Do you have a Collaboration Contract with your team?

When establishing a new team or starting on a new project, people acknowledge that they will collaborate; but often they don’t discuss how they’re going to collaborate.

This can sometimes lead to disconnection and even frustration between team members, as not everyone is on the same page. For some this might be due to a lack of familiarity with the tools chosen, or for others it may be due to different working styles.

The reality is that we are all different, and have different ways of working.

To help with this, fellow MVP Sue Hanley and I put together the guidelines for establishing a ‘collaboration contract‘, which is not just about tools – it’s about people and how they work together, as well as tools. Tools won’t fix problems created by people, and so a ‘collaboration contract’ focuses on connecting the people to each other as well as the tools; so that everyone is more successful when working together.

(And while we’re both Office Servers and Services MVPs, it isn’t restricted to just users of Office 365.)



Enabling the Microsoft Whiteboard to work with Office 365

If you’ve ever worked with the Microsoft Whiteboard on a Surface Hub with the Creators Update installed, you’ll know that the whiteboard experience is fantastic.

Where it has fallen down is that it was restricted to only being available on a Surface Hub – so normal Windows 10 users could not interact with the whiteboards. Customers would have to resort to third-party apps such as Stormboard.

Last week the Whiteboard was released into public preview, and I’ve been very much looking forward to this as have many Surface Hub customers.

To be able to store & retrieve canvasses or share them with other people you need to sign in with Office 365 credentials or a Microsoft account (formerly known as Live ID).

Unlike some previous Office 365 app releases however, the Whiteboard is turned off by default which means that users will be greeted with the warning that “Your admin has disabled sign in for Whiteboard”:

The fix is simple – enable it!

Simply go to the Office 365 admin portal, navigate to Settings and then to “Services & add-ins”, where you will see the new Whiteboard option:

You will see that it is set to Off, so slide it over to On and press save:

The effect is immediate, and you’ll then be able to log in straight away and start working on whiteboards together!

This is an all or nothing approach, and at this point there are no administrative controls to enable or disable this on a per-user level – so you will need to be wary of content being stored in yet another location.

The whiteboard is quite simple and easy enough to use, but at the end of the day it is a blank canvas. If you are looking more a more structure canvas check out as it provides a whole raft of features that enhance productivity and collaboration when whiteboarding.