Yesterday Swoop Analytics released its first comprehensive analysis of Microsoft Teams use across the Swoop client base. I am a big fan of Swoop Analytic’s work and it is great to have data now to back up the observations and expectations we had of use of the Microsoft Teams platform and its adoption across organisations. I am not going to summarise the report in this piece (others have and will do that). I strongly recommend that everyone interested in collaboration, teamwork and Microsoft Teams reads the full report. It is full of gems and requires further thinking. Even Swoop Analytics highlight that there are areas that there analysis needs to develop either because behaviour is still new and maturing on Microsoft Teams or because the data APIs don’t yet exist (though they have worked with clients on some creative workarounds for the API gaps).
However, here are my major takeaways:
People are People: Over and over again the insights in the report are that people are people. The way they have conversations is driven by human relationships. The way they organise teams is driven by culture. The way they do work is driven by culture, habits and the available solutions. Swoop Analytics’ user personas from Yammer are the same as Microsoft Teams because the users are the same (and mostly they demonstrate the same behaviour on each platform). If you want to bet on anything in Microsoft Teams ask yourself first, ‘Would a real human do that?’
Microsoft Teams is about Teamwork (in all its myriad flavours): Teams are complex. They come in many different kinds and have their own unique dynamics. Swoop Analytics have done a great job of summarising the way teams mature and what that means for the maturity of Microsoft Teams and your organisational culture. Don’t assume one size fits all. It doesn’t even fit most. Allow different teams of different types to explore their own uniqueness.
There’s no magic technology: Swoop Analytics highlight that the usage of Microsoft Teams varies widely. In many cases, that seems to depend on from what solution you are migrating. It also depends on the team culture. Like every other highly capable platform that wants to earn a share of people’s work, Microsoft Teams requires support and adoption work. Engagement is good but that is not the end of the value story for organisations.
Microsoft Teams is not the only answer: A consistent theme throughout the report is that Microsoft Teams exists in an ecosystem of solutions in the organisations. It is not the only answer. The usage of Tabs highlights that while some users are getting benefits pulling some solutions like Excel, OneNote and Planner into the Microsoft Teams single pane of glass that is not universal yet. It is also important to note that the report indicates increased collaboration when Microsoft Teams and Yammer are used together to accelerate within team engagement and work (Microsoft Teams) and to connect, share, solve and innovate with the wider organisation (Yammer)
Don’t Kill the Golden Goose: You can love Microsoft Teams to death. The high end numbers of Microsoft Teams use in the report are actually more than a little frightening. Instant messaging and flying threads is not always the best way to think and to work. You can have too much engagement for reflection and work. At the other end of the spectrum, IT can over love Microsoft Teams too with too many controls, too many rigorous how to guides, too much training, too much turning stuff off and locking down all the team structures.
Love the Features. Use the Features. Don’t Rely on Features: Features are just features. They aren’t even use cases. Microsoft Teams has an amazing array of powerful features. Don’t rely on them alone.
Bet on the Grass Roots: If you want the value of your Microsoft Teams implementation to grow and develop it needs to integrate into, adapt to and evolve with the work of the organisation and its teams. That will only happen if the wider grass roots workers in the organisation take to Microsoft Teams and make it their own. Swoop Analytics has a strong model of both team and organisational cultural dynamics to underpin that maturity but you have to let your people do that work and support their journey.