Teams Tuesday Meetup October 2022 Podcast9 min read
Now that the workforce is trending towards remote/hybrid, paper pushing approval processes are out. How do we accommodate for our users outside of the office walls? How do we keep record of something that isn’t best served in an email or Teams chat? (Think PTO request, new hire setup, annual policy review, etc.) Approvals are a versatile M365 component that streamline the signoff process but there are many things to consider before making your approval process electronic. First, before thinking about the technology, a discovery conversation is necessary to construct an efficient, repeatable process and we will touch on the main points for this. Next, we will examine the four pillars of the Approval lifecycle:
1. Creation of the task – will OOTB Approvals suffice or do we need to design our own custom process with Power Automate?
2. Format the notification – how will we let our approvers know they have a deliverable? The most popular options include email and/or adaptive cards and we will cover the major differences in formatting.
3. Monitor items in progress – how do we see active Approvals? Do we need to build in reminders for our task?
4. Document the results - how do we share the results of our Approval and more importantly, record the outcome?
Lastly, we’ll cover some common requests i.e. assign to a group, dual control, and limitations of Approvals and how they affect design of the overall process.
Below are the questions and answers from the October 2022 Meetup Session.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself? – City, family, hobbies, job title
A. Heidi Jordan from Sioux Falls, SD. As for my job, I am starting with Avanade on Monday as a Senior Modern Workplace Consultant. My husband, Kyle Jordan, is a part owner in a hydroponic grow center/technology sales representative and my three boys keep me very busy. Cayden - 20 is a junior at South Dakota State University, Dax - 6 just started kindergarten and Beau - 3 keeps me on my toes. We spend most of our time at the lake or at sporting events.
Q.Tell us something about yourself that not many people know about you?
A. I am an unofficial Las Vegas aficionado. I've traveled there at least 20 times and I actually married my husband there in 2014.
Q. What does a typical workday look like for you?
A. In my prior role as a SharePoint consultant, I spent lots of time working on migrations and solution builds. I've worked on everything from InfoPath/SharePoint designer solutions to SharePoint Online Intranets. I spent a lot of time juggling client questions and keeping on top of M365 skills.
Q. 1st job out of college
A. I graduated college with a BS in Mathematics so I actually applied for teaching jobs upon finishing college. When this didn't pan out, I applied at a local community bank to be a teller. During my interview, they recognized my problem-solving skills and actually suggested that I apply for the role of Business Analyst. After accepting this position, I worked with SQL server and SQL server reporting services to create ad-hoc reports.
Q. Your 1st version of SharePoint that you experienced and what year
A. My first experience with SharePoint was with version 2007 in the year 2008. At this point in time, the big push was to force users to stop using the internal "intranet" system and consume all the company news on our new SharePoint Intranet.
Q. Last challenging project and why? (this should relate to your demo)
A. One common thread I see among all of my clients is the need to improve upon existing approval processes. I've seen the whole spectrum - everything from "we're handling all of this via email" to "we're tracking everything in Excel". A great example of this is in financial institutions and yearly reviews of policies/procedures. There are government regulations that banks must comply with to prove that they've reviewed their documents on a set basis and Microsoft's tools can help streamline this process. High level - we can use SharePoint to make required documentation widely available, Power Automate can help us formalize the review process, and Teams can simplify the approval captures.
Q. What is the biggest mistake that your feel holds back your clients from the results they want (this should relate to your demo)
A. The solution babysitting and maintenance - though the initial build process with Power Automate is very user friendly, it takes significant experience to be able to troubleshoot flows.
Q. Describe a SharePoint train wreck project, and what did you learn?
A. At some prior positions, I've fallen into the trap of trying to stretch SharePoint outside of its box. This falls in line with the saying "just because we can doesn't mean we should". These experiences have driven me to be more mindful of the user experience and to take user adoption more seriously.
Q. Your favorite M365 feature/tool and why
A. As I've said before - "I'm just a SharePoint girl living in a Power Platform world". I'm focusing my efforts on Power Apps and Power Automate these days. I also love the integrations these products have between SharePoint and MS Teams. I love how the Power Platform applications enable those of us who are low-code professionals to create serious business tools.
Q. Where do you think Microsoft is going with M365.. Be totally honest
A. I'm so excited to see the energy and direction put into Viva. As a solution builder, I've built numerous solutions for the modules that I see coming into Viva and it's nice to see MS pouring their energy into a product that focuses on employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Also, I see the excitement surrounding Power Platform and I'm loving the direction they're taking this. They made history with their first conference, and I think it was instrumental for the community.
Q. What’s the best and worst tech advice you’ve been given
A. Over the years at each organization I've worked at, being a M365 expert can be a very isolating experience. It's crucial that you find a mentor to help guide you through your journey. My mentor at Microsoft has been instrumental to my career - even resulting in a MVP nomination. My best advice relating to that - everyone in this community is looking to help others - don't be afraid to reach out.
Q. What are you working on to become a developer/consultant / CTO
A. I'm currently working on my Microsoft MVP and pursuing a few other Power Platform related certifications. I'm continuing my journey as a speaker and overjoyed to start my new senior consultant role.
Q. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
A. I want to be an impactful speaker in the M365 community and a Microsoft MVP. I'd love to be a more regular blogger and also be a driving force for Avanade.
Q. What's your blind spot in your Microsoft knowledge? Pitfalls
A. Security and Compliance.
Q. Where do you source your knowledge? - Twitter- who do you follow, site urls
A. 1. Power Platform Community Calls - true story, I attended my first call in April 2022 and I presented on the May 2022 call. I was so inspired by this group of people that I knew I wanted to be a part of it. These monthly calls are free to join, recorded, and a great way to feel connected to the Community. See David Warner for more information.
2. I have a few podcasts that I listen to religiously - The Message Center Show with Daniel Glenn and Darryl Webster and M365 Voice with Antonio Maio, Mike Maadrani, and Sarah Haase.
3. About Us (messagecentershow.com)
4. Microsoft 365 Voice (m365voice.com)
5. I also attend and speak at conferences regularly. In particular, a few of my favorites include the EduCon 365, Microsoft Collaboration, Power Platform, and North American Collaboration Summit events.
Q. In your mind, if there was 1 song that could describe Sharepoint, what would it be? - David Bowie - Heroes
A. "Every Breath You Take" - The Police
Q. Where can people find you?
A. Twitter: @heidi_jordan14