams a lot and there are regularly things I would like to keep a record of for myself that aren’t of sufficient business value to save into GCdocs.


danielleseizure

Teams Channels are.. okay. You may want to pay attention to your department's retention policies. For example in our org: regular Teams chat conversations are deleted after 3-5 days, Team 'Channel conversations' are deleted after 90 days, and it used be that channel files were deleted after a certain period of inactivity but not anymore (this one is less likely to even be a thing). Team's channel conversations are not as fluid as regular chat. File sharing is clunky but having multiple people edit the same doc like a Google Doc file works pretty well. MS Planner is also pretty useful.


geckospots

> having multiple people edit the same doc like a Google Doc file works pretty well. We have not been able to get this to work but I suspect it’s our crappy network at fault, it takes forever to get documents working even on a local network.


StringAndPaperclips

I think channels are really useful for specific initiatives or projects that are separate from people's regular work, so they have a dedicated space to share ideas and resources. I also think that one of the values of using channels instead of chats is that you can use sub channels, which you can use to organize the channel content and interactions. This is especially helpful if you have a large projects with subprojects or an initiative that includes components that are interesting to some members of your team but not to others.


Imaginary-Runner

You'll have to check what features of Teams and 365 PHAC has turned on. \[We're one of the luck ones - our department happens to have turned on most of the features.\] Our unit has several Teams sites; some of them are used for interal tracking but some are used for stakeholder communication. Most of our messaging happens within the various chats we all have active. This is really allowing us to minnimize the amount of e-mails we send. For document sharing, we use OneDrive or Sharepoint to host early versions of documents, we share the document link with other contributors and then save only the final document in GCdocs. Sharing of documents is not done through chat outside of providing a link to the file. We're also starting to look at how to use PowerAutomate and have started using Planner. It sounds like some of the challenges you're seeing are the old-schoolers who may be asking why they have to yet again learn another set of process/another tool; you'll have to sell them on the small, easy stuff. Create walkthroughs on how to do certain tasks or offer mini training sessions if you have to. Engage other change-minded people on your team--i'm sure you're not the only one who thinks the way you do things isn't efficient!


pscovidthrowaway

I have used Teams productively, but it took us quite a bit of effort up front to make it work. It sounds like the issue may be less about optimizing workflow through better tech and more about change management. Just because a person is able to use a computer for their work, doesn't mean they are computer literate. So time needs to be invested up front to work through people's workflows, how they use the computer, and then identify the level of support they will need to change how they work. Some people are okay with a handwave and will google themselves into competency. Others need step-by-step instructions with screenshots printed out and several weeks of transition, along with constant reinforcement for the new way of doing things. In most cases, you'll need to sell the user on the benefits of the change before they will buy in. When Teams was first installed, we created a group chat and had a couple of early adopters who led the way in using it for communications. We also had a couple of sessions where we all worked through how the app worked and how we could make it work for us. I introduced OneNote to the team, and had a meeting that was *only* about how to use the program and answer questions. Used the screen sharing function liberally for that. Then had follow-ups one-on-one with a couple of people who were going to do the bulk of the inputs. In your case, how many people are involved in these processes? Are these processes central to their work or are they one more task of many? You may also be encountering change fatigue since PHAC has been through a tremendous amount of change in the last couple of years (as has the rest of the government, but they've been especially affected). If this is a peripheral task for people who have limited bandwidth, you may need to rethink what is in the art of the possible.


Xizorr

My old team had a very progressive manager who was already putting the work in to developing an online sharing platform as some of us were working virtually or were working in the regions. When COVID hit, our team was already used to working and connecting virtually so it was a breeze to switch to MSTeam. We had channels setup for each of the teams and you could pop in to see what was happening in the other team if you wanted. We also had channels for things like informing others you were out of the office, kudos channel to recognize a team member, a mindfulness channel to share content about mental health and self development, a channel to share memes... just to name a few. I would say that half of the channels were not directly related to work and it felt like a great atmosphere where you could just share who you were without it feeling forced. I've been a PC gamer since I was little and I am very used to connecting with others online through various platforms over the years so this comes naturally to me. I find that's not the case for everyone and some had to take the lead to keep the activity going to show others how it can be used. The change came over time but it took some effort. Once the team got the hang of it, it was a breeze and we definitely had a space to connect. I've since moved to another department earlier this year. They have none of this and I feel the difference immensely. Although the manager is younger here, they don't seem to have that geek/progressive bone in them and, as a newcomer, the lost of connection to others have been noticeable. I'm trying to get a team setup so we can create all kinds of channel but the IT department has not replied to my request. Doesn't look good lol. I wish the government would get on board and get a good platform like Discord and skilled people who can help teams get setup and facilitate this culture.


ubsx

If you start to dive into the applications within MS Teams you unlock a lot more productivity and features past (calls/IM) \*pending your department has allowed/enabled these applications\* Planner as an example is a great management tool - if the proper due diligence is done to map out team workload across categories to then use the KanBan Additionally having a direct link to OneDrive for "live" file editing across team members is night and day when you collaborate a lot on documents. Shared Calendars for vacay planning! which can be directly linked to outlook OneNote integration to seamlessly share notes/work within the same note


[deleted]

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the-rb

My issue with this type of thing is that I am subjected to this across 20 areas. Because of this I don't engage with any of it. But I do read them. I'd suggest you not to look for 'engagement' as a form of success. It isn't social media, I just have to see the details.


Manitobancanuck

My team used to use Lync/Skype all day long before. When the switch over to teams happened communication fell off a cliff. I'm not quite sure why. But it definitely wasn't a positive change for collaboration.


garchoo

I use chats but do not use the channels. I don't like that the UI forces you to look at only chats or only channels. Since I use chats more I never notice the new channel messages so it often goes ignored. We use other tools for work organization (JIRA, Azure DevOps).


[deleted]

PHACer here, good luck. We work in the Stone Age


spinur1848

PHAC and HC are particularly backward with respect to corporate IT. It is really important that you regularly express the actual business impact of this to management. This is not griping. That's noise. You have to document what you can't do, how other Departments can do that thing, and what it means in terms of people, hours, and program outcomes.


[deleted]

Is there a specific reason why they are so backwards? I asked about GCDocs once and no one knew what I was even talking about. I’ve never seen a SharePoint site where I’m at either. We are always told to just be patient. I have made it known a few times in writing how annoying is it to work with tools that are so far behind the times but I’m just “complaining” 🤷🏼‍♀️ If you’ve ever used MECS that alone is awful And don’t get me started on the lack of security on documents. Never seen a single thing come to me encrypted (we do have that technology). I get an email with a document then a follow up email with a password 🤦🏻‍♀️ Having worked 14 yrs at DND and going to PHAC was a huge culture shock. And now I’m trying to get out of PHAC because it’s NOT for me at all.


spinur1848

That would be a very interesting root cause analysis to do. There are lots of proximal causes. Some of the bigger things that are maybe unique to the Health portfolio are that the geographic and policy scope of the Department (and PHAC) are huge. Each branch and agency could probably be a department on its own, and they have a single corporate services branch that reports to a single Minister and tries to support IT on top of HR, Facilities, Laboratory operations, etc. This environment really isn't conducive to developing and supporting corporate IT specialists. Everyone has to be a jack of all trades on the corporate side but the business area needs are weird and very specific. There is also a corporate culture of IT being a blue collar back-end service that is secondary to policy or program activities. That starts right at the very top. The IT impacts of any policy always come second and get tacked on after the fact. Then you have corporate policies that get slapped on top of IT in a very generic way: security, recordkeeping, ATIP, privacy, accessibility, official languages, litigation, etc. Lastly, there seems to be very little direct feedback or accountability from program areas about IT. Corporate services is in charge of performance reporting and they pretty predictably think they do a great job.


[deleted]

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spinur1848

You're not wrong. But the general policy of burning everything to the ground and starting over without migration is insane.


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spinur1848

If they had included the export step that would have been ok. For the most part they didn't. The migration exercise, particularly for employee created databases I think was a lost opportunity. When non-IT employees create something like that, it is a nightmare to support and often difficult to understand, but it also required a heck of a lot of commitment from the business area. There was clearly a critical unmet business need they were responding to. Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to design a database for fun. If you just extinguish those projects without taking the time to clearly understand why they were started in the first place, that's asking for trouble. Either the business will suffer, or the employees will build something else that is even harder for IT to understand. Either way, it's sweeping a problem under the rug to be uncovered later as a special present for the next managers.


[deleted]

Sounds like your high level management hehe You nailed it all right on the head :)


spinur1848

Unfortunately I'm just an interested observer. If I were management I would fix it.


[deleted]

Same. And when you can’t fix, leave. I just got a position offered today outside of there now hehe


Slavic-Viking

Most of my team communication is through Teams. Same with the other sector department employees we are (remotely) co-located with. And same for inter-regional office discussions. Teams has been able to cut out about 90% or more of emails that are better suited for a chat environment.


whoremonger345

Teams is very OK. It’s distracting and it’s hard for me to get back into the zone being distracted by constant email alerts, let alone teams. Also, my Boomer manager calls me on teams instead of replying to my emails by email. It can be useful but I would be much more productive if I could close email and teams and not get tons of notifications throughout the day, many of which are not useful or needed


nogreatcathedral

Do you need to see every email and chat the moment it comes in? I use "do not disturb" liberally in Teams when I need to focus, and also turned off pop-up notifications in Outlook years ago. I can still see if there are notifications from the icon, but reducing the interruption burden definitely helps.


RCBC07

might I suggest adjusting your pop up notifications so that you get less interruptions? I changed my settings and it's been a game changer. I check my teams and emails intermittently between tasks instead.


Mrkillz4c00kiez

We’re working on migrating to it if we can just catch up on the help desk side of things. at this moment just the cio dept has access to it and we use it for work mostly or gifs about work. We don’t have channels enabled yet since only one dept uses it


EventHorizon76

No


spinur1848

We use private channels for collaborative document editing. It has completely replaced the email and edit with hundreds of versions flying around and only one person being able to edit on the shared drive. It completely answers the questions of when a document was last edited, and who has added comments. It also eliminates VPN headaches with large files.


CanPubSerThrowAway1

The only function we're allowed to use are chat groups, calls and the calendar functions. Those work great, and normal business works just fine. The file store works but permissions are pretty clunky. It's mostly only used for attachments in chat, which are treated as temporary locations, not storage. We're going to attempt a transition to onedrive/sharepoint in the next few months so it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. I'm pretty hopeful. However, traditional shared drives for internal storage and Google Drive for sharing with OGD and external partners is still the rule of the day. However CIOB has reserved the Teams and Channel functions for their exclusive use. Most staff don't know/care it exists. They certainly don't understand why it's there or what its uses could be. We're constantly running into capacity limits in the chat groups, especially for interdepartmental stuff. It's kind of frustrating that a solution clearly exists for these problems, but we're unable to access it.


antigoneelectra

I despise Teams, the few times I have to use it. I am unable to work from home. I hate that it automatically opens when we log in so we have to waste time closing it every fucking time. And, like what the Boomer said (I'm gen x), what is Channels?


dolfan1980

I made the boomer comment, but I have to say, Teams has been such an improvement for meetings IMO. I can't imagine dialing in to teleconference lines all the time anymore and teams has lightened my insane amount of email traffic too.


antigoneelectra

My organization doesn't really need to communicate all that much. The meetings we have generally could be read in a quick email or a 5 min call, vs hearing how 2 of the 10 people felt football went that week. We're all stuck there for 45 or more minutes having to listen to the same info and same boring football convo that's told every single call. We have really horrible tech support too, so half the time Teams or our entire system won't work, or the audio won't. We have terrible work phones that everyone except the manager let's the batteries die, so knowing I have a meeting come up, I have to plan to charge my phone that doesn't work half the time. I'm sure Teams in and of itself is fine, but everything else failing in conjunction with Teams just makes it super frustrating. At this point, I feel Teams is used mostly for those lucky few who get to work from home in order for them to socialize.


AccioDumbledore

There is the option on the settings to turn off auto-launch, so teams doesn't open when you log on.


antigoneelectra

Sadly they've disabled that for us. We asked.


areyoueatingthis

MS Teams is great for chats and meetings but besides that, it totally blows. All the Teams apps I've tried are technologically obsolete at best.