Microsoft Teams Adoption & Governance Advice


Mary Lou Theobald. I’m with Gannett. I’ve been with Gannett for 22 years in a variety of positions. The last 20 or so I’ve
managed the team that we’ll call Technology Learning Services and while
it sounds like a training team, we do user adoption, we do, we’re really working
on some digital workplace things. How do we really impact the way people work? We talk about work, we talk about the ways people work, but a lot of
our work processes haven’t adopted or adapted to the modern workplace, sure,
and how do we do that? How do we help people work anyplace, anytime? You’re the superheroes? Yes. The superheroes. We started an initiative, it
was actually when we first migrated to Office 365 within that first year, called
Re-imagining Work and the whole notion was how do we think about our work
differently? Six years later I really have come to shift that and I call it
Renovate Work because we aren’t at the point where we can just think about work
differently, we have to actually tear down some walls and build new structures or figure out how we need to set up structures and how we need to do that in
a way that helps build our new work processes. I will say, that is one of the
things I really like about Teams. Is it puts you in a place where you start
interacting with people differently. Obviously culture is a huge part of what
you stand for as an organization, we also talked to a lot of other organizations
where they obviously are very clear that this is a cultural conversation today
but there’s not the empowerment, I would phrase it, that you’ve given teams where
they can go in and there they have the empowerment to go solve their problems.
If you’re talking to one of your peers, and they don’t have that set up, and I’m
guessing that’s something you built twenty two years ago when you came onto the team, what advice would you give them looking back to create that culture
where we remove this constant concern about support and governance, so to speak, and really allow people to empower and create and solve their own challenges,
have this accountability that we’re transferring if that makes sense? So part of the way I approach things is a three prong approach when you’re doing
adoption. I call it embrace, engage, and empower. The first stage is from a change management perspective. You just need to get people to embrace the fact that
you’re gonna change them. So early, often? Yes, that the communication is
important. Here’s what’s going to happen, here’s why it’s happening, here’s why
it’s important to our company, here’s what it’s going to benefit us. You
do that and then when you move them, or when you migrate them, or bring
them over to using a tool, you know, and for us it was migration from Skype to
Teams, that we would put a lot of emphasis around. Then you start getting
them to engage in the new features. Way, way back. When you’re saying we’re talking the features that were different from the previous powers, right? Yes. So one of the things I do
when I’m adopting, helping people adopt the tools, I list everything that the
old tool can do and everything that the new tool can do. Then you start matching it up. It really, I call it project based training. Your following a project management flow
because that’s really your gap analysis. They used to be able to do this, now they
can’t. You have to teach that and train that differently. Oh, we have something new, that’s your, you know, your golden ticket if you will. Those are the things that you
really want to highlight. You know this is going to take three clicks now, but
but we’re gonna give you so much more over here. So you really start making
that. When I talk about engage, its how do we engage with the new tool? One
of the tricky parts is you don’t want there to be too much time between
embrace and engage. Because if I just say, I’m gonna move you over here,
you’re gonna love it, you’re gonna be happy about it, they’re gonna go and
use their work processes the same way as before. You start to get them to engage with a new tool and you start to roll out, I did this with
some people lately. We put them in a team, let them start experimenting. Then within the team I said, by the way, did you download the mobile app? Here are some things you can do. Oh by the way… and you start introducing
features and you bring them along. But the real sweet spot, I was glad you
mentioned the word empower, because, that wasn’t planned by the way, I know I know, you didn’t see my notes. When
you get to the point where you’re empowering people to change their work
processes, that’s when you really know you’ve renovated work. You’ve really
given them the opportunity to start acting differently. That’s so refreshing to hear your perspective on this, cause again this comes up so often and everybody
gets the culture aspect, but I’m not sure it’s really understood how critical that
is to make it happen. So I’m really honest with customers. I mean Teams is a different way of working, right? It’s not Skype 2.0. It is not an extension of
email. It is a very different way of working and you’ve got to change
mindset. But when you do it the way you all have done, it’s amazing hearing your
story at Gannett because you’re unleashing these incredible work
teams. The other thing that I think is really critical when you start looking at this, this is not an IT initiative. I’ve heard you say that kind of thing before you hear everybody say that, but you can’t just think of it from the perspective of bits
of bytes and you know turning on Teams and whether or not you want it in island
mode or whatever. You have to think about it much more holistically. There are a
lot of people that are corporate communications and there are a lot of
people who are HR specialists or leaders and they’re looking at how do
we communicate and we need to step back and stop thinking about our
collaborative tools from the IT perspective, but from the corporate
communications and how do we work and how do we think about our work? Which is much more than HR thing. So I think when you start bringing those
people into the conversation and if you, you know, if you’r e thinking about
this now and you haven’t brought them in it’s really critical that you do that.
I mean to summarize that thought, I mean you know, you’re done it for 22 years,
your organization has embraced this culture for such a long time there’s a
lot organizations who are a bit laggards, are slower its lower along that adoption
curve, so to speak, but what I find really interesting is when customers
start to get it, I’ve actually had some verbatim tell me that Teams can
actually become the bridge between IT and the business and organizations where we’ve actually struggled with that relationship. Because it’s not about
control in my mind, back to your point, it’s about empowerment and enablement,
and again, there’s nuances to every industry, every organization, every geo so
there’ll be some governance and some nuances again to the way that
you support, but I’d love your perspective. People like me, generally I
consider myself a champion, but you need that catalyst who is sometimes the person who is behind the scenes that you never even know exists that’s pushing the
movement forward and I like to think of the tool as the catalyst and when you
allow the tool to be the catalyst, you can be the person out front saying we
need to do that, but the tool is what’s enabling underneath, it’s enabling that
ability to work differently and so when you start to say they’re the engine
behind me, and I have an image, a graphic that I use when I do presentations and
it’s this arrow and it’s got somebody standing up in front of the arrow kind
of looking like you know, crossing the Delaware or whatever, and they’ve got all
these you know figures carrying the carrying the arrow and if you think
about that as the arrow being the tool and being the catalyst, we’re all there
supporting it and you’ve got somebody there helping to run that, that’s when you
really have that ability to start empowering your work. I could geek out with you for hours. We wrestle a lot with governance and I don’t know
that we have the ideal situation, but right now we have it open.
Everybody can create their own. I almost got to a panic point a week or so ago
somebody was asking me about something and I said well here let me show you
something in Teams, and while we were talking he starting creating and it’s like oh, maybe we’ve stepped two steps too far, but it worked out beautifully. They
created 19 private teams within. We’ve got the general channel opened up. It was
a way that they needed to invite external users, and so we have all of these private channels where people can upload their content and
it’s worked out really well. So why leave it open, why, because obviously part of its
an empowerment, but you know the most common question we get asked is that’s
great I’d love everybody to do this, but I’m concerned about who’s gonna support
these solutions afterwards and what if we have a thousand teams created in a
week? How did you get over that? Sounds like you have the same
concerns or at least you addressed those right? We had, you know, we had SharePoint where we
provisioned and then when groups came along it’s like, you guys realize people are creating their own SharePoint groups you know, it’s got a SharePoint site, and that took a little bit of getting used to, but I
think overall the mindset is what are we trying to accomplish? And if you’re
really trying to accomplish a better work process, removing that barrier,
let me tell you on a Saturday, if there is a breaking news event, do I want the
whole weight of the company on my shoulders for creating a team or
creating a chat for them? No, I want them to be able to do their work and do what
they need to do. We put in some place, you know, placeholders or some checks and balances where you can go through and look to see if there’s a team that
hasn’t been touched in a year and you know you either try to notify the owner,
if the owner isn’t there anymore then, you know, so we decided we’d rather
deal with it on the back end and clean up and do that kind of thing rather than be
a barrier. I applaud it. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing that.

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