Preferred Parterner Announcement

Engage Squared Recognised as “Microsoft Preferred Partner” for Business Applications

Microsoft Preferred Partner Microsoft SharePoint Business Apps Partner Program Charter Member PowerApps Flow SharePoint Microsoft Teams

Joins exclusive ranks as a “Charter Member” in the Microsoft 365 Business Applications Partner Program – one of just 37 companies worldwide and the only Australian consultancy to make the list.

Engage Squared is excited to be recognised for our innovative work with PowerApps, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Flow.

As a preferred partner, Engage Squared has access to Microsoft resources that will help us deliver even more effective digital workplace solutions to our customers. These resources include connections to Microsoft advisors, access to product roadmap information that informs the technology strategies underpinning our implementations, and exclusive technical knowledge bases.

We’re particularly excited by this program because it reinforces the value we see in Microsoft’s holistic approach to technology solutions – deploying the power of Microsoft 365 to achieve easy to implement automation, applications and knowledge management.

Seen from a product perspective, these three things map to Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and Power BI (which create the “Business Applications”, in Microsoft parlance) and SharePoint (which provides the knowledge management). When we combine these approaches into a single solution, rather than leaving them siloed within distinct projects, we can fuel transformative business change.

Case Study: ATO

Productivity soars as ATO wins back 55,000 hours a year with “Intranet Accelerator”

In the words of our CEO, Stephen Monk: “It’s gratifying to be recognised by Microsoft for our innovative work with business applications.

We believe when you make people’s work lives more enjoyable and productive, you make their organisation stronger and more effective. It’s extremely rewarding to work with Microsoft’s app technologies because they can solve so many different problems so quickly. 

We’ve helped our customers implement solutions ranging from a PowerApps engagement that saved more than three days of effort every week, to more holistic solutions streamlining a diverse range of business processes—such as front-line health and safety, procurement and the project management and delivery of portfolios worth billions of dollars. 

It’s exhilarating to be part of this program and to continue working closely with Microsoft in solving new business problems as they emerge. Having exclusive access to the Microsoft product team is particularly rewarding. 

“Combining powerful technologies to solve problems for people is why we’re here. It’s about bringing people and technology together.”

Case Study: Aboriginal Legal Service

Connecting and Empowering Community Legal Workers with Office 365 

“Our community teams now have a system that will radically improve their efficiency as they deliver services and work with Aboriginal community members in our 26 locations across NSW and ACT”
– Michael Higgins, Chief Operating Officer, Aboriginal Legal Service

Banner - UAT Testing

Doing UAT Right

Of all forms of testing, user acceptance testing is often the most essential to get right. Why? Because it saves you money. Too often I find organisations underprepared for the task of doing UAT properly and I believe this is largely due to the organisation not knowing the true impact of NOT doing UAT properly.

In 2017, IBM found the cost to fix a bug found after a build was 4 to 5 times higher1 than if the bug had been found in the design phase. More alarmingly, it was 100 times higher if the bug was found after deployment to production.

diagram cost of bug fixing over stages

4 Steps to getting UAT right

  1. Define your UAT team
    It’s important to avoid restricting your UAT team to project team members. The most important group to include in UAT testing is the “real” end users of your solution. And the key word here is ‘users’. This is crucial because they’re the people who will use the solution daily. Every persona and stakeholder group should be included, which means that people from each group should be selected to join the UAT team. Prepare that UAT team early and enable focused UAT to happen by booking in the UAT resources ahead of time. Consider booking time in your UAT team’s schedule to enable them to adequately perform UAT.
  2. Confirm test cases and acceptance criteria
    Agree upon user stories and their acceptance criteria during the design phase of your project. Each user story should cover a specific use case or scenario of the solution and therefore lends itself to being turned into test cases for your UAT. The test cases are normally a set of actions which the UAT team member can carry out to verify if the solution has worked as intended. The acceptance criteria define what is considered to be “working” in the solution.
  3. Develop a UAT plan Consider the following when writing your plan:
    • When will UAT start and finish?
      – It is important that a finite date is applied to the UAT period to avoid perpetual testing.
    • How will the test results be collected?
      – Write down how the communication between your project team and your UAT team will take place while testing. Doing this prevents the project team from the nightmare of receiving emails, word documents, spreadsheets, screenshots (or no screenshots) and endless discussions through email and other channels.
      – Collecting and managing bugs in a central repository will also mitigate the risk of duplication of bugs, as well as assist with the management of bugs through the correction and retesting process.
    • How will you label any bugs found (bugs, feature-requests, usability, training, etc.)
    • Who will triage the results?
      Remember: the triage process can bury you. Plan ahead and appoint someone to manage the triage and confirmation of defects.
  4. Conduct UAT
    Provide the UAT team with the list of test cases (as demonstrated in table1 below) as well as for instructions about how to log a bug well (i.e. the bugs should include the account used for testing, the device used for testing, screenshots, URLs, description of how to reproduce, etc.). Consider holding a UAT ‘briefing session’ to take the UAT team through what is expected of them throughout the UAT period.
    With the UAT plan in place and the UAT team readied for the task, the UAT can begin with the tests being performed and the results recorded. Were the tests successful, or did defects result? Any bugs raised then need to be triaged, confirmed as defects, corrected and re-tested.

    Table1 – Sample UAT test caseSample test case:
    As a user, I can see news on the home page
    ID Acceptance criteria description Pass/Fail/other Comments
    1234 Verify that you can see a news carousel on the homepage
    1234 Verify that the news carousel auto rotates
    1234 Verify that you can click on a news image and be taken to the news page
    1234 Verify that when you click on the navigation arrows in the carousel, the image displayed changes.
  5. Close and sign off UAT
    Once all testing is complete and all bugs are corrected, the project team should conduct a UAT closure meeting. During the meeting, you should look to tie up any loose ends, and formally close the testing period. Signing off or closing the UAT period means that you can move your solution into production.

Many development teams, including Engage Squared, apply an agile approach to projects with continuous integration and continuous testing. Agile’s incremental approach allows more feedback, flexibility, and of course testing, so that every time a feature, fix, or function is added or changed in the code it’s checked for bugs. In turn, we have found this helps avoid preventable bugs – ultimately saving time and money.

 


1 https://www.researchgate.net/figure/IBM-System-Science-Institute-Relative-Cost-of-Fixing-Defects_fig1_255965523

Office 365 Matter Center

Update to SharePoint Lists and Libraries

I thought it is important to let you know about an announcement Microsoft have made this month about changes to Office 365, particularly with SharePoint online.

 

“Starting April 1, 2019, it will no longer be possible to restrict an entire organization (tenant) to classic mode for lists and libraries.” (Announcement here)

 

What setting are they referring to?

If a SharePoint admin has selected that the default lists and libraries experience to be Classic for the tenant, this will no longer apply. Here is the setting in the SharePoint admin console:

SharePoint Admin Setting

What is the impact to the end user?

Any list or library that is currently being displayed to an end user using the classic experience as a result of this setting will switch to the modern experience:

 

Classic experience

Classic Library in SharePoint

Modern experience

Modern Library in SharePoint

 

Can I still restrict lists and libraries to the classic experience?

Yes you can, Microsoft have provided a number of tools to assist. You can still disable modern experience for specific site collections via a PowerShell script. This can be for a single site collection or for a list of site collections. List owners can use List Settings to configure that list to use the classic experience for all users. Users can still use the “return to classic” option on modern views of lists or libraries to temporary return to classic.

 

Microsoft has also provided a tool called the SharePoint Modernization scanner which identifies sites and lists that have customisations that are not supported by modern experience (all unsupported features of modern experience).  Although many of these lists will automatically remain in classic experience even after this change, you may wish to keep some sites running entirely in classic to avoid users switching between different experience modes within a single site.

 

If you have any questions please get in touch! help@engagesq.com 

SharePoint Framework

Automating deployment of SharePoint Framework App Package

Please note: that this approach uses Advance HTTP Operation pattern, which is not recommended by Microsoft, please read the disclaimer. However, in the time of writing this article there is no API or recommended approach, so it’s currently the only way to upload and automatically deploy a SPFx package.

You can find source code here

You can watch video here

The OOTB approach to add SPFx package to the tenant’s App Catalog.

All SharePoint Framework solutions deployed into a tenant must be approved by a user with full control permission set for the tenant’s App Catalog site via SharePoint UI.

This is done by uploading the SharePoint Framework package, the .sppkg file into the Apps for SharePoint library.

When a new solution is added to the library, the administrator receives a dialog popup requesting for consent to approve the solution tenancy wide. The dialog explains that this is a full trust client side code solution without any resource restrictions and that it executes under user’s context. The dialog also shows from what domain it will primarily get content, that is the CDN location of the SharePoint Framework scripts.

Once approved the SharePoint Framework solution can be enabled on any Site Collection within the tenant.