Interview with Daniel Anderson: Using Teams & SharePoint to Run Knowledge Sharing Sessions Turning Knowledge into Assets

In the days before we closed out 2021 I caught up with Daniel Anderson for a podcast where we discussed how (and why) I used Microsoft Teams and SharePoint to run regular knowledge sharing sessions within our company. With zero development you too can use your Microsoft 365 tenant to achieve the same outcome for any area of your business. Bring likeminded people together to identify topics for sharing, vote for most desirable topics, schedule sessions, record the sessions and build a library of knowledge assets that allows the value of the knowledge sharing to extend well beyond the session itself.

Follow my step-by-step guide to setting up a Knowledge Sharing solution in your Microsoft 365 tenant to achieve the same result that we discuss in the podcast.

Link to the embedded YouTube video

Podcast Transcript

cameron dwyer g’day mate it’s been a
little while welcome to the show hi dan
great to be here mate
uh now for everybody watching and
listening uh just uh give us a little
bit of an insight into cameron dwyer
what it is that uh you’re doing um you
know where you’ve where you’ve come from
how you’ve started in this space uh and
what’s uh what’s keeping you busy at the
moment sure
uh so
yes my name is cameron dwyer i am
currently the chief technology officer
at one place solutions we are an isv in
the microsoft 365 ecosystem been
building commercial products
initially based on top of sharepoint and
exchange many many years ago and we’ve
sort of
ridden the wave um of everyone moving
towards the cloud
and uh yeah we just built a lot of uh
product a lot of end user adoption uh
sort of focused products on the
microsoft 365 stack
so for me that involves i guess
positioning of products in market
bringing new products to market uh
heading up a development team that’s
that’s building these products and i
guess not only building the products but
also running them so that involves
a lot of stuff on azure running
azure based services out of
out of microsoft data centers with
customers around the globe keeping all
the lights on with that
and i guess since we’re selling things
subscription-based uh services really
showing value to the customers day in
day out and making sure that we stay
up to in the head of what microsoft’s
doing and able to
enable our customers to get the most out
of their investment in microsoft
technologies and really drive this
digital transformation
now mate you’re very well uh
recognized in the in the development
circles and you are also an mvp uh in
that area as well now
the reason i i
actually wanted to to record a session
with you is you you wrote an article uh
the other day that that sparked my
interest because i i guess i always look
at you as a developer as well and
a lot of others do as well but the the
article uh that you wrote was almost a
step-by-step process into how to use
different office or microsoft 365 tools
to solve a particular problem that you
had and the title was how to set up
teams in microsoft 365 for streamlined
knowledge sharing sessions so we can as
you mentioned in the article itself and
i’ll link to this in the show notes it’s
similar to that terminology that we we
tend to use lunch and learn or brown
bags sort of sessions
you started the the article about uh you
know starting with the problem which i
think was a a fantastic example of of
how things and how solutions evolve out
of starting with with that problem and
the problem you said that
you know it was after um you know after
or during your your sprint sessions
might have been a retro or something
like that you had a need to to set up
these sessions as a vehicle to to share
knowledge within your development team
so just tell me a little bit about how
that all i guess that all came about
yeah you’re 100 right on uh the retro
sessions in our um in our sprint cycles
it’s probably one of the most valuable
things that um
our team gets and i think a lot of teams
can get out of working
through an agile process or scrum
process is that retrospective so every
time we complete a sprint cycle we
we we set aside time and we we have a
retrospective on what’s worked and
what’s gone well but
i think it’s important here and i have
to keep our team focused on it’s not
what we actually completed that sprint
it’s not the actual work that we did the
code that we wrote the products the
features that we shipped it’s about the
like what blocked you this sprint or
what caused you pain this principle
weren’t able to get the job done like
where you’re not sure couldn’t you could
you get not get access to a system did
you not have the right levels of access
was machines not available to you was
there something in that process that
really slowed you down and that’s that’s
really what we focus on in that well is
there anything we can do about that to
make it better going forward and every
sprint i like to think that our
processes and our systems get better
every single sprint that we do
and it also gives me an opportunity this
often things come up time and time again
um and that’s that’s sort of where this
one’s come from it’s not it’s not the
same problems come up time and time
again but what i’ve been really hearing
from the team and what i’ve been
was that
we didn’t have a consistent vehicle
for being able to
share knowledge within the team
uh like i like to think that we’ve got a
pretty good setup here in that
every sprint our developers get
what we call research days which is
basically time away from planned tasks
where they can
sort of they can watch videos read blog
you know try some things out some
prototyping on something they either
want to do in the product that they that
hasn’t made it up the backlog far enough
yet or something they’ve just read about
or a new technology they want to get
across so we give our developers time to
uh that sort of learning and there’s
conferences to attend and things like
that but
what i was noticing it was more the
knowledge that very specific knowledge
we’re building up within the team so
things to do with why we do certain
things within our code base how certain
bits of code or features work and why
it’s been done that way because
typically what happens when you’re
developing features is that it’s only a
small subset of your development team
that are in there working on that
feature might be two or three of them
and those two or three developers know
it well but as time goes on and maybe
there’s bugs come up or that needs to be
extended and taken forward new
developers come in and they have to sort
make sense of what went on there and
sometimes it’s not necessarily
that the code isn’t clear the code’s not
documented well
often it’s just that we’ve chosen one
approach of many to go through here it’s
almost like the thought process of the
the architect or the person that coded
that up they had a thought process in
mind and to them it was very clear why
they did it that way and it made sense
to them but without having that piece of
knowledge shared without getting that
out of someone’s mind
that same clarity doesn’t sort of
transcend developers and and the passing
of time
uh what i also noticed was happening was
we often had
little mini mini knowledge sharing
sessions one-on-one happening so when
these scenarios would occur someone
would pick up a task and they think oh
that’s i know so and so worked on that
a few sprints ago i’ll just give them a
call and there’s these one-on-one
meetings happening where
one of our members of a development team
is getting another member of the
development team across a certain
section of the code but that is just
happening one-on-one and the knowledge
is not shared any wider and it doesn’t
turn into an asset that we can reuse
so fundamentally it really boiled down
to two things or the other thing i was
hearing as well
was that maybe it was that person that
designed a feature and at the end of a
sprint or in the retro or maybe it’s
just i hear this in stand-ups was that
they’d learnt something new or they put
something new in place and the
terminology that i often hear is it
would be great to get others across this
it would be great um for others to know
how this works or for me to share how
this works and that’s where it ended it
never actually happened um so it was
really two-fold i i was hearing
people within the development team were
they were wanting knowledge it was like
i need to know about this or can someone
tell me about this because i’m
struggling to pick it up on my own so
there’s people wanting knowledge and
then there’s also people that were in a
position where they were really wanting
to share knowledge they had something to
so that was really the
i guess the the impetus for
me trying to put this program together
was to give us a consistent way of doing
those two things identifying
where knowledge could be shared within
the team where people are either have
the desire to gain knowledge on a
certain topic or people have got the
desire to share knowledge on a certain
it doesn’t i know you’re talking
specifically about development teams
here but this actually encompasses
pretty much every area of of any single
business um you know we often talk about
uh and you would have seen it before as
well these these siloed pieces of of
information you’ve got this team over
here or that team over there and you
know they might be sharing uh as you
mentioned as well maybe one to one
inside of their team or it might be two
or three but in actual fact it’s it’s
that knowledge that really uh would be
beneficial across an entire organization
so uh although
and what resonated with me with with how
you set this up and the explanation that
you gave is that it does really
expand outside of development teams
which i think is you know something
worth worth sharing and people get a lot
of value out of actually implementing
this type of thing uh in their
environments as well
now i’m assuming you would have been
using microsoft teams and and those type
of tools for for communication and and
meetings and
stand-ups and all that sort of stuff
already um
there was a a number of and you outlined
it in the article as well there’s a
number of specific requirements that
that you did have and you did sort of uh
find a solution for you know session
planning and presentations and the
recordings uh let alone the the storage
of these recordings but then
something that’s really important is
making them discoverable it’s okay to
have them recorded they get recorded
automatically obviously inside of of uh
of the team um but making those
discoverable um and the the way that you
made that uh and i’ll let you explain
that shortly but i thought was you know
nice and simple but very very very
practical and easy to easy for people to
and then you talk about the ramp up
system so bringing all of that together
into the one place even though you’re
using a number of different tools i
thought was
was was very very good
so tell me a little bit about how i
guess how those requirements came about
how you went about uh you know
coming up with those requirements and
then we’ll we’ll step through the the
implementation and how you actually
set it all up
sure um
yes i guess in coming up with the cross
i guess the the because microsoft 365
has a lot of the tools and probably a
lot of our listeners are already
familiar with this they’re already using
the tools um
but it’s i guess i’d like to take a step
back and think what problems are we
trying to solve here uh rather than just
sort of diving in and half solving a
problem by putting little bits and
pieces in place um i knew that i wanted
a program um
yeah i guess i i just i took that level
and i took that step and i stood
stood back and said okay what do we
really what do we really need out of
this system to make this actually work
and not just be something that we try
for a couple of weeks and then it just
fades away what really needs to happen
what do we need to put into place to
really make this happen um
and as silly as it sounds it’s it’s
it’s um
it’s almost like running anything in
business you need to you almost need to
market this thing you need to brand it
you need to market it you need to give
it a clear purpose if i couldn’t clearly
define what the requirements were and
what this was solving
how could i expect others to know the
value of this within the business as
so as as i sort of detailed out to you
there i could see the people having the
requirements in the business and that’s
probably the first thing of selling
something to anybody is what’s the need
what’s the pain do we really need this
thing um
and so that was pretty simple within my
team because for some it was an aha
moment for others it’s like yeah why did
it take you so long to get this thing
together um you’ve got people everywhere
along along the spectrum but um
yeah i guess the first thing is that
clear purpose what are you actually
trying to achieve here and for us it’s
knowledge sharing and as i said those
two perspectives people needing
knowledge and people wanting to share
and then coming down to the requirements
of that it’s like okay well how how are
we going to identify what knowledge
people want and how are we going to
identify those people that want to give
and so for me that requirement was just
we need we need some list some
some area where people can drop their
ideas to say hey i would like to know
more about this or
that person that comes out they’ve just
architected something new or come up
with some new idea and they’ve got that
thought i want to share this with others
others need to know about this so first
of all was just we need an area
somewhere where we can just have a list
where people can put this stuff down
basically requesting sessions or saying
i want to present a session
and detailing it out so that was sort of
the first requirement
and so that was actually that was going
to be one of my questions so that list
actually acts twofold does it so for for
me wanting to say hey i want to find out
more about this uh i can use that list
as well yes as well as uh you know i’ve
got i’ve got this this information i
want to present something or i want to
create content about that exactly it’s
it’s the same area it’s the same group
of people um and i guess that’s one
other requirement that i really had
and a need as well was sharing amongst a
team so
i didn’t want it to be
almost like a conference style where one
person just
says their piece with no feedback
part of this was
we wanted to make sure that the the
knowledge was really shared and the
understanding was shared so
the content the
structure of these sessions i wanted
them to be about half half between
presentation and interactivity between
the participants
and some of them i actually encourage
the development team like you don’t have
to be an expert in an area at all i
believe everyone’s got something to
share and value to add
so some of these sessions
there’s not a lot of uh a lot of
structure in them and sometimes there’s
not a lot of knowledge in them but the
actual knowledge is bought by the
dialogue and the conversations that are
had during the session other people can
chime in where they might do things in a
slightly different way and different
knowledge and they can bring it in um
yeah so i encourage people to to suggest
those sessions even if they feel like
they’re not an expert they’ve got
something that they want to they want to
share with others
but also i wanted that list to be a way
that the ideas could organically grow
before a session happened um so
having the ability to sort of add
comments or ask questions about oh you
want to share that idea were you
thinking of covering this and that
because i really want to know more about
so it allows the presenters to actually
get some feedback and start fleshing out
some structure based off what the rest
of the team is actually wanting to hear
in that area
so that was part of it being able to
work together as a team to sort of form
these session ideas up and also having
some sort of voting system so the team
can go in there and they can see all the
ideas that are down there and they can
just simply vote on them we can see
what’s most popular and what people want
to see what to learn about
so using obviously using microsoft lists
here how did you implement the the
voting system okay so the microsoft list
has got this built in you can just go
into the settings area of a list and you
turn on ratings and i think there’s a
couple of different options there but
the one i’ve used is just a star rating
between zero and five um and that just
it allows you to vote directly on the
list itself without having to open up
any of the items uh and you can see how
many people have voted what the average
number of stars is
yeah and each session sorry i’m getting
into a little bit of detail here around
microsoft lists here but you know each
session is a is an item in that list and
would you are you using the commenting
functionality of that list item to to
that commenting um functionality yeah
that’s right so if you open an item up
in the sharepoint list the comments will
just come out the side um the author of
the item gets notified when the comments
are in there
just using the great thing about
sharepoint um if if your team is already
using sharepoint and they know of the
functionality of it there’s just so many
things you can tap into there so myself
sort of looking after the program i just
subscribe to notifications whenever
anything in that suggestions list
changes so i can tell as soon as
someone’s thought about a session i get
a notification that someone’s popped
that session in there so i’ll go in and
have a read of it and give them some
encouragement if there’s anything i
would like to hear about that session i
can just pop the comments in there
straight away
so without really having to build
anything just using those the tools that
are already there you know we’ve got
people being able to create
create them comment on them rate them
and get notified of them um all quickly
and really easily
that’s the i guess that’s the the the
capturing side of it um from the from
the implementation side um so we’ve got
this sharepoint list uh you know it is
just a list sitting in your team site
that’s sitting behind your team um
how did you make the the user experience
of this because there’s some really nice
little things that you’ve done
uh with the sharepoint site behind the
scenes and some tabs and things like
that so how did you make uh not
stereotyping here but you kind of got to
make it easy for developers don’t you
to find stuff and things like that but
how did you how did you accommodate that
uh okay so we
you as you say this obviously there’s a
sharepoint site behind it um and i tried
to make it uh accessible no matter how
you arrived at it whether you arrived
through sharepoint uh so the sharepoint
site itself is sort of we have a home
page branding for our ramp up program
there and we have the the session
listing but there’s a web part look at
the information about the program but
probably where we’re living more the
team’s living more and conversing more
is directly inside of teams so we have a
development team team
so inside there we have a channel for
our ramp up our program
and inside of that channel you can have
the tabs across uh your the top of your
channel so all i’ve done is add that
sharepoint list of
ideas session ideas as a tab inside of
that channel so that channel is
obviously where we talk about all these
all things to do with our ramp up
program so just by going inside of that
channel there’s a tab up the top they
can see the session ideas
and because that sharepoint view just
comes through
you’ve got the full functionality of
sharepoint there they can suggest ideas
i can read other people’s ideas but they
can also see the ratings and vote and
everything directly within the team’s
what about the
the video so the recordings are you
you’re running these sessions as channel
meetings are you sure correct correct so
i wanted to keep everything um
i wanted to i wanted to make it feel
cohesive because microsoft 365 is just
set a set a tool set of technologies use
it for whatever purpose you want
but i think where
you really get success is where you can
pull those tools together put branding
around it and it feels like a system
it’s not just some files over here and a
list over there actually pulling it
together so by by pulling this together
in the teams channel
what we’ve been able to do there’s the
any chat messages whatever we have about
the ramp up program is done inside of
that channel we’ve pulled the session
list through into that channel as well
when i schedule the
actually schedule the sessions we do
schedule them as uh channel meetings so
the meeting invites go in the channel
and anyone who’s a member of um
that team gets it in their calendar as
well so it goes into their calendar but
the meeting itself is actually held in
that channel
um and that works well because again it
just keeps things contained but also the
recordings automatically go into a
subfolder in that sharepoint site
underneath that team so there’s a
recordings folder
beneath that hemp channel folder and all
your recordings automatically go in
there so no one has to you know finish a
meeting finish the recording
there’s no
we don’t do any post processing of it
it’s just the raw video no one has to
move it no one has to rename it it just
it just sits there
underneath this recordings folder
now teams is obviously has a uh
it does have a search capability but
it’s pretty poor um now you did a
and again you did an interesting thing
and well fairly simple thing it’s just
they’re out of the box right to to be
able to present those videos inside of
that sharepoint page um
i had how did you how did you manage to
do that okay well i’ll tell you my first
attempt my first attempt was okay i know
those videos are going to be sitting in
this folder in sharepoint at the end of
the day i’ll just show those as another
teams tab
so you go in there and you think okay
i’ll just show the files behind this
team and i’ll show that folder but teams
won’t let you show a specific subfolder
beneath it so that didn’t really work
for me
and then i thought well i’ll just show a
a sharepoint list because we can
show that as a as a tab and i went in to
try and do that and again i got the
entire contents of um the files for for
that team i could there was no way i
could isolate it i don’t think down to
the folder or maybe i could but the
viewing of it was just
a file name a file size and some dates
which wasn’t really interesting when
these things were videos i would much
rather than thumbnails and some details
about the video
so what i ended up going with here was i
leveraged the fact that these files are
sitting inside of sharepoint
so we’re back to the sharepoint site i
created a page
on that sharepoint site and
added a web part to it i use the
document library web part which does
allow you to specify and just show a
particular subfolder within the document
library so that i knew what the
subfolder was where all these recordings
were getting stored so i could just use
the web part to show just that one
folder so now i had a sharepoint page
that just showed the recordings from
within that folder and because it was a
web just a sharepoint
web part that i was using i could also
determine which views that i wanted to
use so i could show thumbnails on that
as well so this could now gave me a page
in sharepoint that looked presented the
information the way that i wanted users
to see it
then back in teams you can add a tab to
a sharepoint page and so that allowed me
to get a nice
thumbnail view of all the recordings
just as they get recorded so again zero
touch there’s no administration you just
go in hold a meeting as soon as you end
the meeting these recordings
automatically go to that folder the
thumbnails and everything automatically
generated and it just pops up so now
inside of our ramp up teams channel you
have your session ideas there’s one tab
and you have your video library as
another tab
yeah i think and again um you know i’m
all for these sort of no code easy code
local type solutions and what you’ve
just explained there is is something
that i mean anybody could do right i
mean it’s it’s it’s just using what is
there uh i guess there’s a lot of um and
i still find there’s a lot of confusion
about the teams and sharepoint
relationship but what you’ve just
outlined and explained there and how
you’re using the sharepoint site that
sits behind that microsoft team i think
is is something that a lot of people
probably wouldn’t realize initially that
they could utilize it for that type of
that type of scenario so
um you know everything that you’ve
written and described and outlined in
that article i think is uh yeah he is
fantastic for everybody um
and it’s yeah
and it
just goes again to show that you know
when you start with a
problem um not go straight into solution
mode but you you start with that that
problem how do we then best approach to
to uh to solve that solution is is a
very yeah good way to a good way to go
about it do
and how’s the i guess how’s the adoption
been of this is it is it something that
the the team’s now um you know on board
with and is it a regular uh you know
weekly thing that happens uh yep it
happens we probably get one in each
spread cycle which for us is every three
weeks every three to four weeks we have
one of them the first few weeks it was
just myself doing them um i was
encouraging people to do them but it
took a while just to get over you know
had presenting to other people and um
being confident talking in front of
other people but again i think these are
great skills for people to develop and
it’s a it’s a safe environment that
people are getting the opportunity to do
this as well
because these conversations are
happening anyway
people are happy were having these
meetings uh one on one or in small
groups and things so
the difference is i guess we’re pressing
the record button and we’re giving it a
yeah and probably the last thing that i
did i sort of mentioned at the front was
just the
actually calling this thing a program
and almost marketing it
to the team
i think went a long way towards the
success of it so there’s one more tab
that i stuck inside of that channel and
what i really did is i took
another i created another sharepoint
and i really bought together all the
different pieces of the program and
branded it and i created an intro video
so once i built this whole system i
actually ran through it demonstrating
how it would work like what the purpose
of this ramp up program was why i was
passionate about it and the benefits i
thought it could bring to our team
and i took them through like this is how
we’re going to run a session this is
where you can do your session ideas um
this is how you can comment on them this
is how the voting will work this is
where you’ll find all of the videos so i
created a five minute video um and i so
i created one page which was going to be
the home page of this ramp up program in
sharepoint it had that blurb at the top
it had an embedded video that people
could watch about um
about the program and then it had the
last i think it was the last three
sessions that we’d run the latest videos
then it had embedded web parts with um
all of the session ideas where they
could vote and then links down to the
full uh library of all of our videos as
well so that gave the program an
identity and there was also i just
brought that sharepoint page through
again into that team’s channel
because it’s one thing to sell it to
your team at the start but then it’s as
you bring more and more developers on
and this is where the value of these
recorded assets become really valuable
is you have new people join the team
it’s like i just you know we just
brought everyone up to speed on that
topic three weeks ago if only you were
here three weeks ago
but now you’ve got that repository of of
knowledge um yeah it’s a great yeah it’s
a great onboarding um vehicle yeah uh as
well for anybody new yeah and as far as
the adoption of it’s gone look
everyone’s loving the sessions um
everyone’s attending the sessions which
is great we’re getting good questions
during the sessions we’re getting um
some good comments uh on the lead-up to
sessions so what i’ve been finding is
people aren’t commenting um on sessions
that are sort of a long way off but once
we start to say look we might run one of
these two sessions or once we’ve locked
one in and we’re saying so-and-so is
going to run this session on this date
then people will start putting comments
on it to say oh can you cover this or
are you going to cover these these
topics uh inside of that session so
that’s that’s worked well
and there’s already been quite a few
times where
someone will be working on a task in our
morning stand up and they’ll ask for
assistance or they’re not sure how
something works and the answer has been
we covered that in such and such a ramp
up video and the person will say oh
that’s right i was way that weak and the
answer has just been okay go watch your
wrap-up video if you’ve got any
questions after you’ve done that just
ping me
yeah and and they’re they’re optional
yes 100 options we’re not running them
and the reason i didn’t call it a brown
bag session and we came up with the
title of ramp up internally was
i didn’t want the traditional brown bag
idea of this is done in your own time
this is done over at lunch time and it
eats into your own time like
i see a lot of value in this you know
just making our development team more
raising morale and just just us becoming
a more high performing team
and part of that is not trying to take
time out of people’s out of people’s
and that’s not to say that there’s not
value in brown bags sessions that are
done in lunch times and things like that
if your teams
like uh disparate they’re not entirely
within your control within an
organization or across organizations
just finding a time to meet up
is difficult and if that value is there
for people then there’s there’s
definitely value to lunchtime meetings
but for us um
it was more that we wanted this to be
part of our process as a team
careful you’re starting to sound like a
change management user adoption
specialist and not a developer
if only i had to just develop mate it
would be uh happy days
yes um yeah look there’s some some
amazing insights there and i think that
uh that knowledge that you’ve just just
shared there is is something that’s
going to bring value to to not only
development teams but uh to everybody uh
cross-functional across organizations
too i think it’s uh it’s a really good
example um
now let’s turn our attention a little
bit now to i guess development side so
what’s uh
what’s exciting around the development
space now what is it that you’re uh that
you’re working on at the moment
wow okay um
got multiple things on the go at the
moment um what’s exciting me
uh we’ve been spending a lot of time uh
with microsoft graph i have been for
many years now um there’s a lot
we’re moving a lot of our customers and
across from what we’re traditionally
desktop installed products across into
sas offerings
um now a lot of the functionality that
we were doing on premises was
sort of running on client machines or
running on servers hosted inside of
people’s environments but as we move
towards a sas offering
this is stuff that we now either do
centrally from within our tenancies
inside of azure or directly within
customers tendencies
so a lot of that that shift has been
very interesting but it’s also meant
especially for our centrally hosted
things is doing things at a much much
larger scale
than we’ve had to before because even if
you’re running something that’s a
server-side offering so
yeah even if you submit something to
server-side offering if you’re deploying
it to a client site it’s really only got
a scale big enough for that one customer
but when you’re running these things
centrally and you’re doing it at a
global scale it’s got to be big enough
to handle all your customers
globally and it’s going to be able to
scale as well so
some of that stuff i find quite
some of some of the sort of the proof of
concept work and making sure that this
stuff is going to be reliable and you
got to get your investment back on the
development effort it takes
is quite interesting so
you know we we hear a lot of information
a lot of times it’s true about
like how scalable microsoft things are
but when you’re when you’re hitting
something like when you’ve got you know
graph change notifications and you’re
wanting to listen to every mail coming
into a user’s mailbox to be able to file
it off or do things with it we’re
talking about a lot of subscriptions a
lot of notifications flying around and
just scalability of these things
and i think yeah we’ve gone through a
lot of battles in the early days and i
think a lot of isvs did with throttling
and sharepoint
um so
it’s kind of that but when you’re when
you’re looking at things on a really big
global scale those sorts of throttling
issues or bandwidth problems or
latency they become they become real
issues so that’s that’s been quite
um that’s probably very specific to the
type of work that that we do
yeah what about outside of uh outside of
that so um you know your role is uh your
role your status as an mvp um you know
are you keeping an abreast of of
development around sort of teams and all
of that sort of that side as well yep
for sure um yeah so we had due to some
team stuff ourselves uh product wise but
i guess what excites me most about the
direction that i guess here probably the
right term is microsoft 365 development
uh and over the last couple of years
what we’ve seen is a bit of a
unification of what that development
story looked like because it was really
different product teams running in
different directions we had
one model for sharepoint doing
sharepoint development we had a
different model for doing teams
development we had a different model for
doing office ad in
um so
there was really a confusing story
because when people sort of come to you
and say well i want to develop for
microsoft 365 it’s really what part of
it you want to develop for because
they’re all totally different
in some ways there is still a lot of
disparities but it is becoming a more
unified story which has been great to
see um
i think there’s a lot of unification
around the sharepoint framework uh i
think and there’s um even the the more
modern stuff that’s coming out with the
viva connections that’s it’s based on
sharepoint framework extensions as well
to do
uh yeah the development story around
that and some of the ui i think that’s
been a pain point for developers for a
long time it’s like every one of those
stories i just
just mentioned the sharepoint or teams
or office add-ins they kind of all had a
different ui framework uh because the
actual host products themselves all had
different ui so the sharepoint ui was
different to office ui which was
different to the team’s ui they all
looked and felt different so how you
developed and integrated into those
products you needed a whole different
story right from the ui layer
so it’s been great to see last probably
three years um
what are you calling the other cards uh
actionable messages is what’s coming to
mind but that’s just the implementation
within outlook um yeah this concept of
creating cards and you’re really
what you want to be on a card without
actually going down to the pixel level
of it it should be this color and it
should be this font size it’s really a
case of
describing the structure of what you
want to show on the screen the message
that you want to show on the screen and
the host products will
determine what that exactly looks like
best when when it’s showing that message
for you so
i think that’s that’s been great as well
so we’re really seeing unification and
that’s that’s what excites me because
it’s just getting that clarity uh
because a lot of the time that’s
that’s what developers are after is that
clarity of
what tooling should i use and how should
i use it it’s the same whenever whenever
i try and bring new developers on board
or i go out under my guys as an mvp and
try to introduce people to technology
developers are quite smart people and
they go in there with an idea and they
just want to actually
deliver the business value focus on that
yeah and that bit is actually the easy
bit um for most developers the hard bit
is like well what plumbing do i need
what does my development environment
need to look like once they get
the the fabled hello world happening as
soon as they can see something hello
world i can get that happening right
from this point i know what i need to do
and i can do it really quickly but the
the big learning path for people is just
how do i get to this hello world how
what tooling do i need on my machine how
do i build it how do i deploy it how do
i just get the thing running um
and so the easier and clearer that story
can be made um
the more people are gonna be able to
build because they’re gonna get in there
and they’re gonna be able to build right
from um right from day one right from
the start yeah
yeah exciting um all right now as we
wrap things up mate um
where as i mentioned at the start you do
produce a lot of content and a lot of
educational content um and i can say now
not just developer uh educational
content but uh you know broader than
that too so where can people find you uh
and where are you active and posting all
this uh this information
blog site is probably one of the key
spots to follow me and you’ll find links
off to all my other social media and
everything there so that is just
i’m sure you’ll be able to provide a
link to that in the notes
i’m active on twitter and linkedin
they’re my main social media avenues
where i post tips tricks
when i come up against a problem i
blog about it or put something out about
it because in two months time i’ll have
forgotten about it i often find my own
stuff and realize i’ve already solved
this yeah yes
yep many uh many blogs start like that
don’t they is a as a personal sort of uh
noteboard as well yeah yeah they do
uh excellent mate so uh once again thank
you very much for having a chat um and
uh i’ll uh make sure that we we catch up
again and do another another episode at
some point in time awesome enjoyed the
conversation mate good to see


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