MVP’s eat their own dog food in Microsoft Teams

The annual Microsoft MVP Summit took place last week under strict NDA. This blog does not contain any product content. However, it does contain insights that can be shared by two UK MVPs. Gregor Suttie from our holding company Sword IT Solutions (Azure MVP), and our own Lesley Crook (Office Apps & Services MVP).

Lesley. The MVP Summit was cancelled 3 weeks ago due to obvious reasons but did not stop Microsoft Teams Team pulling out all the stops, using COVID19 global crisis as an opportunity to shift Teams into infinity and beyond. Microsoft put on the most amazing virtual show with 820 Channel sessions scheduled over 4 days for 3000 attendees!

This was no mean feat. Here’s my 4 takeaways you might find helpful with customers deploying Teams.

1. Sessions were in a massive Teams SharePoint list (-7) hours behind UK time. MVP, Yannick Reekmans created a way to extract all 820 sessions as .ics files, that could be imported into our calendars. Some might find this workaround helpful for other customers.

2. I joined another virtual space called AltspaceVR with some MVPs. It was a fun trip, and we could virtually see how VR assists product development with wearable headsets, great asset for First Line Workers. Read more on this neglected work force and how Microsoft is on track improving their jobs in this Microsoft story and another here.

3. The summit is not just about attending deep dive techy sessions it’s also about networking, cross-pollinating ideas and a time to have some fun after another big year of MVP community contributions all over the world. Teams delivered an amazing event with Chat in live meetings that were recorded. It’s fantastic the sessions were recorded as many of us were multi-tasking with the day job as our international travel had been cancelled. We can now watch sessions we missed. During the week I toggled between Minttulip Teams tenant to join customer meetings, and the Summit. I managed this across 3 devices skipping back and forth between the two tenants using:

  • Personal device: Teams mobile app – Personal email to access Virtual Summit.
  • Work device: Teams mobile app – Minttulip tenant.
  • Surface: Teams desktop app – Minttulip tenant.
  • Surface: New Incognito Window – Login O365 using my personal email to access Virtual Summit

4. Running in parallel to the techy sessions was the wild and whacky Community Zone Channel. The place to get to know each other. By the end of the week we’d shared a few thousand light-hearted comments, images and gifs. There was quizzes,  charity efforts with Missing Maps and fundraising. I loved these ice-breakers reusable for Teams or Yammer networks to ignite employee engagement:

  • Share a photo of your home desk
  • Share a photo of the view from your house
  • Share a photo of your pets or your fav pet
  • Share a photo of your favourite mug and what you like to put in it
  • What was your first job, using a gif?
  • What made you happy as a kid?
  • If you had to delete all the apps from your phone which 3 would you keep?
  • Adapted this one for COVID19. Share your Community effort, perhaps shopping for elderly neighbours or those self-isolating.

Handing over to Gregor. So, for me this was my first ever MVP Summit, which turned into the MVP Virtual Summit. Microsoft Teams was used to organise it and to be honest my hopes weren’t that high, lots of random meeting invites flying around and being added to test Teams sites etc.

The actual event minor a couple of tiny hiccups was brilliant, Microsoft Teams worked great for the majority of the Virtual Summit and it was announced that 44 million users were on Teams last week in total across the globe, it was easy to find the sessions and move from one session to the next.

As Lesley said already we are not allowed to talk about the content covered as its under very strict NDA, but it’s clear to me that being an MVP has many benefits which companies should take more advantage of, we get access to the teams of people who are building the software and can give feedback etc directly to the Product Groups.

The sessions for me started at 3pm till 3am. I learned a lot! I learned about myself, the community, and where Microsoft are heading which is very cool.

My favourite things which I can talk about during the week in the Community Zone Channel included Virtual Yoga and the Virtual Bar! The Virtual Bar was a Teams channel where MVP’s could have a real drink (at home) and chat virtually about whatever took their fancy.

It was a shame we didn’t make it to Seattle but the Virtual Summit run very well and was a huge success. There is so much great stuff to be shipped!

We would both like to wish all MVPs the very best with renewals in the coming weeks and look to seeing you in person in April 2021 in Seattle if not before.