Using WorkBoard to Manage Objectives and Key Results for Enterprise Architecture

In an earlier blog, I described how a user can use WorkBoard in Microsoft Teams. In this blog, I am writing about how WorkBoard can be used to define the objectives of enterprise architecture and the associated metrics. TOGAF 9.1 states that enterprise architectures must meet the “strategic, interim, and tactical business objectives and aspirations”. Normally, key elements of the Architecture Vision — such as the enterprise mission, vision, strategy, and goals — are documented as part of a wider business strategy or enterprise planning activity.

There are some tools specifically developed for managing the goals and metrics of enterprise architecture. I’m not performing a comparison with those tools in this blog posting.

What are the Objectives of Enterprise Architecture?

One of the challenges of defining the objectives of enterprise architecture is that they seem to end up being the objectives of IT operations. That is not exactly how it is supposed to be.

TOGAF 9.1 identifies the business strategy, business goals, and business drivers of the organization in Phase A: Architecture Vision. These are assumed to be defined outside of the enterprise architecture activity. I found an article titled Enterprise IT Architecture: Goals, Trends and Perspectives published online on http://www.SandHill.com. The authors provided prospective strategic IT goals (or objectives):

  • Implementing a new business process management methodology
  • Automating and optimizing primary business processes
  • Supporting new products
  • Adapting IT systems to meet new market requirements
  • Estimating required investments in technology modernization
  • Calculating potential financial and efficiency returns from the strategic IT plan

I have a few other enterprise architecture objectives that I want to see included:

  • Improve social collaboration between employees and with outside partners and customers
  • Improve usability of mobile devices with business and web applications for employees and customers

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of goals or objectives by any means. However, I found the article interesting since it also described using the Zachman framework for analysis of an enterprise IT strategy.

Each of these goals (or objectives) could fit into one or more work streams. At least, I am calling them work streams here because that is how they fit into what WorkBoard provides.

  • Operational productivity: improve efficiency to create a quick return on investment
  • Optimization of business processes: include an analysis of the entire process, not just its separate parts
  • Mass customization: Customer involvement results in greater levels of client and market satisfaction

What are the Metrics (or Key Results) for the Objectives?

The metrics should be sufficiently clear so that the vision phase (in TOGAF 9.1) may scope the business outcomes and resource requirements, and define the outline enterprise business information requirements and associated strategies of the enterprise architecture work to be done. For example, these may include:

  • Business requirements
  • Cultural aspirations
  • Organization intents
  • Strategic intent
  • Forecast financial requirements

I used metrics from the following online articles:

12 critical metrics for IT success from cio.com

7 Key Enterprise Architecture Metrics from scribd.com

Obtaining Enterprise Architecture Metrics – Part 1 from microsoft.com (Sadly, this blog post written by Mike Walker is no longer available.)

WorkBoard and OKRs

WorkBoard uses Key Results in place of metrics. The image on the right comes from the Elevate Business Performance with OKRs document published by Workboard Inc.

You can see the flow from Objective to Insight.

However, you don’t see that OKRs (Objectives – Key Results) can be related by using work streams.

My Sample Objective – Key Results (OKRs)

I created a list of OKRs in the table below. These are examples and you should configure OKRs that match your organization’s strategic objectives.

Objective Key Results Rating (examples) Work Stream
Continuous improvement of online services Online application performance. The average time it takes to render a screen or page. Less than 1 second Operational Productivity
Continuous improvement of online services Online application availability. The percentage of time the application is functioning properly. 100% Operational Productivity
Continuous improvement of online services Production incidents. The number of production problems by severity. Zero Operational Productivity
Reducing costs by leveraging common solutions and rationalizing processes, technology, and data. Architectural Integrity. The percent of applications on preferred technologies, another indication of how difficult applications are to maintain 100% Operational Productivity
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project satisfaction. The average score from post project surveys completed by business partners. 100% Optimization of business processes
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project delivery. The percentage of projects delivered on time. 100% Optimization of business processes
Improve enterprise architecture delivery Project cost. The percentage of projects delivered within the cost estimate. 100% Optimization of business processes

I also would like to compare the OKRs that I have with other enterprise architects. I suppose that some of the common tools will come with a more complete sample list.

Entering OKRs into WorkBoard

I entered the OKRs into WorkBoard. The three main objectives are displayed below.

I click on the first objective and it expands to display the key results.

I can also open the objective to see the Key Results, Work streams, and Comments.

I click on and I can see all of the work streams. The new workstreams that I created are displayed.

I click on Operational Productivity and the display changes.

I click on the 2 Objectives tab and the two objectives for the Operational Productivity work stream are displayed.

Microsoft Teams

I want to see what information that I can add from WorkBoard to the Enterprise Architecture tab in the Contoso IT channel.

I add Workboard to the Contoso IT team.

I select the Enterprise Architecture channel and click on Set up for the Tab.

I click on the Boards.

I select Operational Productivity. This is the same work stream that I displayed earlier in Workboard. I click Save to continue.

The Operational Productivity board view is displayed – just like I can see it in Workboard.

I can add tabs to display the other work streams, too.

Next I add the Business Review to a new tab in Microsoft Teams. Now I can see exactly what I saw in Workboard. I may not even have to go to the Workboard site.

Next Steps

I need a more robust and complete list of OKRs for enterprise architecture. At least, a better list to start with. Still, I feel like Workboard can be used to manage this information for enterprise architects.

Conclusion

I have added sample OKRs for enterprise architecture. Then I added tabs in Microsoft Teams for a work stream and a business review. I can continue my enterprise architecture work on Workboard from within Microsoft Teams.

It looks like Workboard can be used for managing enterprise architecture OKRs.

Using Microsoft Teams with WorkBoard

I’m finally getting back to blogging on Microsoft Teams. I had some computer issues and a daughter’s graduation party to contend with.

I’m interested in strategic execution. I hear many organizations talk about the importance of having a strategy; but very few execute it well. They usually get lost in daily and weekly fire-fighting. About 12 to 13 years ago, I was looking at a product from IBM called Workplace for Business Strategy Execution. It looked really good; but it was incredibly hard to install on WebSphere Portal 5.0. In fact, it was so hard that I thought that I was the only one in North America who could do it. I sent my step-by-step instructions to IBM at one point. Sadly, it appears that product never did well.

In this blog, I am looking at WorkBoard (https://www.workboard.com/) and how it integrates with Microsoft Teams. The WorkBoard website states that “Workboard’s solution helps organizations set, measure and execute strategic priorities faster”. You can read their website for up-to-date information. I will spend some time in the WorkBoard application. I want to create some content that I can then display in a conversation in Microsoft Teams. Then I want to see what I can do in Microsoft Teams.

Note: I am creating this blog post from within Word using a Blog Post template. I hope that it works out well.

Creating Accounts

I register one free accounts on workboard’s site: https://www.myworkboard.com. I send an invite to a two more team members during registration.

  • Megan Bowen – Marketing Manager
  • Isaiah Langer – Sales Rep
  • Emily Braun – Budget Analyst

Note: I entered the email address as all lower case.

Then I click on .

All three accounts received an email from WorkBoard, too. I quickly register the additional accounts by clicking on in the email. You can add more team members later by clicking on in the workspace.

Later, I can see who is on my team by clicking on . All three accounts are part of my team!

Key Terminology

It is helpful to have definitions of some key terms. I’m going to use the terminology that WorkBoard uses in their help documentation. https://workboard.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/216294188-Overview-of-objectives-and-key-results

Set inspiring objectives for your team to get everyone aligned to one mission. Objectives should the drive work the team does, so the team doesn’t spend its time reacting to fire drills and emails.

Quantify success with fact-based key results for each objective. Key results define how you will measure success for your objective in a given time period.

The objective is what you want to achieve; key results are how you define and measure success.

Use workstreams to categorize and organize what the team needs to do to reach its objective and key results. That is, organize and plan work to hit the key results with workstreams.

Divide and conquer the work by assigning and scheduling action items.

The image below comes from the Elevate Business Performance with OKRs document published by Workboard Inc. I recommend that you read through this document to better understand OKRs. I am not planning to restate what WorkBoard has already provided.

Starting with WorkBoard

Workboard opens in my web browser with a pop-up screen displayed. I am using WorkBoard basic – free for up to 10 users. I read the screen and click on OK.

The left hand navigation displays what is important to me. It looks like I have three action items for today with 8 action items for this week. The good news is that none of my tasks are overdue!

The main window pane shows my action items in a calendar. Here I can see the action items for today and the week.

I want to add some Objectives. I click on . The Objectives workspace appears in the web browser.

I click on to set my first objective.

The workspace changes to …

I like the heat map! Green is good and red is bad.

I click on to create my first objective. I take content for marketing objectives from http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/marketing/marketing-management/5-objectives-of-marketing-management/27961.

I need to align the objective later. I click to set a Key Result.

This is where more time needs to be spent. It’s one thing to set an objective; but now I am quantifying it with a Key Result. This objective is tough to measure; but I need to put something in.

Note: WorkBoard provides good examples for OKRs.

I save the result and click Next to Align It.

I do not have any dependencies defined yet; but there are built-in workstreams for Contoso Marketing! I select Campaign and Social Marketing and click Done.

I now have an objective displayed.

There is so much more that I can do here. I know that I am just barely touching the capabilities of WorkBoard. I will have to explore it later.

Microsoft Teams

It’s time to integrate the bot! I click on in Microsoft Teams.

I search for WorkBoard in the Store and click on the tile.

I select the X1050 Launch Team and keep both Yes settings. I click Install.

I select the Digital Assets Web channel and setup the Bot.

The Conversation screen for the Digital Assets Web channel in the X1050 Launch Team opens. “Workboard” appears in the chat.

Like many power users, I forgo training and just try it out. I type in “How am I doing?”. I get a response from WorkBoard. I have some starter messages that I can use with Wobot.

I click on Connect with Workboard.

Note: I had to disable blocking of pop-ups.

I log into WorkBoard.

I then pick my account.

I accept the next screen.

A window displaying all of my integration settings appears. There are many of them. I can see that the integration with Microsoft Teams is enabled.

There are also some sample chats displayed for me.

– How am I doing on my objectives? 
– Show my calendar 
– Show my 1on1s with Mary 
– Reschedule meetings for today 
– Get my Outlook calendar 
– Create an action item 
– Show my results 
– For more conversation starters, ask WoBot to “help me”, “help me with objectives” or “help me with meetings”! (And Workboard chatbot has a sense of humor — say “Tell me a joke” for a quick smile.)

Chatting with Wobot

I return to the conversation and enter “@Workboard How am I doing on my objectives?” in the chat. I get an immediate response.

I respond with “Yes”. The response is good for me! I am in the green! I know that is good since red would be bad.

There is the new Objective that I created.

I created a new action item using Wobot.

Wobot provides editing features for the action item.

Here is the action item in WorkBoard.

Now I will assign this action item to Isaiah Langer and update it.

That did feel good!

I log in as Isaiah Langer and see the action item listed in Requests for me.

What if I need help with WorkBoard objectives in Microsoft Teams?

What if I need help with WorkBoard workstreams in Microsoft Teams?

I can ask Wobot to list all of my workstreams. It displays them one after the other.

What I Have Not Tried Yet

I have not had time to:

  • try all of the features in WorkBoard
  • setup the Tab or Messaging with Microsoft Teams
  • show the WorkBoard mobile app
  • show content in the Microsoft Teams app
  • try more interaction between users in WorkBoard and Microsoft Teams
  • demonstrate what WorkBoard provides in reports in Microsoft Teams

Conclusion

I barely touched on what WorkBoard is and does. I think that I’m seeing only the beginning of Wobot’s integration with Microsoft Teams. Yet it looks good. Like many other tools and bots that integrate with Microsoft Teams, I can do the heavy work in WorkBoard and the light work in Microsoft Teams.

In my past blogs, I often refer to this as wanting to work across multiple Teams in one UI. In this case, I think WorkBoard is the UI that allows me to work on multiple teams. That is, teams that are using WorkBoard.

I think the challenge for Team administrators is knowing when to integrate with WorkBoard. The simple answer may be: integrate with WorkBoard when your team is working on a strategic initiative.

Using Microsoft Teams with AtBot

In my last blog posting, I wrote about using Microsoft Teams with files. In this blog posting, I review how I can use Microsoft Teams with a bot. I like the idea of making my work easier.
I open the Store and click on Bots. I have a lot of Bots to choose from!

Teams45

AtBot from Bizzy

First, I need a bot that creates tasks in Planner for me. Why should I switch screens to my Planner tab or app when I can do it in chat? I want my work to be easier!

I click on AtBot.

Teams46

I configure the AtBot settings. I add it to my Contoso Finance team. I click Install.

Teams47

I add the bot to my Finance Review channel.

Teams48

I click Set up. I am taken to the Conversations tab in the Finance Review channel. “AtBot” appears in the chat.

Teams49

Then I set up the Flow template for AtBot. I click on this link https://us.flow.microsoft.com/en-us/galleries/public/templates/3c1e91d6d840478fbcd9f8d67a482737/new-task/

It opens a New Task in Flow in Office 365.

Teams50

I click on Sign In.

Teams51

I select Megan’s account.

Teams52

I click Accept. The details are updated in the screen.

Teams53

I click Continue. The flow is displayed.

Teams54

I update the Plan task to create new tasks in the To do bucket in the Product Launch Event plan.

Teams55

I click Save and my task is saved.

I return to my chat in the Conversations tab in the Finance Review channel. I’m not sure what to do …

Teams56

I open Chat.

Teams57

I see my private message.

Teams58.jpg

I click on Login to Office 365. I have to accept the AtBot permissions again.

Teams59

I close the window and return to chat. The conversation is updated. I’m learning as I go!

Teams60

I click on Help.

Teams61

Perfect! I know what to do … I type in “@AtBot new task”. Now it is working!

Teams62

I answer the questions in the conversation.

Teams63

I click on here to view the task. Planner opens up and I can view My Tasks.

Teams64

I click on the task to view the details.

Teams65

Cool! It worked! I can use AtBot to create Planner tasks within Conversations. So much easier! No longer do I have to switch apps in order to complete my work. Also, I know that I can modify the Flow to add more details to the Planner task. I may explore this more in a future blog post.

Click here to learn more about AtBot from Bizzy. https://atbot.io/

Please read my blog on Using Microsoft Teams and Planner for more info on using Planner.

In my next blog, I will look at how I can use the WorkBoard bot in Microsoft Teams.

Using Microsoft Teams with Files

In my last blog post, I wrote about using Microsoft Teams and conversations. In this blog posting, I review how I can manage and upload files across multiple teams and multiple Office 365 products. Personally, I find it hard to manage all the files that I use and share. I like keeping them organized without having multiple copies floating around. I do like syncing files between the cloud and my local computer.

Files in a Team

Every channel in a Microsoft Team site has a Files tab.

Teams18

The files are accessible to all team members. Team members can also move a file to its own tab. The Fiscal Year Budget Projection spreadsheet is displayed in a tab. Team members can edit the spreadsheet within the Teams site. Team members can also start a conversation on a file (see my previous blog post).

Teams19

But where are these files stored?

Files in SharePoint

Every Microsoft Teams site has an Office 365 group and a SharePoint site created. The SharePoint site contains conversations, documents, notebooks, and pages. The documents are displayed in the lower right under the Documents heading.

Teams20

The documents for each channel are stored in a separate folder. Teams21
For example, documents in the Audits channel are stored in the Audits folder.

The same three files appear in the Audits folder that we just saw in the Teams channel.

Teams22

Megan Bowen has opened the SharePoint site and wants to view all of the documents. Megan clicks on See all.

Teams23

The web browser updates to display the Documents. The folders still display the channels.

Files and OneDrive on Computer

Megan clicks on Teams24 to sync the folders and files from this library to her computer.

Teams25

Megan can now see the folders and files on her local drive.

Teams26

Megan opens the Audits folder to see the same three files.

Teams27

Thus, Megan would not have to open each team site or the SharePoint site to work with the files. Megan can also create or upload files in a folder and sync the folder with the SharePoint / Team site.

Files and OneDrive on Mobile Device

Megan also uses her iPhone to access files via her OneDrive app.

Megan opens her app to Sites. Here she can see all of the SharePoint Sites.  Teams28
Megan clicks on the Contoso Finance site and sees the Documents folder. The Contoso Finance site is the SharePoint site for the Microsoft team of the same name.  Teams29
Megan clicks on the documents folder to see a list of the folders. The folders represent each channel in the team site.  Teams30
Megan then clicks on the Audits folder to see the documents that are contained on the Files tab in the Audits channel of the Microsoft team.
Now Megan can add files to the folder. The files will appear on the SharePoint site, the Team site, and on her computer’s OneDrive (after being synced).
 Teams31

Files and OneDrive

Megan has a lot of files on her OneDrive.

Teams32

As much as Megan uses Microsoft Teams to manage her team work, she uses OneDrive to manage her files. Megan can see the list of her sites / teams on the left side of the OneDrive screen.

Megan clicks on Contoso Finance to open the documents folder. She can see the folders that represent the channels.

Teams33

Megan clicks on the Audits folder. Now she can see the same three files that she viewed in other products.

Teams34

But Megan can also perform the following functions in OneDrive Online:

  1. She can view all of her other files. Thus, she can copy or move folders and files within OneDrive.
  2. She can create a Flow. Flow is used to create automated workflows between your apps and services. Flow can provide notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more. Click here to learn more about Microsoft Flow.
  3. She can sync her folders and files to her computer.

I believe that Megan can be productive with files within a team site; but use OneDrive Online to be productive with files across multiple team sites. However, Megan will not be able to view team conversations posted to a file when using OneDrive Online. These conversations stay in the team site.

Files and Outlook Online

I prefer not to use Outlook as my file manager; but it does display my team site files. The screenshot below displays the Office 365 groups in Megan’s Outlook client. The Contoso Finance group is the group used by the Microsoft Team of the same name. The files in the Contoso Finance group are displayed when the Files tab is clicked.

Teams35.jpg

The difference in Outlook is that the files are not displayed within their channels or folders.

Megan uploads a file named lunar-eclipse.jpg. Where does the file end up?

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Megan clicks on Files in the navigation bar on the left side of her Microsoft Teams. The new file appears at the top of the list. The file’s location is listed as /sites/ContosoFinance/SharedDocuments.

Teams37

I looked through each channel and Files tab in the Contoso Finance team; but I did not find the new file listed.

Next I opened the SharePoint site for Contoso Finance. I see the new file listed in the Activity and Documents section.

Teams38.jpg

Thus, in my opinion, using Outlook to work with files is useful if you don’t want to see the channels or folders. But it is not useful for uploading new files into a team channel or SharePoint folder. The team members will not see the file unless they click on Files on the left navigation of Teams or go to the SharePoint site.

I like Outlook for mail; but not for file management. 😉

What is Different?

Were you looking at the menu bar in each screenshot? They are not identical! Let’s take a quick look at the menu bar displayed in each tool. Of course, they could change again!

Microsoft Teams

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SharePoint Site

Teams40

OneDrive on iPhone

Teams41

OneDrive Online

Teams42

OneDrive on Computer

Teams43

Files in Outlook

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The table below summarizes what you see in the menu bar. You can quickly see that they are not the same! I’m not saying that they should be identical. I think that the menu features available are based on your context. Also, I believe that the menu features will be synchronized over time.

Microsoft Teams SharePoint Site OneDrive on iPhone OneDrive Online OneDrive on Computer Outlook
New
Upload
Get Link
Add Cloud Storage
Open in SharePoint
New
Upload
Share
Copy Link
Download
Export to Excel
Flow
Sorted by
+ (Scan, Upload, Create a folder, etc)
New
Upload
Share
Copy Link
Download
Flow
Sync
Delete
New folder
New
Upload

Review

Let’s quickly review what happened:

  1. Files can be created in Teams, SharePoint Sites, OneDrive on iPhone, OneDrive Online, and OneDrive on Computer.
  2. The files are displayed essentially the same way in each product. Teams display files in tabs within channels. Other products display files in folders. Outlook displays files in groups without tabs or folders.
  3. The menu bars are different in each product; but that may be because of the context.
  4. Viewing files in OneDrive Online may be the best for working with all of the files in a folder structure across all teams.
  5. You can sync the folders and files to your local computer.
  6. You can view the folders and files on your mobile device.

This may seem confusing with so many ways to manage files. Remember that:

  • Only Teams has conversations that you can apply to a file
  • OneDrive allows you to manage files across all Teams (and synchronize to your local computer)

Using Microsoft Teams and Conversations

In my last blog post, I wrote about Microsoft Teams and Planner. I demonstrated how you can connect to any plan in any Microsoft Team via the Planner app.

Well, let’s see review how conversations work in Microsoft Teams. I think that the main benefit is that conversations are pervasive and permanent in a Team. My personal challenge is how do I use and keep track of all the different conversations that I can have across multiple teams?

Conversation in a Team Channel

Every channel in Microsoft Teams starts with a default Conversations app and default Files app. The image below shows an example of a conversation in the Audits channel of the Contoso Finance Team.

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The first chat message is marked as IMPORTANT! It has a red exclamation mark to the right of the conversation to call it out more.

Further down, we see another chat message with a red ampersand @. That’s because Megan Bowen is mentioned in the chat. Megan is the user that I logged in as. Thus, Megan can quickly find the chat messages that need her attention.

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Conversation in a File Tab

Conversations are not limited to the app. Users can also start conversations in tabs that are displaying files. Megan wants to start a conversation with Isaiah in the Capital Improvement Proposal PowerPoint file. She clicks on the file app and clicks on Teams8 to display the conversation.

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Megan starts a conversation that can be viewed with the PowerPoint file.

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Conversation on an iPhone

Isaiah is using his iPhone and sees the new activity at the top of his feed.

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Isaiah clicks on the message to view the content. Isaiah can see Megan’s message and the meme.

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Isaiah can click on the PowerPoint and review the contents on his iPhone.

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Isaiah likes what he sees and closes the PowerPoint presentation. He enters a response and sends it.

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Megan can see Isaiah’s message in the conversation in her web browser.

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The conversation can also be viewed in the Conversations tab. Other members of the Contoso Finance team can join the conversation and post messages.

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Megan can also view her conversation history in her Activity feed. Megan can see her recent conversation from the Finance Review channel in the Contoso Finance team. She selected My Activity to display her activity in the navigation.

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Review

Let’s quickly review what happened:

  1. A conversation can start in the conversations or a file tab of a channel.
  2. Messages have special indicators when Important or a team member’s name is mentioned.
  3. The conversation messages will always appear in the conversation tab of a channel regardless of appearing in another tab.
  4. Team members can continue a conversation in a web browser and a mobile device.
  5. Conversations across channels and teams can be tracked by visiting your own Activity feed.
    • Isaiah can see his conversations on his activity feed on his mobile device.
    • Megan can see her conversations on her activity feed on her web browser.

Thus, the answer to my challenge is to use the activity feed to keep track of all the different conversations that I can have across multiple teams.

Using Microsoft Teams with Planner

I have used solutions like Microsoft Teams many times in the past. That includes solutions like Lotus Notes Teams, SharePoint Teams, and Jive, to name a few. One concern that I have is using multiple team sites and trying to manage my work across all of them. In particular, I’m concerned about the planning work.

I really like how I can add the Microsoft Planner app to each Microsoft Team. Below is a screenshot of the Product Launch Event planning app in the X1050 Launch Team.

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Below I can see some of the details of the Entertainment Plan that is owned by Megan Bowen.

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It could complicated for Megan if she was on several Microsoft Teams and each one had a Planner app. How could she manage all of those plans?

Well, she could just use the Planner hub!

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Now Megan can see all of her plans at once. She can open them within each Microsoft Teams site. Below, Megan can see all of the plans for the Product Launch Event.

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Alternatively, Megan can click on My tasks and see all of her planning tasks at once. Thus, she does not have to open each Microsoft Teams site to review her planning tasks.

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Using Planner is a very effective solution for planning across all of the Microsoft Teams sites that you are a member of. So don’t hesitate to get started using Microsoft Teams and Planner together. I recommend creating a single planner in each Microsoft Teams site. Then manage them all from the Planner hub to save yourself valuable time. You should still open the Microsoft Teams site to collaborate with team members.