Discussion Thread

Microsoft Teams Workshop

  • 1.  Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-17-2020 04:47 PM

    COVID-19 has drastically impacted our current work environment. Employees have switched to virtual platforms to facilitate meetings and communicate from their homes.

    Many of us are still learning new platforms. I would like to introduce @Doug Cantrell and @Danielle Schroeder. They will be sharing their expertise on Microsoft Teams in this thread. Please "Ask Them Anything" in this thread and they will be answering your questions on how to use Teams effectively.

    This thread will be open through Friday, May 22. Experts will share their feedback on the thread until Sunday, May 24. Please contact me if you have any questions about participating in the workshop.

    Examples of questions include:
    - How to be more productive using Teams?
    - How to use voice and video for chats and meetings?
    - How to use file sharing for collaboration work?
    - How to use apps within Teams to track assignments?
    - What are common mistakes to avoid? 

    Reminder: All posts must comply with the ASCE Collaborate Code of Conduct

    ​​

    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-18-2020 04:32 AM
    Thanks Tirza for starting this! I'm pretty new to Team so I would love to hear some tips and tricks to effectively use Team for projects.

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    Tung Nguyen, MSc
    PhD Candidate
    Washington State University
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  • 3.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-18-2020 09:53 AM

    Hi Tung Nguyen - great question! One of my favorite tips to effectively use Teams is to create Tags for specific subgroups of your Team. You can add these within the "Manage Team" settings. For example, we have a "BRIDGE" tag for the 11 members of our team who need to be updated about bridge-related information as the full 36 person transportation group does not need push notifications related only to our subgroup. ​​ It also saves time so that you don't have to tag 11 people each time you want to notify just the bridge subgroup!

    ​More information from Microsoft Teams on using Tags: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/manage-tags

    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-18-2020 01:05 PM
    Hi Tung Nguyen,
    There are a lot of great ways to use Microsoft Teams for projects. Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful when using Teams:
    • Utilize the Chat feature to instant message project team members. This is a great way to keep in touch with your team on a daily basis.
      • Tip: Make sure you are typing in the right chat box to avoid typing to the wrong audience.
    • Utilize the Calls feature to talk 1-on-1, or with a group of people. If you have a webcam, or are utilizing Microsoft Teams on a tablet or smartphone, you have the option of video calling as well. This is a great way to keep project stakeholders and management up to date on project progress.
      • Tip: If video calling, be mindful of your surroundings, as people will be able to see the background of your location. If you are using Microsoft Teams on a desktop or laptop, you have the option of blurring your background. However, currently you do NOT have the option to blur your background when using a tablet or smartphone. This feature should be coming soon for tablets and smartphones.
      • Trick: If using a tablet or smartphone for a video call, take a few minutes before the call to set up a stand for your tablet or smartphone. Books can be used to make a stand that so your device can display you in a comfortable and natural way. This will help make sure your arm doesn't get tired from holding your device, and will provide a stable video image, rather than shaky hands. This can be important for longer duration video calls.
    • You can use Microsoft Teams as a file sharing platform too. Simply drag a file into a chat window, or click on the "Attach" button in a chat window (looks like a paper clip). This is a great way to allow your team to view and edit the same document.
      • Tip: Be aware that when using Microsoft Teams, that any changes to a document are automatically saved and will overwrite the original document. This happens even if the user tries to "Save As" at a later point. So when editing a document, always "Save As" as the FIRST step, then edit the document.


    ------------------------------
    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 11:45 AM
    Thanks Tirza! I have two questions

    1.) Is there a way to permanently adjust ​the lobby settings or do you have to do that for every meeting? I don't want people or phone callers having to wait in the lobby.
    2.) What apps do you use with Teams? I'm new to apps, so any suggestions on ones that can be beneficial would be appreciated.

    Appreciate the time! :)

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    Maggie Weems P.E., M.ASCE
    Vestavia Hills AL
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  • 6.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 12:50 PM
    Hi @Maggie Weems,

    I encountered question 1 during the set up of the Thursday @ 3 series. You can adjust these settings individually by going to "Meeting Options" (see screenshot):

      

    Then you can select who can bypass the lobby.

    It sounds like you want to change these settings for all your meetings. The administrator of your account can set the default for who can bypass the lobby. ASCE adjusted these default settings recently. Please let me know if you are interested in knowing how to do this as an administrator and I'm happy to find the answer for you if you have administrator permissions.

    I'm looking forward to hearing @Doug Cantrell and @Danielle Schroeder answer to question 2. 

    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 04:24 PM
    Hi @Maggie Weems,
    Thank you @Tirza Austin​​ for answering Maggie's first question.

    As for your second question, as it relates to using app in Teams, I can share some of my experiences.

    As an engineer, I work with Excel spreadsheets frequently. Rather than have to have 2 separate windows open (1 for Teams and 1 for Excel), I use the Excel app in Teams. This allows me to edit the Excel spreadsheet while still in the Teams window. This sounds relatively minor, but here are 2 reasons why using the Excel app has been an improvement for me:
    • First, it allows me to use 1 window. While my office at work has 2 monitors, my office at home only has 1 monitor. Since COVID-19 has forced most people to work from home, this meant a lot switching between open windows from Teams to Excel. This was a hassle for me, as every time I switched from 1 window to another, I had to readjust my train of thought. Having to readjust my thought process multiple times in a day was draining and less productive. Now I use apps for Excel and Word in Teams to minimize switching windows.
    • Second, it allows me to collaborate with my team members easily on a document by using the Excel app. Say I am checking a design calculation in an Excel spreadsheet, and I have a question on one of the equations. With the spreadsheet still open, I can Chat with a team member about my question. The team member can simultaneously open the spreadsheet and see the last comment I made on the equation in question. We can quickly discuss my question and make edits to the spreadsheet right then and there, in real time. This helps save a lot of time when reviewing calculations, as I can discuss any issues with the designer, where we can come to a conclusion quickly, and then make the changes, which are saved and updated automatically. This saves a lot of back and forth time with the designer.
    Another useful app is the Planner app. This is more suited for assigning and tracking tasks on a day to day basis. This can be a great way to see your tasks, so you can effectively plan your day to meet your deadlines. The Planner app can also be a great tool for managers to keep up to date on their teams progress without having to ask each team member individually. The manager can look at each team members assignments and progress to quickly see how the team is performing.

    ------------------------------
    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 05:55 PM
    Hi @Maggie Weems! To continue on @Doug Cantrell 's answer, Planner is also my go-to app​ beyond the Microsoft suite. As you can see by the screenshot from Teams below, the Planner app has many views including this Kanban board. You can create different "buckets" for major subtasks such as Preparation and QA/QC, and then within buckets you can create tasks! ​


    Below is a screenshot of a task where you can assign the task to someone on your team (or like in this case assign it to yourself), add a priority, add a due date, and much more! 



    While not an "app", another neat function that Microsoft Teams launched recently is customized backgrounds! Excellently timed, ASCE has just launched several wallpapers that you can download to use as your custom background for a meeting and show your ASCE pride. The free backgrounds and instructions on how to add them to your Teams and Zoom applications can be viewed here: https://www.asce.org/wallpapers/



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 05:56 PM
    Thank you for the feedback! Planner is definitely one app I was interested in learning more about! I appreciate the advice!​

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    Maggie Weems P.E., M.ASCE
    Vestavia Hills AL
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  • 10.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 05:56 PM
    Thanks for sharing! This is very helpful!​

    ------------------------------
    Maggie Weems P.E., M.ASCE
    Vestavia Hills AL
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  • 11.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 03:58 PM
    What best practice have you found to use Projects within Teams and display upcoming due dates for all projects in one calendar view?

    ------------------------------
    Nicolai Oliden P.E., M.ASCE
    Roadway Team Leader
    ETHOS Engineers
    Tempe AZ
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-20-2020 03:07 PM
    Hi @Nicolai Oliden,
    I am going to try to answer your question in 2 parts. The first part is by using Project within Teams (which I have little experience with), and the second part by using Planner within Teams to see a calendar view of upcoming tasks. Hopefully together this will help you get the results you are looking for.
    • Part 1 - Using Project withing Teams to view all due dates you are responsible for across multiple projects
      • Using Project within Teams can be a great way to keep track of project milestones, share project documents, and be able to easily communicate and collaborate with the project team. Using the Project Details -> Timeline feature will show you the tasks for that project while also displaying a gannt chart for the project. But those tasks and gannt chart are only for the selected project. It sounds like you would like to see all your upcoming tasks and due dates for all of the projects you are working on. To do something similar to that in Project, would require creating a dashboard using Power BI (which may or may not be available depending on your Project subscription). Here is a screenshot from Microsoft showing the information that can be presented using a Power BI dashboard.

        You can see that while this does display all of your tasks with their projected due dates, for all of your projects, it does not do this in a calendar view.

    • ​Part 2 - Using Planner within Teams to view all due dates you are responsible for across multiple projects
      • By adding Planner to a channel, you can use the Schedule feature to see all of your tasks with start and end dates in a calendar view. You can view the calendar in a weekly or monthly format. You can add new tasks directly on the calendar view, and dynamically change the start or end dates of any task already on the calendar. You can also take tasks without a start or end date (which will be displayed to the right of the calendar) and drop them into the calendar to assign start and end dates. Here is a screenshot from Microsoft of what the calendar view looks like through Planner -> Schedule
        I believe this is more of what you are looking for. You can also view your tasks in the Teams calendar, and the calendar can be exported to Outlook as well.
    By using Planner you may need to re-enter your Project tasks to be able to see it in a calendar view, and depending on how many tasks you have, that could be a time consuming process.

    Hopefully one of these solutions can work for you.

    ------------------------------
    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 04:49 PM
    Tirza - Thank you for starting this discussion.  I have participated in multiple Microsoft Teams​ calls - but I have not created / hosted any calls.  What is your advice for creating / hosting a reoccurring (e.g. weekly or monthly) Outlook calendar appointment using the Microsoft Teams platform?  Can I create these appointments at one time for an entire year using the same Microsoft Teams login information, or will I need to create a new appointment each month with different login info.?  Thanks, LP

    ------------------------------
    Lawren Pratt P.E., M.ASCE
    KBR
    Birmingham AL
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  • 14.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-19-2020 05:56 PM
    @Lawren Pratt Great question! To create a call, click on your "Calendar" button on the left ribbon in Teams, and then select the original date and time of the meeting. The line after the original date (shown in the screenshot below) is the reoccurrence option which has a number of preset options as well as a custom option. Using the reoccurrence function, the login information will be the same for each meeting. I used this to create our Bridge Workload meeting that we hold every Monday morning.

     ​

    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-20-2020 08:34 AM
    Danielle - Thank you - this sparks two more questions: 1) If I want to add or subtract meeting attendees to the calendar invitation during the year​, will I be able to provide [to the meeting attendees] the same login information that was given with the original reoccurring meeting invitation, or will the Microsoft Teams program automatically generate a new login in number / password?  2) If I need to change one of the meeting dates/times sometime during the middle of the year, will the Microsoft Teams program allow me to modify only one of the meetings?

    ------------------------------
    Lawren Pratt P.E., M.ASCE
    KBR
    Birmingham AL
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-20-2020 10:41 AM
    @Lawren Pratt - the short answer to both of your questions - yes.  ​If you have ever scheduled a Skype meeting through Microsoft Outlook, the process is very similar.

    1) I have a standing monthly meeting our company's "Future Leaders" group. We have a core group of members but do have 'guest' appearances occasionally to talk about a certain topic. To add or subtract meeting attendees for a specific meeting in an occurrence, you go to the calendar and click on the specific meeting in the series where you want to add or subtract attendees which will look like the screenshot below. There you can modify attendees and even add someone as an "Optional" attendee!


    2) Keeping with my example of our Weekly Bridge Meeting, I have set up this meeting as a reoccurring meeting every Monday at 8:30 - 9:00 AM EST. However, next Monday is Memorial day which is a holiday for us. To modify this specific meeting, you again go to your calendar view and click on the specific meeting in the reoccurrence you are looking to change. It will then let you change that specific meeting occurrence without interfering with the rest of the reoccurrences in the series as shown in the screenshot below. Additionally, in the top left corner of the screenshot is the "Cancel Meeting" button. If you click that, it will let you choose to either cancel this specific occurrence or the entire series. The login information will remain the same for the series.

    I think this answers both of your follow up questions, but please let me know if you need me to explain the process in more detail!



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-20-2020 12:26 PM
    ​Danielle - Perfect - thank you.  This is very helpful.

    ------------------------------
    Lawren Pratt P.E., M.ASCE
    KBR
    Birmingham AL
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  • 18.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-22-2020 06:42 PM
    Thank you to @Danielle Schroeder and @Douglas Cantrell for leading this workshop. I hope everyone learned as much as I did with their responses.

    We are now closing this thread. Any more questions will not be posted. ​​Thank you to everyone for your participation. Have a great weekend!

    ------------------------------
    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Microsoft Teams Workshop

    Posted 05-24-2020 08:01 AM
    Thank you @Tirza Austin for hosting this, my fellow co-lead @Doug Cantrell for his thoughtful answers, and most importantly all those who took part in this thread! As we didn't cover as much about how Microsoft Teams can be used for the academic side of Civil Engineering, I wanted to provide the following additional resource: https://ditchthattextbook.com/microsoft-teams/

    Cheers and I hope to chat with you all again soon!



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------