Power Automate SharePoint

Reminder — SharePoint 2010 Workflow Retirement for SharePoint Online

Just posting a quick little reminder for anyone who may still have SharePoint 2010 Workflows kicking around.

On November 1, 2020 SharePoint 2010 workflows will be retired. It is a good time to start looking into Power Automate to replace those workflows.

Take a look at using the SharePoint Modernization Scanner tool to scan your tenants for legacy workflow usage.

Flow Office 365 Power Automation

Dynamic Files in Excel Online (Business)

This is just a quick little reminder, mostly to my self. When using Excel Online connectors in Power Automate. It is a multi-step process.

  1. My Trigger was “For a selected file”
  2. Get the File Properties
  3. Perform Excel functions. Using the “Identifier” field from the file properties. File ID will not work.

If you use ID or try to format the string using folder/filename you will get an error message like.

Hopefully this helps someone not waste a morning struggling to figure out why Flow cannot find a file :0)

Devops Office 365 Project Management

Managing Projects in a Modern World (Part 2)

In my previous post (Managing Projects in a Modern World (Part 1))I showed an example of an integrated Microsoft Teams, Azure DevOps and Project Roadmap environment. This post is all about setting up Azure DevOps to work with Teams and Roadmap

At a high-level we need to:

  1. Create a project
  2. Setup your teams
  3. Configure your work items

1. Create a Project

Navigate to and sign in with your Microsoft account.

If your organization has never used Azure DevOps. That is OK. You get five free licenses. Once your team gets larger or you choose to use more advanced features then there will be a cost associated.

At the top right of the page you will see a button “Create Project”. Click on the “Create Project” button will open a side bar.

  1. Project Name: The project name should reflect the project you are working on and if possible map it to the name of the Microsoft Team you will be creating.
  2. Description: This allows for you to describe what this project is about so anyone looking through the project list in Azure DevOps knows what it is about.
  3. Visibility: Public / Private. Public is used for open source projects. Private will usually be the correct choice
  4. Version Control: You have the choice between Git and Team Foundation Version Control. Git seems to be the most popular choice these days and most modern web developers will be capable of using it.
  5. Work Item Process: This is the most important choice you will make when creating a project. While you can customize the process you choose you cannot switch between processes. So if you choose CMMI but then wanted to move to a scrum process you would not be able too.

Work Item Process is your most important decision. Make sure you understand your options. Click Here to see the Work Item Process Options.

Once you have filled out the form click on “Create”.

It will take about a minute for your new project to get created.

Once the Project has been created, we can configure it to work for us. We don’t need to use Repos, Pipelines, Test Plans or Artifacts.

  1. Click on Project Settings.
  2. Scroll Down.
  3. Turn off Repos.
  4. Turn off Pipelines.
  5. Turn off Artifacts.
  6. Turn of Test Plans.

This does not remove your ability to use any of the tools. It just hides them until you are ready. Simplifying the user experience. When you are ready turn them on.

2. Create your Teams

While still within the project settings form. Select “Teams” under the general drop down.

Click on New Team and add all of your required teams. In this scenario the teams are broken down by role. This could very well be by features or functions.

When creating new teams you have the option to create a new Area path. This is helpful when you want to separate your backlog of tasks to each team. You will also be able to have separate sprint lengths.

The area path is what allows us to have channel specific Kanban boards.

3. Update your work items

For Azure Devops to work with Project Roadmap we need to have a Start Date and a Finish Date on a work item. Depending on the work item process you chose you may or may not have a start and finish dates on your work items.

In the case of this example I chose the “Basic” template which gives us “Epics”, “Issues” and “Tasks”. By default the epic does not have a Start Date or Targeted Date.

I would like to use epics on my project roadmap so to do so we can add the start and finish date.

The easiest way to do this is when creating a new Epic on your back log:

Once you are in the “New Epic” screen, click on the actions button on the far right.

Then click on “Customize”.

This will take you to the organization settings process page.

Click on “New Field”, then use an existing field.

Add the Start Date and Target Date. Your Epic layout should now look like below:

Now, when we create a new Epic, we can add a timeline to it:

Our Azure DevOps environment is now set up and ready for use. The backlogs can start to be populated and added to teams and project roadmaps.

Microsoft Teams Office 365 Project Management SharePoint

Managing projects in a modern world (Part 1)

Last week I wrote a blog post and it got a lot of interest. Just not for the reasons I would of thought. One of the screen shots on the blog post contained an image of dashboard.

Everyone was quite intrigued by this and were wondering what it was. So that is what today is about. This is the first of multiple blog posts showing how you can leverage Azure DevOps, Teams and Project Online to manage projects.

That dashboard is Azure Devops. Microsoft’s developer collaboration tools. It includes repositories(Azure Repos) for code, Kanban boards(Azure Boards), Test Plans(Azure Test Plans) as well as a few other tools targeted to developers.

In our case we are building a brand new intranet and plan to use Azure Boards to manage our workload across a variety teams, Azure Repos to store code for our Custom web parts as well as any scripts we create including site themes and site designs. Last but not least we will use Azure Test Plans to mange the quality of our new intranet.

So how can we setup our environment to ensure:

  • Has a place to communicate
  • Has a place to upload documents
  • Can manage their tasks
  • manage their sprint
  • See the overall project health

Step 1 Setup Azure Devops

  1. Create a new project called Intranet
  2. Create the teams in Azure Devops: “Communications”, “Training”, “Developers”, “Testers”
  3. Define the sprints in our case they are two week long
  4. Assign the sprints to each team
  5. Add your backlog of tasks
  6. Assign tasks to sprints
  7. Add the Delivery Plan extension for Azure DevOps

You will end up with something that looks like this.

Azure DevOps will play the basis for how we manage and plan our tasks. It is more powerful than Planner but can require significantly more effort to setup.

Step 2 Setup Up Teams

  • Create a new Team called Intranet
  • Create four new Channels “Communications”, “Training”, “Developers”, “Testing”
  • * Add a Azure DevOps KanBan board to each Channel aligning the Azure DevOps Teams Kanban to the Microsoft Teams Channel
  • * Configure Azure DevOps connector

* Azure DevOps was called Vistual Studio Team Services. Some of the documentation still references the old name.

All of your Channels should now look something like this

You will also be able have conversations about specific tasks

Step 3 Create a Roadmap

  • Turn on the Project Roadmap feature
  • Create a new Roadmap
  • Create Rows that align to each Azure DevOps Team
  • Add Features from DevOps to track the status and timeline

You will end up with something like the roadmap below.

The next post in this series will go into detail on how to setup Step 1 Azure DevOps. Configuring the iterations, teams and backlogs to work properly with Project and teams.

Microsoft Teams Office 365

Quick thought on Private Channels in Microsoft Teams

Support for private channels is the number one requested feature on the user voice for Microsoft teams. Over 16000 votes have been made in an effort to get this feature implemented. The more interesting part in my mind is that there seems to be a strong divide between some of the experts of whether or not the feature should be implemented.

There have been a lot of interesting conversations on twitter around this topic.

This got me thinking. There really is no guidance that I have found on how to handle the situation other than create another team and limit the team members. This made sense until I discovered a feature solely on accident.

You can name group chats and pin them

The company I work for has been growing recently and we have implemented team leads for the various practices. I had happened to start a group chat with the team leads and by accident clicked on the little pencil next the people name.

And now low and behold we now have a group chat named team leads. With the core features of a team. Conversations, Files and Tabs.

Now I know what you might be thinking.. The conversation history thing in teams is just a long running list of my recent conversations this teams lead chat will just get lost after awhile.

Luckily enough we have the ability to pin chats.

Now that group chat will always be available at the top of the chat window. When you are done with your project or that group chat you can unpin in and it will be lost into your history to be recovered through search!

So now my take do we need Private Channels?! yeah but we should look to named grouped chats first.