Project Cobbler Update – How ThreeWill Uses Microsoft 365

Find this Podcast “Project Cobbler Update – How ThreeWill Uses Microsoft 365” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.

Danny Ryan:Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and A Microphone podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I’m here with the other host, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing, Tommy?


Tommy Ryan:I’m well.


Danny Ryan:We’re hosting ourselves here today.


Tommy Ryan:Yes.


Danny Ryan:Tom, I have to warn everyone-


Tommy Ryan:Self-serve


Danny Ryan:I have to warn everyone, Tommy has a coffee in front of him. He doesn’t often have a coffee in front of him.



Tommy Ryan:


You might have to slow the speed down.


Danny Ryan:I can slow the speed down, yes.


Tommy Ryan:50%.


Danny Ryan:Yes. It’s not very often that he has coffee. You’re more of a tea drinker, aren’t you Tommy?


Tommy Ryan:I am. I’ll have tea today too.


Danny Ryan:You’ll have tea today too. Right, right. It’s going to get interesting.


Tommy Ryan:I had a workout this morning, I had coffee.


Danny Ryan:Oh gosh.


Tommy Ryan:Got my protein shake on. I’m just rocking it this morning.


Danny Ryan:Then of course we want to talk about a heated subject this morning, which as to do with what we are calling Project Cobbler, which is our internal project and how would we apply a workshop that we have, called the Digital Workplace Workshop, to our own needs, and going through-



Tommy Ryan:


How novel!


Danny Ryan:How novel. I looked at it yesterday and it was like, 5-24 earlier this year where I said, “Hey Pete, why don’t we do this for our own purposes?” It’s only been three or so months and we finally went through some of the content. Have had lots of discussions and hashed and re-hashed and re-hashed again, sort of looking at the decisions for how we’re using Microsoft 365. I just have to say, I’m confused as hell.



Danny Ryan:


Still, I know they’re simple. Part of it probably has to do … when you’re trying to solve somebody else’s problem it’s very clear and then when you go and look at your own stuff, it’s not so clear. It’s been a lot of interesting decisions that we’ve made. We’re fortunate that Pete can go and implement a lot of these decisions and we can try things and back things out. We’ve made a lot of progress, though. I think for today, I think a lot of what we’re looking at is … We have our internet, we call it the Café, which is … like coffee, tea. It’s really our place across the entire organization, across the 10000 people that work at ThreeWill, their place to go to share ideas, to collaborate together.



Danny Ryan:


We moved it from … Where we have it right now, we have a team setup. A Microsoft team set up for our Café. We’re using that as sort of the central point that everybody has to collaborate. That is our homepage, that’s one of the things that we did, is now we redirect the over to this particular team. We’re calling that, that’s our … It’s got a back-end SharePoint site to it that you can go look at, but really we’re seeing a lot of people just being in teams all day long.



Tommy Ryan:


Right, because it’s simple. I think the biggest challenge with this is having so many options.


Danny Ryan:Yeah.


Tommy Ryan:The double-edged sword of being in this business of helping people with their Intranets is we know too much and we know all the detail. We tend to try to perfect something that is … sometimes it’s just got to be good enough. Realizing that there’s going to be edges, it’s that common problem that we’ve seen over the years with SharePoint, which is you always get 80% there, and you go down a path and you feel like, “Crap, I want that but if I do that, I need to approach if this way. When I approach it this way, I get another thing that I want that makes me go back to where I was before.”



Danny Ryan:


Right, right.


Tommy Ryan:That can be frustrating. I think some of it has to do with, what is your work style? What’s the culture that you have, and how do you get work done? Pick the better of the two evils, at the end of the day.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. For people who don’t … We’re a 25 to 30 person companies small-


Tommy Ryan:Not 10000?


Danny Ryan:No, we’re not 10000.


Tommy Ryan:Gosh.


Danny Ryan:We don’t have the same … A part of this is approach-wise. Going into this project, one of the key tenants that we covered was, we’re not going to design and build something that we would for our clients. Get over it, guys. This is not going to be the world’s perfect solution to our … We just won’t have [inaudible 00:05:22]. It’s got to work for us. It’s got to work for a small company.



Tommy Ryan:


Yeah, our size.


Danny Ryan:Going into that, what’s happened is, is we’ve tried to say, okay, of the Microsoft, of the 18 different tools within Microsoft, which ones are working, which ones are we willing to move forward with? Where’s Microsoft investing, what works well for …? We also talked about our culture. We’re very collaborative, people like sharing a lot. Which tools we’re working in.



Danny Ryan:


One of the things we did about maybe a year, or two years ago maybe even, is we stopped using Yammer. Probably people are going like, why the heck would you-



Tommy Ryan:


What’s Yammer, yeah.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. Why would you stop using Yammer? I still use it, like I was on it this morning, but it was for collaboration for Microsoft partner stuff. I still use it, it’s just outside the organization. I think people were just getting so like, we were replicating things … There were things in Yammer that should have been in SharePoint. Then teams came along and were like, whoa, whoa. We’re overwhelming people with these things. We made a decision and moved forward with that.



Danny Ryan:


Then I think some of the stuff that I looked at with this, was a while back we moved off of Jive and into SharePoint. At that point in time, we moved file-based content over, which is fine. I think some of those files are being updated, but a lot of what was Jive collaborative documents got moved to Wikis. Now I know nowadays we’re moving org … We’re in the process of moving people to SharePoint Modern pages, which I think is the better experience and the right way of going. We moved them over to the Wiki pages and they weren’t being updated. There were like … In some of the places we had hundreds of Wiki documents and only four were updated in the last three years. I’m going like, either the content, we don’t need it anymore might be something, or is there something impeding somebody from keeping these things up-to-date? I don’t know.



Tommy Ryan:




Danny Ryan:It was one of those things like … I think what I’m grappling with right now is that there’s content that is sort of short term. There’s the ad hoc type of content that a team needs to go get something done, which I think Microsoft teams is really trying to focus it around. Then there’s this content that is going to be around for as long as ThreeWill is around. They’re things, like the where do I download the ThreeWill font, those types of things. We’re having people work and share through Microsoft teams, and that’s sort of for the ad hoc, how we’re working today.


Danny Ryan:Then I think I’m mistakenly trying to pull that in, like have everything available from that one place. Now like yesterday, and example is Linda has a key HR document that was in one of the Wiki Pages. She was asking, where does this go? I ended up moving it over to a Modern page that’s on the site. I think that’s the right place to go. What I was looking at then was, and Pete and I have had this conversation, was where does Wiki-based content go now? Does it go into … Are we all going to use One Note? It’s for Wiki-based content … can be used. It’s a little disjarring because you’re having to open the One Note file, make changes. It’s a more file-based type of world, as opposed to Wiki content usually is, you’re very quickly making changes and you’re just sort of jumping from one Wiki to another and just doing things. It seem to be the Modern page is more of that type of interaction. It’s browser-based, it’s you’re making changes.



Danny Ryan:


Pete said, it may have been earlier this week, he’s like, “For the stuff that’s longterm, it should not be in One Note. One Note is there for you, for short term, for a team needs to share some notes, it’s there. For longterm, we need to be putting it into Modern pages.” Then I go to Pete … I’m sorry, I feel like I should be laying on a couch now and you should be smoking a pipe.



Danny Ryan:


Yeah, Pete’s like, for longterm-based content, we should have those in Modern pages. Then I go to Pete and I said, “Well Pete, here’s the obvious thing. We’ve got probably two to three thousand Wiki pages out on our site that are no longer being updated. Shouldn’t there be a way for me to convert those pages from Wiki pages to Modern pages? Isn’t everybody going to want to do that?” He’s like, “Yeah, PMP group is working on that.” It is something I think people are looking at. The Modern page is … I believe is what people want.



Tommy Ryan:




Danny Ryan:I say the Modern page is for Wiki-based, for things that need to be updated, yet need longterm storage. I’m not using a Modern page for sharing my notes from the call that we just had with somebody. I’m using One Note for that.



Tommy Ryan:




Danny Ryan:For me, it’s like I need this wall for … I’ve seen the stuff that’s come out with when to use what, and the recent stuff of all this stuff. Boy, it seems like … I feel like I’m a pretty technical person, but to the average Joe out there who’s just trying to do things, it’s a little overwhelming. It’s a little overwhelming. I think I’m just trying to apply some thought to this and try to keep it simple to people, so that I can explain to people what’s where and not have, “Well in this case it goes here, and that case it goes there.” Okay, doctor, tell me what the …


Tommy Ryan:I’ve got some thoughts for you here.



Danny Ryan:


Do you have a pill for me that I can take?


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. We’re going to make it worth your charge.


Danny Ryan:Pill-based format. okay, how much are you charging?



Tommy Ryan:


I’m expensive here.


Danny Ryan:Okay. All right.


Tommy Ryan:Let me give you some words of wisdom here.


Danny Ryan:Help me Tommy, help me.


Tommy Ryan:Well, I think you’ve got to draw analogies to these things to some things that you experience in the real world of your everyday life.


Danny Ryan:I like analogies.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. Yeah, so an analogy that I’ve experienced recently is moving to a new house. I get moved to a new house. That house has a different design, a different layout. It has different functions in the house. You can go and move and just dump everything and spread it across that house and you really lose the purpose, lose the value of that. Lose the experience of its initial intention. I think there’s a natural progression. For us in our house, we’ve got everything in the basement that doesn’t have purpose yet and we’re kind of evaluating. Do we give this to so-and-so, do we donate this? Does this get refinished and move to somewhere in the house?



Danny Ryan:




Tommy Ryan:It’s in the basement. It’s not cluttering up the beauty of what the house is. We’re being very intentional about what goes into the house and what goes from that basement up to that first floor. As I look at our content, I think we probably have 5% of our content that belongs in the house … 95% of it belongs in the basement that over time-



Danny Ryan:


That’s a big basement.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. We’ve got a big basement. We put about 80% of our content down there. I think one of the things that we have to realize is there’s certain content that has value that needs to be brought forward, that needs to have its right place. It’s going to take some energy and effort to curate that and put it in its right place. There’s going to be some content that you want to have access to, but it’s not first class. It’s sitting in the basement. You can get to it, you can search it, you can get to that, but it’s not put into the new spaces in your Intranet or in your house.


Tommy Ryan:I think that’s what we struggle with, is we want to bring all that over and we kind of think, “Well all that stuff should be valuable. Why aren’t we keeping that up-to-date?” To be honest with ourselves, we really don’t have the time to keep that stuff up-to-date. The return on investment of stopping and curating some of that content … I think this has been a good intentional move for us, is we have said, when we have something of value that we’re going to curate it, put it out on the public website. Put it out on the blog because that becomes searchable by a larger community. It has purpose that’s beyond just helping ourselves. Kirk is not spending time to go back and look at a Wiki and mature a Wiki in our internal knowledge base. He’s spending time on that project and curating what needs to be curated on the project. If he has any time for a global knowledge curation, he’s going to write a blog post.



Danny Ryan:




Tommy Ryan:We’ve got to realize that there’s a big part of our natural way of collecting information, that some of it is, it’s going to have some purpose for a period of time and then it’s going to wane. I mean, you look at a lot of that old stuff-


Danny Ryan:It doesn’t apply, yeah.


Tommy Ryan:It’s WSS 3.0, it’s all these things that don’t have purpose anymore.



Danny Ryan:


Yeah. I think that’s … I believe what we’re talking about is the fact that content has a life cycle and at a certain point it should be archived.


Tommy Ryan:Yes. Clean it up.


Danny Ryan:I think what we’re doing and what we’ve done with the project … Like yesterday, what I ended up doing was going to the old site collections and marking them as read only.



Tommy Ryan:


Yes. You’re on notice.


Danny Ryan:They’re on there when we get to them. You’re on notice. The content’s there, but if you need it it’s read only for a period of time. Who knows, we could leave it there till whenever, but you know it’s not where the latest version is.


Tommy Ryan:I bet all of that you could delete and somehow we would function going forward.


Danny Ryan:My concern is not so much the stuff that leaves over time … it should be archived and it should be eventually … it’s outdated, we don’t need it anymore. I think it’s a great point that you make about, we put that stuff out on the website, which is what I try … I recognize the value of content grows exponentially once you get it out onto our website, because other people can see it. Other people can comment on it. I agree with you there, and I agree that that is the way that we go, that we focus in on extracting out the nuggets and trying to get it out onto our website.



Tommy Ryan:


Yeah. Right. Not on a Wiki page.


Danny Ryan:Yeah.


Tommy Ryan:You’ve been a big part of that. I think that’s been a good thing for us. I think it’s a wise thing to do.


Danny Ryan:That helps justify-


Tommy Ryan:We have limited time-


Danny Ryan:That helps justify my salary, so I’m cool with it. I’m very cool with that.


Tommy Ryan:All 30K of it.


Danny Ryan:Thanks for the raise, Tommy. All right.


Tommy Ryan:You’re welcome.


Danny Ryan:Awesome, that’s great. The thing that concerns me, sort of back to what concerns me, is the … I do this. We’re Ryans, so we … I want the stuff that, if we’ve already made the decision, if we’ve done something where we’ve worked on it, because heaven knows how many times I’ve tried to resolve the same problem over and over … is to make it in a place where we’re like, we’re taking version one and version two of how we’re handling website leads and not reinventing it every single time. That’s my concern, is losing some of that type of knowledge. This is where I go like, there almost should be … We have a knowledge base. Calling it almost like a … I feel like we should call it something different, like something. This is our operations Wiki. These are the things that, you know what, as long as ThreeWill is around, this is knowledge that we should have and we should be iterating on and getting better at. Then there’s other stuff that technology-wise, yeah, it’s going to change every single year. It just goes away.



Danny Ryan:


I’m trying to grapple with the things that are things that should be moving forward and that should be version two and version three as the company progresses. How do we not lose those things? I think that’s more of what my concern is.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. You don’t lose those things. I mean, like we have a sales process that we constantly refine and refine and refine. What’s happening each of those steps the pipeline. We have naming conventions. Those things, some of them maybe they shouldn’t be in One Note and be in Modern page, but at the end of the day, there needs to be time and energy to collaborate and raise awareness in pointing people back to it.



Danny Ryan:




Tommy Ryan:I see people naming estimations in five different conventions.



Danny Ryan:


Let’s not go down the naming conventions … We could be talking for two more hours.


Tommy Ryan:Yeah. Yeah, it’s like, well what do you do? You point people back to it. You continue to point people back to it, because people are busy and they don’t have time to go search and find things. It’s less is more. We’ve got to continue to say, these are the most important pieces of content that naturally everybody knows where it’s at, because we’re always talking about it.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. All right, we have got to run to go get to our sales standup.


Tommy Ryan:Our standup.


Danny Ryan:That’s it for today. Appreciate your time. It got a little heated. I like it when things get warmed up around here. Thank you everybody for listening. I’m sure there’s a lot of people grappling with this out there and would love to … If you are on the website, leave a comment at the bottom of the blog post there, if you guys are grappling with similar types of issues. We appreciate you guys taking the time to listen in on this. Have a wonderful day. Thanks again, bye bye.



Tommy Ryan:


Bye bye.


Additional Credits

Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

Danny RyanProject Cobbler Update – How ThreeWill Uses Microsoft 365

Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.