Teams: A Game of Survivor

Our lovely Savvy fri-ents (friends/clients) know by now that I’ve about had it up to HERE with Microsoft’s nonstop changes and “improvements.” As Savvy’s Chief of Instructional Design, it’s my job to make sure all our training content includes the latest updates in their important Microsoft products. But lately, Microsoft seems to be making changes on a near-daily basis only to revert back to the old ways within days because (shocker) the improvement wasn’t.

For example, let’s take the Mini Toolbar.

Recently, I made a big deal of the fact that “Styles” was removed from the Mini Toolbar in Word 365 and replaced with New Comment. I dove into our SavvySMART Content Library and madly made the changes to our tutorials, deleting Styles from all the images and instructions. Lo and behold, five days later, they had changed the Mini Toolbar to include both Styles and New Comment. When will the madness end?

We won’t let those gremlins win! We’ll outlast them and make them run screaming from their cubicles (or socially distanced coffee bars).

Deep breath. OK, I’ll try not to be (too) snarky. I truly want to be helpful, so I’m going to share some recent, important information about Microsoft Teams.

Teams on an Island

In a nutshell: Like every virtual meeting platform, Teams was found lacking during the heavy usage in March, April and May. Usage is still high but nothing like we experienced in those early days. Microsoft dove into its programming and emerged with a lot of variations that people can deploy in different situations.

Take, for example, “Teams in Islands.” This version of Teams is meant to be used by those in Skype for Business who want to host meetings in Teams. If you are planning to use this format of Teams, here is some recent information from a Microsoft blog post:

Skype for Business users who use Teams in Islands mode can schedule meetings from Outlook with either Teams or Skype. With this new policy, you can specify that meetings scheduled from Outlook will take place on Teams only.

When will this happen?

  • This policy is now available for Outlook for Windows, Outlook on the web, Outlook for Android, and Outlook for iOS.
  • This policy will be available in early July (previously mid-June) for Outlook for Mac.

How does this affect me?

This feature helps users who are in Islands mode to migrate to Teams just for meetings. All other Skype for Business functionality is unchanged.

You can specify whether users can only schedule meetings from Outlook using Teams or you can maintain the current default option, which lets the organizer decide between Teams and Skype for Business.

What do I need to do to prepare for this change?

This policy setting controls how your users who are in Islands mode schedule meetings only in Outlook.

The policy is currently only available as a PowerShell script. You can edit an existing Teams meeting policy using the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet or create a new Teams meeting policy by using the Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet and assign it to users.

To specify which meeting add-in you want to be available to users:

  • Set AllowOutlookAddIn to True in TeamsMeetingPolicy and
  • Set PreferredMeetingProviderForIslandsMode in TeamsMeetingPolicy as follows:
  • Allow users to select either the Skype for Business add-in or the Teams Meeting add-in in Outlook. TeamsAndSfb is the default value; if you do nothing, end user functionality remains unchanged.
  • Restrict meetings scheduled in Outlook to Teams. Remove the Skype for Business meeting add-in and enable just the Teams meeting add-in by setting the parameter to Teams. Note: this setting does not change existing Skype for Business meeting join links to Teams meeting join links. The setting affects only future meetings. It does not affect presence, chat, or PSTN calling, or any other capabilities within Skype for Business.

If you set the parameter to Teams and switch back to TeamsAndSfB, both meeting add-ins will be enabled. Such a change affects only future meetings; existing Teams meeting join links will not be migrated to Skype for Business links.

Clear as a bell? No? Welcome to my world. Let’s throw Microsoft off the Island, shall we?!

(OK, abandoning snarky again.)

In all seriousness, we’d love to help support you regardless of which version of Teams you decide to deploy. Clearly, I’m passionate about providing the best imaginable content and service to people who are just trying to get their jobs done. Contact Savvy today if you need help keeping up with changes to any of the tools that your firm uses to produce client work!


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