Loop for asynchronous work


There are more than a few tools in the Digital Workplace that boast “collaboration in real-time”, some do it well and some are catching up to competition in the market. With Hybrid and the new remote reality we have been in these last couple of years, working with colleagues in the same or different time zones, it is most often “asynchronous work” that gets work done in time and less stressful than sitting through meetings. Asynchronous, in short, is when work happens for different people on their own time. We need flexible tools to support that. How does Loop, the new application embedded in Teams chats facilitate asynchronous work?

Let’s take a look at the below two scenarios to illustrate the experience of working with Loop components for asynchronous work.

Scenario 1: a PowerApps development

Me in Sweden and colleagues, K and T (for anonymity, will call them K and T) in the US and Canada are working on designing and building a learning experience using PowerApps. Each one of us have a clear role to play — K is the Business requirement owner & approver, T is the content responsible and I am the PowerApp maker. We are jointly responsible for the learning experience and design of the solution. Between us we have some time difference obviously, I am 6 hours ahead of T and 7 hours ahead of K. The overlap time is a small window and that is usually around the time I am wrapping up for the day and they are starting their busy day. So we tend to have short meetings if needed and take the rest over persistent chat in Teams. But this approach does not work well for this scenario — designing an app, working through requirements & changes, testing & feedback, bug fix and retests, assets exchange and communication and so on.. Handling all this over a Teams chat becomes hard to keep up with and with the risk of missing information in a stream of chat messages. Constant messaging can cause anxiety and especially if working in different time zones, like in this case.

So, with the arrival of Loop this year, we Loopified it (moved the app requirements, changes, design change discussions, asset exchange for the app, from the Teams chat to the Loop) and the immediate improvements we saw:

  1. The Loop and therefore the content is editable from within the Teams chat, so no external app to go to.
  2. Was able to clearly structure daily tasks as /checklists and tick off completions.
  3. No additional training was needed on how to use checklists, paragraphs, copy paste images & PowerPoint files and add comments.
  4. Build, design and update progress tracked with the /Date command.
  5. Flexible way to structure requirements, illustrations for design, daily updates.
  6. Work at own time (asynchronous) and @mention to notify/call for attention.

a PowerApps development aided by Microsoft Loop
a PowerApps development aided by Microsoft Loop

Scenario 2: Authoring a blog article

Me and some colleagues are creating an article about “Stream on SharePoint” for a Digital tools blog on SharePoint. Each one has an agreed area of responsibility in making the article for the blog, making it a collaborative work. Working at our own time, we work asynchronously to create, update and review each other’s drafts using the Loop component in Teams.

We Loopified it and the immediate advantages we saw:

  1. Before Loop, we could use Word or OneNote for this, but that meant one level of separation from where the team conversation was.
  2. The other option could be that everyone edits the article draft directly on SharePoint, but a challenge with that is only person can edit a SharePoint page at a time, and everyone needs to know how to edit, save draft and exit so others can edit after. Often people tend to forget to release a page from editing mode and chances are some changes get lost.
  3. With Loop however, everyone can edit without the risk of locking it for others.
  4. Responsibility matrix and status tracked using the table in the Loop.

Microsoft Loop

The names of colleagues you see in this example are not real but are there to help illustrate the scenario.

Final thoughts

The USP of Loop is how easy it is to create a Loop document from within a Teams chat and not have to open a separate application for that. The simplicity in adding elements using the / key stroke, the fluidity in copying the Loop over to another Teams chat to extend the collaboration to more colleagues and the familiar file management method in OneDrive makes Loop a great and easy to use tool for asynchronous work.

and here are a few more ways to use Loop, go get Loopy!

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