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Creating and Managing a Backlog using Microsoft 365 Apps

In the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time organizing and planning. Most of this time was spent on my personal life organization around the house, but contrary to my most recent blog posts, “Getting things done while working from home using Microsoft To Do!” and “Organizing life, while trapped at home during COVID-19.” I have also put a significant focus on organizing tasks at work. 

I want to walk you through how I’ve created a workflow for incoming requests for training videos using Microsoft Forms, automated notifications using Power Automate, into Microsoft Teams, and automated the tracking inside of Microsoft Planner. All of this accomplished with our existing licensing with an Office 365 E3 license.

Microsoft Forms

Let’s start with how we will use Microsoft Forms. My use case was a simple data capture tool that I could share with people inside my organization; we could expand this and make it available to anyone, but that wasn’t necessary for my target audience.

  1. Navigate to https://forms.microsoft.com
  2. Login using an Organization Account
  3. Click New Form
  4. Name it, in my example. I will name it Training Requests
  5. Give it an optional description. When I did this at work, I provided our training philosophy for our training videos. That way, it would help our audience understand what we would accept and develop.
  6. Click Add new and select Text
  7. Title question Proposed Topic
  8. Select option for Required
  9. Click Add new and select Text
  10. Select option for Long answer
  11. Click Share
  12. Click Copy

The link you copied will be the link you send to people you want to have send requests to you.

Now that you have created the Microsoft Form, you need to add it to the Microsoft (Office) 365 Group for the Microsoft Team you want to notify. We will not cover creating the group as I am assuming you already have one setup.

  1. Navigate to https://forms.microsoft.com
  2. On the Form you just created click the … in the top right of the Form
  3. Click Move
  4. Select the Microsoft (Office) 365 Group for your Microsoft Team
  5. Click Move

Microsoft Teams/Planner

I’ve combined the Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Planner section, because we will be creating the Microsoft Planner Plan through the Microsoft Teams interface.

  1. Open and login to Microsoft Teams
  2. Click Teams
  3. Select the Team you want to have the requests routed to
  4. (Optional) Create a channel for Incoming Requests
  5. Click the + (Add app) icon at the top of the channel
  6. Select Planner
  7. Give the Plan a name and click Save
  8. Rename and create buckets as you see fit. I use the following buckets
    1. Requested
    2. Script Development
    3. Recording
    4. Post-Production

Power Automate

Now we will bring it all together using Microsoft Power Automate. We will automatically Trigger the Flow when new items get submitted to the Form. We will post a message to a Teams Channel and add a Task to the Plan we created in Microsoft Teams.

  1. Navigate to https://flow.microsoft.com
  2. Login using an Organization Account
  3. Click + Create
  4. Click Automated flow
  5. Give the flow a descriptive name
  6. for Choose your flow’s trigger search for Microsoft Forms
  7. Click When a new response is submitted
  8. Click Create
  9. Since you moved the Form to a Microsoft 365 Group, it will not show up in the dropdown. You will need to get the Form Id manually.
  10. Login to https://forms.office.com
  11. Click Group forms
  12. Find the form you created earlier and click it.
  13. Look at the URL to find the FormId
    1. Ex: https://forms.office.com/Pages/DesignPage.aspx#FormId=mm7pT_FwhUGH6U47YYYYYY8otnoioudNozhEJ4HloBJUNEdEWElXWFVGS0hZNjU1Tjc4VFBXXXXXQlQCN0PWcu
  14. Copy the long string after FormId=
  15. Paste the string into your Flow
  16. Click + New step
  17. Search Forms
  18. Click Get response details
  19. Paste the FormId in
  20. For Response Id, select the Dynamic content for Response Id
  21. Click + New step
  22. Search Planner
  23. Click Create a task
  24. Select the Plan Id that you created earlier in Microsoft Teams
  25. For Title, select the Dynamic content for Proposed Topic
  26. For Bucket Id, Select Requested, or whatever you named your first bucket that you want requests to go to.
  27. For Start Date Time, select the Dynamic content for Submission time
  28. Click + New step
  29. Search Terminate
  30. Click Terminate
  31. Set Status to Succeeded
  32. Above the Terminate step click the icon between steps
  33. Click Add a parallel branch
  34. On the other leg of the branch search Post a message
  35. Click Post a message (V3) (preview) – note: depending on when you read this, it may no longer be in preview
  36. For Team, select the team you used earlier to create the Microsoft Planner Plan
  37. For Channel, select the Incoming Requests channel you created earlier, or the channel you wish to send notifications to for new requests.
  38. For Message, add Dynamic content from the Get response details section for Responders’ Email, then add text along the lines of “has submitted a training request for ” and add Dynamic content from the Get response details section for Proposed Topic.

Woohoo! That was a lot, but now when someone submits a topic proposal, it will kick off a flow that will do the following.

  1. Add task to planner about Proposed Topic
  2. Notify team in Microsoft Teams

Plus, you will be able to manage the requests throughout its entire lifecycle!

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