Automatic check-ins in Microsoft Teams

As I was getting sick of all the meetings I had to participate in day in and day out, I wondered if there was a better way to reduce some of them. Some meetings are just there so that a bunch of people can talk to each other and discuss a topic. As I have a lot of issues with this kind of meetings and feel that they are mostly a waste of time, I started to search for a way to increase the information flow while decreasing the number of meetings. Microsoft Teams seemed like the right tool for the job, as we could work asynchronously and keep everyone informed about the progress of a specific topic. To encourage all team members to regularly write down what they were working on, I wanted to use automatic check-ins, as they are available in Basecamp. The steps I took:

  • Informed my colleagues that the specific meetings are canceled, and we are using check-ins instead.
  • Described what check-ins are and why they will help everyone.
  • Setup a Microsoft Power Automate flow, test, and scheduled it.

The flow is simple:

To start the flow, I use a scheduled trigger. The second step is the “Post a message (V3) (preview)” Teams action. Notifying people is done using @mentions, but the support in Power Automate is frustratingly limited. Mentioning a team or a channel is not possible at all (at least without using the HTTP connector, which requires a paid premium license) and the “official” way of using the “Get @mention token for a user (Preview)” is clunky when you need to mention multiple people. I worked around the issue by formatting the post I want to send via Teams and then switching to the HTML view:

The I added <at> and </at> around the mail address of the user I want to get mentioned:

Keep in mind that you will not be able to switch back from the HTML view once you changed something in the HTML code.

I repeated this step for all the colleagues that should get mentioned and wrote what questions they should answer with their check-in.

Now let’s see if this will help with reducing the number of meeting… If it works, then I will start to introduce this feature to other teams.

If you have a question or have ideas on how to reduce the number of meetings, leave a comment below!

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