Keeping it simple: S / M / L

small, medium, and large conversations

Now that Yammer has made the leap to rebrand as Viva Engage, and more of us are using it in the context of Microsoft Teams and Outlook, an even simpler model than all the ones previously designed becomes more obvious.

Especially in Teams, where I now have the Chat, Teams (channels), and Viva Engage apps right next to each other, it’s easy to see these as apps for each “size” of conversation.

Chat is best for either 1-1 or small groups, where the value of the messages maybe quite high, but only of limited time. Ever try finding something that was said in chat last month? That probably should’ve been shared in a channel…

Teams channels are best for communicating with my core team of up to 25 people. After that size, data from Microsoft partner Swoop shows that the effectiveness of the Team starts to diminish. Channels that include too many people end up diffusing the responsibility where no one feels like they need to be the one to answer questions or move a conversation forward. Work towards a deliverable needs clear accountability, and too many people in a team clouds accountability. What you likely are doing instead is hosting a community in Teams, when it should be moved to Viva Engage.

Very large conversations that span teams, departments, and geographies need different features to foster moderation, as well as transparency and inclusion to bring the bear the best thinking from people that may be unknown to the post’s author. That’s where Viva Engage shines: communities of people that don’t work together day-to-day, but share an interest or role.

So is it that simple? Small (chat), Medium (channels), and Large (community) conversations? Could seeing these three apps together help us stop asking the Which Tool When question because it becomes natural and obvious?

“What about email?” That’s perhaps a topic for another post. Let’s just say it would best if email wasn’t about conversations at all, for the most part.