Best Practices for Organizing Teams
Author: Zach Saltzman
In our day-to-day business lives, I think we would all enjoy the ability to make decisions more quickly. Whether it’s a decision about pricing a new product, or which new initiatives to target for the next quarter, or even how to fix something that’s not working, speed in decision making will save money and allow you to move on to your next task.
Traditionally there are a handful of roadblocks, which slow decision making. Here are a few key ones:
1. Analysis Paralysis – gathering too much information and weighing too many criteria
2. Disjointed Workspace – scheduling delays and lack of efficient communication
According to the Harvard Business Review, a “Know-Think-Do” framework can “enable leaders and their teams to immediately start making these fast and roughly right decisions.”
That sounds fantastic to me, however, there is one thing missing: a modern and digital workspace that can support and foster vibrant discussion and collaboration. Without that you would be back in the 1990’s sitting in board rooms, sending faxes and chasing down the last free blocks of time on people’s calendars. Not exactly my idea of a good time.
At FMT Consultants, we’ve embraced Microsoft’s idea of digital transformation and have helped a lot of our clients with their journey to a modern, digital workspace. At the center of this digital workspace is Microsoft Teams, a service that Microsoft says is one of their fastest growing ever, and which Spiceworks predicts will “penetrate approximately 41% of the market” by 2020.
Teams serves many purposes from private chat to team chat, real-time document collaboration to file sharing, and virtual meeting to video conferences. You can read more about Teams to get a better understanding on Microsoft’s website. But let’s return to the concept of “Know-Think-Do” and revisit the roadblocks to understand how Teams is perfectly positioned to drive speed in decision making.
Consider a decision that an organization needs to make about how much to charge for a new product or service. This decision is going to involve folks from different departments throughout the company, so the first step will be to create a new team in Microsoft Teams to bring everyone together, let’s call the team “Super Cool Thing” – that seems totally realistic, right?
Now that our Super Cool Thing team is created, it’s time to “Know” the objectives and decide which objectives to focus on for the greatest impact. One of the Product Leads can start by uploading important information about the Super Cool Thing into the team for others to review. Maybe these are PDF documents that detail the parts and their costs which go in making the product. These files are easily accessible to everyone on the team through the handy “Files” tab at the top of every channel:
Our fearless Product Lead can also create a Planner as you can see above, to organize everyone’s tasks and keep track of schedules and key dates.
At the same time, the conversation is taking place in the Super Cool Thing team about the objectives that everyone feels are important to them. No meetings required to get to this point!
However, once the organization had been able to quickly gather feedback and information, it is time to round up all the stakeholders to decide on those key objectives to focus on. An assistant adds a new tab to the Super Cool Thing team channel for OneNote, and consolidates everyone objectives into a single place and then schedules a team meeting, right there inside the Super Cool Thing team to bring everyone together:
All the important people have been invited to the meeting, and they’re all able to see their calendars without leaving their conversation in Teams because Teams is also integrated into the Outlook calendar. This can keep people focused on the tasks at hand without the need to switch between applications:
The Super Cool Thing team now has a pretty good grasp on using Microsoft Teams to drive speed in their decision making. For better or worse (better, I think!) employees are connected no matter where they are or what time of day it is. They can quickly respond or provide a concise answer to a question from their mobile device, workstation, or web browser since Teams apps exist for all environments.
Once the meetings have taken place, minutes recorded in OneNote, draft documents uploaded to Teams and updated by each team member, the final decision and outcome can easily be communicated out to everyone who is a part of the Super Cool Thing….and then they can all move on to their next big decision.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we understand that your business is unique and won’t fit a pre-determined mold. If you need additional assistance with Microsoft Flow or just want to learn more about Microsoft Teams, give us a call at 833-827-4275 or contact us here.