Many people and students who are able to are being asked to work from home, and online collaboration and meeting solutions are reflecting that sudden surge in bandwidth consumption. This will improve over time as resources are better allocated to suit this shift in demand, but for the time being that often means notable lag when joining online meetings, regardless of platform or provider.
I tend to be punctual and efficient in leading meetings, but one adaptation I've made this week is to reserve the first 5-10 minutes of online meetings for group intermission. This allows attendees flexibility as they navigate bandwidth-related lag and delays. This has been a little bit of an adjustment for me but it has paid dividends in alleviating one small stress for remote teams. I even include it right on the meeting notice:
I may post additional tips and tricks related to successfully navigating remote work in the time of Covid-19. What are some that you've encountered?
I was pleased to present "Making Room for Governance" at this year's SharePoint Saturday in Denver's Microsoft Tech Center. The pop-up blizzard on Thursday made travel and travel delays an adventure level-up, and I had a wonderful time learning from other consultants and experts about the challenges and opportunities they're working on with Microsoft 365 (and sometimes on-premise) tools.
Governance is just a downright un-sexy topic. It's about as exciting as an annual wellness exam. No one likes it, no one looks forward to it, but we all know it's good to do. So you can imagine my surprise when I had a great crowd in a first-morning presentation slot, AND they had wonderful questions and engagement! I was also pleased to see that there were FIVE other presenters touching on Governance topics through the day, so if this is a topic you're interested in, please be sure to check those out as well.
My approach - in Governance and other business solutions - is to define solutions with an eye toward utilizing the tools you already have in place. Most of my passion is with Office 365 and Microsoft 365, so these were the platform assumptions that I used generally - but I wanted to start off with some over-arching principles about what Governance is, what it can do, how to manage it, and make it as seamless and painless as possible. Fortunately there are more tools onboard the O365 experience that help with this, including AI-driven automation opportunities. There is still a lag in what Governance tools are natively offered and what third-party tools have been able to provide that allow IT departments and global admins to better manage their tenants, but it's getting better all the time.
I'm embedding my slide presentation, but there aren't speakers notes that accompany these. During the live presentation, I elicited input from the audience as to what platforms they're using, where they are and are not using Governance, and challenges they're seeing in their rapidly changing industries - and tailored discussion for recommendations that could be easily adopted. What that means for these slides is that they might look a little boring without that context. Or, without the context of the theme music accompanying the discussion. If you're curious about that, or anything else touched on here, please reach out and ask.
If you're in the Denver area, join these great folks at the Denver Office 365 and SharePoint Meetups!
Be sure to check out the collection of speakers and slide decks on the SharePoint Saturday - Denver speakers page.
Making Room for Governance - the Presentation
I had a wonderful time at SharePoint Saturday in Denver - and am already making plans for next year!
The Before - During - and After fun
In the August features announcement about new features in SharePoint, I see my old arch-enemy, World Clocks and Time Zone webparts make an appearance. I never have had much use for these web parts personally. And honestly, I've never really understood their appeal beyond usenet groups and Myspace, when they were standard attributes.
But I am wise enough to know that my way isn't the only way, and over time I have been repeatedly surprised by enterprise clients who really, really love these web parts.
Over the years I've had to build custom code web parts to display the time and date. With Office 365 and SharePoint Online, there have been a few solutions around for the last year or so available on Github or via third parties, but now there is a built-in weather and world clock web part option for modern page layouts.
There are lots of other neat features too - call to action buttons, hero web part updates, News and announcement rollups - but what I'm betting right here and now that the biggest "wins" out of this rollout will be the time and weather features.
So saying the use of JSON scripts (even if just copying and pasting) is "no code" has always seemed a little weaselly to me. now / Soon, some types of column formatting in SharePoint will be able to be done through the UI in a more user-friendly manner. This hits targeted release folks in December, and general availability in January. In the article, you can try it out through a demo.
Check out our new interactive Office 365 page for information to help you understand the myriad of apps and licenses available, from small business to corporate enterprises.
- I don't blog frequently, but when I do, it's appreciative.
I missed an important anniversary earlier this year; Paintrock Consulting Services, LLC, had its 5th year anniversary! And it wouldn't be possible without each of the people and businesses I've had the opportunity to work with, and one business who offloaded a job to me (Thanks, Tiffany!).
I think my favorite thing about being a consultant (besides being self-employed) is that I'm able to work across a great variety of client industries. Most of them face similar challenges or solution needs, but I've learned so much about the what those challenges are, and the innovative and interesting way companies manage them. The most beneficial habit that I've gained during this time is that I think about business processes, and efficiency opportunities, anytime I have an interaction with another business - as a passerby, customer, client or collaborator.
Now I find myself thinking about every step through a transaction or touch point with a business. This one runs a very lean organization; how do they plan and manage inventory so tightly? How can this operation which requires so much labor be automated in other ways to save expenses? How does that organization manage collaboration across an entirely remote team spread around the globe? If I'm lucky those lines of thought tend to lead to others. Such as: automating these processes more robustly and in collaboration with suppliers would allow the company with tight inventory turnaround to do more accurate forecasting and avoid waste, or wait times for products. Or, if this entity could coordinate with economic development teams they could participate in fast-track trials for manufacturing evaluation and improvement.
In short, working across a variety of industries and solutions has resulted in me thinking through things much more thoroughly. Veritically - what are all the components that could relate to this scenario, and how are they related? Sequentially - what is the trigger to kick off this process? How is it resolved? What can be learned by looking at all of them collectively; statistically? Collaboratively: how could that entity be unaware of the conflict they have with this other entity if they don't communicate, but are expected to share and collaborate on regulatory information?
I consider this 360˚ Thinking. And I am a better person for using it.