Microsoft Updates App for Better Remote Team Communications
Updated: May 2
With remote work being the norm, staying up to date with what your remote team is working on can be challenging. When you are managing a larger team who is mostly autonomous, how do you check in on progress without feeling like you are micromanaging their work? What if a team member is working on multiple projects for different managers? Sure, you can ask the team to provide updates at the end of the day, or end of the week but that’s another item to remember and it becomes a chore.
What if there was a way to be reminded in a simple way using the tools many users are already using? Continue reading below for how the Updates app in Microsoft Teams can foster improved communication for in-person or a remote team.
What is Updates in Microsoft Teams?
Updates is an app built with the Power Platform and Forms in Microsoft Teams that is free to use. The application provides a simple user interface to scheduled recurring reminders for updates. Whether this be an employee updating a manager daily, a peer updating another peer about progress, or an automated way to gather feedback, Updates can be used to configure regular reminders directly in Microsoft Teams to provide updates. Then, those updates can be reviewed over time. Two important terms to know, Submitter, someone to submits an update and Reviewer, the person who reviews the update from the submitter.
How does it work for a Reviewer?
A Reviewer will receive a notification in Teams when a Submitter submits an update.
Notification in Activity
Review form in Microsoft Teams
What does a Submitter see?
A Submitter will see a similar notification, if reminders are configured, and be able to enter the information directly in a form in Teams!
How do you configure an update?
There are two ways to configure an Update. One approach is to configure directly in a Teams chat. This is inflexible for adding additional team members as Reviewers, thus we will not cover the setup in this article. We will focus on the second approach, using the Updates app to configure the update.
1. Go to the Updates app. You may have to search for this under Apps.
Search for App
2. Click Request an update
Request an update allows requesting new updates or managing existing.
3. Click on New Request
Note: this is the same place you can manage requests to disable, update the timing, or add additional reviewers
Managing update requests or creating a new request.
4. Select a template, suggest starting from blank
Start from blank or use a template.
5. Configure the settings, design, and workflow automation
Final step is to name the form, design the form by adding questions, and schedule workflow automation. In Corterra's experience, keep the questions simple when it is a daily update from the team to make it easy to provide the update. Two questions have worked best in our experience.
Name the update and provide a brief description. This will come in handy when managing updates.
Don't forget to make the fields on the form required and allow for long answers!
Click on advanced settings to schedule alerts to the submitter. Whatever time is selected will remind the submitter two hours before then.