The Project Manager’s Guide to Planning a Perfect Project


Being a project manager (even here at Atidan) is a tough job. There are constant demands on your time, people to keep on track, pressure to do a certain amount of work in what often seems like an impossibly short amount of time and much more.

With the launch of Project 2016 from Microsoft, we are excited to expand our PMO offerings and are offering free trials and demonstrations. Contact us at for additional information.

Working as a project manager is also a necessary role that can bring extraordinary value to your company. In fact, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, more than 60 percent of project failures are linked to internal issues such as insufficient resources or missed deadlines—i.e., situations a project manager can help avoid. In addition, it’s a growing industry, as more and more companies realize the importance of solid project management.

Project Manager FI

Being a project manager is like being a juggler who spins several plates in the air at once—not easy. There are constant demands on your time, people to keep on track, pressure to do a certain amount of work in what often seems like an impossibly short amount of time and much more.

In addition, it’s a growing industry, as more and more companies realize the importance of solid project management. Specifically, a separate Project Management Institute study estimated nearly 16 million new project management positions will be created around the world between 2010 and 2020, and the industry will grow by $6.61 trillion.

All that said, managing projects is a huge responsibility, no matter who your employer is. Whether you’re an official project manager or simply leading a project, the following seven tips should help you get your bearings and set your project up for success.

Tip 1: Establish clear goals for the project

Take a look at the big picture and determine what you want to accomplish with this project. If a client or outside stakeholder is involved in the project, external sources will obviously help determine your goals. Overarching goals you should consider include:

  • Preventing scope creep, which means keeping the scope of the project from growing.
  • Staying within a given budget.
  • Completing all aspects of the project.
  • Providing quality work.
  • Completing work on time.
  • Securing the right resources in advance.

Tip 2: Set expectations up front

Everyone should be on the same page in order to guarantee a successful project. Clearly sharing your expectations as the project lead and asking others to communicate their own is an important step in setting up any project. These expectations should include specific ways your team can achieve the goals you’ve already established. In addition, you’ll want to include the following:

  • List of deliverables and due date.
  • Statement of scope.
  • Roles and responsibilities defined.
  • Q&A process.
  • Communication plan, including how often you plan to communicate with stakeholders/client.

Tip 3: Outline potential risks and how you’ll manage them if hazards arise

Let’s face it—even if you’ve planned everything to the minutest detail, the unexpected can still occur. So what’s a good project manager to do? Make a plan for the unexpected, of course! Obviously, you may not be able to predict the exact hazard that might befall your project—everything from bad weather to political unrest to technology flubs can occur – but it is still possible to lessen the potential impact of hazards through risk management.

Tip 4: Minimize the number of meetings

A study by Verizon Conferencing found that only 22 percent of meetings are considered “extremely productive” and 44 percent “very productive.” That leaves 34 percent of meetings as only somewhat or not at all productive. Obviously, meetings are a necessary part of project planning, but really consider whether a meeting is a best use of your time or if email or some other form of communication—like project planning software, which allows you to share files, assign tasks and exchange ideas without having to meet—can do the trick just as well. The more time spent in meetings means less time spent on actual deliverables. Consider that before sending yet another meeting invite.

Tip 5: Plan the perfect kickoff meeting

Speaking of meetings, the kickoff meeting sets the tone for the entire project. When planning this meeting, be sure to adhere to the following standards:

  • Invite the right people and ensure the key players can be in attendance.
  • Create a detailed agenda stating what the meeting will cover. This will help everyone stay on task and understand the meeting objective.
  • Determine if this can be an online meeting or if it needs to be held in person. This will be different depending on how large the project is, whether you’re working with a new client, the budget for the project, etc. Keep in mind that in-person meetings are usually more complicated to plan—and more expensive too, especially if they involve travel.
  • Reschedule if the key players can’t be there—there’s no point in holding a meeting without them. You’ll often have to hold another meeting to update them or get their input.
  • Before forming the agenda, be sure to understand the point of the meeting and what information people should walk away from the meeting knowing.

Tip 6: Pull reports throughout the project

The only way to know if your project is on track is to pull consistent reports. This can often be accomplished through your project management software program. Reports help you measure the efficiency of your resource allocation and make sure you’re on track to reach your budget goals and deadlines.

Tip 7: Get the right tools

While there are many project management tools on the market, not all are created equal. Decide what you really need and compare the products that interest you. At the very least, be sure to choose a tool that allows you to do the following:

  • Organize and link tasks to create timelines and plans.
  • Share insights that help you better communicate progress.
  • Quickly understand how to use the interface.
  • Customize your plan to fit your team’s needs.

Even though being an amazing project manager is difficult, it’s still doable. You simply need the skills, know-how and appropriate tools to get the job done and achieve the right results.

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Microsoft Project 2016 Launched – Manage Your Resources


Atidan is excited to announce availability of Project 2016. This release includes significant updates to Project Professional, Project Pro for Office 365 and Project Online. Project 2016 delivers on some of the most requested capabilities: Resource Management and Resource Capacity Planning. Supporting these key capabilities are enhancements such as new Resource Engagements, a brand new experience for resource managers, and Capacity heat maps. Project 2016 now provides an end-to-end experience for managing and optimizing your resource utilization.

In addition to resource management, there are a host of improvements and new features to help you be more productive with Project, such as improved timelines, Tell Me integration and full support for Office Add-ins.

Contact us at for a demonstration!

Resource Engagements

For project managers, securing resources to ensure your project is properly staffed has always been a challenge. With Project 2016, it’s now possible to systematically request a resource, and once approved, lock that resource to guarantee it’s available.

Creating an engagement and submitting it for approval sets off a simple workflow that enables the resource manager to approve or reject the request.

The project manager will always have an up-to-date view of the status of their requests from within Project Professional 2016 or Project Pro for Office 365. Once a locked resource is assigned to a project for a duration of time, managers of other projects will get notified if they try to overbook a resource.

The resource manager experience

The resource manager (or line manager) is a people manager who may not want to use the full Project client. To allow the resource manager to collaborate with the project manager, Project Online now has an area for the resource manager to view and approve or reject all proposed resource contracts. In addition, the new resource views allow the manager to understand the capacity utilization of their resources at a quick glance.

Resource Capacity heat maps

Ensuring that the resources are well utilized and productive is a key strategic need for any company. Project 2016 introduces the Capacity heat maps and a brand new set of intuitive reports to enable at-a-glance visualization of resource utilization. Both under- and over-utilization of resources can be problematic, and both can be seen quickly with the new heat map.


Communicating the project schedule is a critical part of any project manager’s job. But for many audiences, a Gantt chart isn’t the best way to visualize the schedule. More than ever, a timeline is the best way to communicate how a project’s lifecycle lays out. With this in mind, we have overhauled the Timeline feature to include multiple timelines, each with different start and end dates, representing a user-defined set of tasks and milestones.

There are several rich features in the new Timeline visualization, including:

  • Independent start and end dates for each timeline.
  • Drag and drop between different timelines.
  • Save to PowerPoint with editable objects.

Tell Me

With so many features in Project 2016, wouldn’t it be great if you could just ask where a certain feature was, instead of having to hunt for it? With Tell Me, you can do just that. Better yet, the answer that Tell Me provides is a live button, so you just have to click the answer and it will do as you ask. It’s a huge time saver.

new in Project 2016 6

Read/Write Office Add-ins

Office Add-ins are extensions that you can download from the Office store that add functionality to Project. This means that Microsoft and its partners can continuously and easily deliver new features so you can customize Project to your tastes. With Project 2016 release, Office Add-ins now have full Read/Write access to the project you are working on, providing richer extensions than have ever been possible.

new in Project 2016 7


Project 2016 is immediately available online as part of Office 365. The new service side features, such as Capacity heat maps, are being rolled out into Project Pro for Office 365 and Project Online right now. When you choose to activate these features, we will automatically upgrade all of your existing Resource Plans to Engagements. The new resource management features will be available to on-premises customers in the spring of 2016 when Project Server 2016 is released.

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Microsoft Visio 2016 Launched – Work Visually


Atidan is pleased to offer the new Visio 2016, the industry-leading diagramming solution used by over 12 million users. Contact us for a free trial.

Visio 2016 makes it easier for everyone to define business processes, document best practices, visualize the future state of transformative initiatives and stay on top of operational insights. Using Office 365, you can share these Visio diagrams with everyone and communicate one version of the truth to drive organization-wide alignment.

Visio 2016 offers starter diagrams, hundreds of smart shapes, one-step data linking, Information Rights Management (IRM) for compliance and so much more. Working visually is now faster and easier than ever.

Get started quickly

When starting out, the new Visio offers a set of pre-crafted starter diagrams and contextual tips and tricks to help you easily create, edit and complete your diagram.

These quickly executable diagrams are available in 15 of the most popular domains (flowcharts, timelines, workflows, etc.) and will inspire and guide you from start to finish.

The new built-in Tell Me support helps you navigate more than 800 commands in Visio. Just ask Visio how to do something and the relevant commands are displayed in a simple drop-down list. You can execute the command just by clicking one of the options listed. Now even new users can leverage the full capabilities of Visio.

Be productive and compliant

Visio offers thousands of shapes that meet industry standards, including BPMN 2.0, UML 2.4 and IEEE (new). Whether you want to map out an IT network, build an org chart, document a business process, draw a modern floor plan or capture a flowchart from a whiteboard, the new Visio can help you work visually and stay compliant.

Here are some examples:

The new visio is here 3

One-stop process modeling.

The new visio is here 4 - cropped

Updated office layout template with modern style.

The new visio is here 5

IEEE-compliant electrical diagram.

Easily connect data to diagrams

With Visio, you can link diagrams to popular data sources such as Excel, Active Directory, SharePoint and SQL Server to display data on top of real-world visuals. For example, you could depict an assembly line in Visio and connect different components of that diagram to real-time operational data. Data-linked diagrams can update automatically and will display different icons, symbols and colors to reflect changes in the underlying data.

The Visio 2016 Quick Import capability now makes it easy for anyone to link data to real-world diagrams, plans and processes. With a single click, the new Visio can automatically identify the data source, import the data, link that data to shapes and apply data graphics. With one-step data linking, you can easily turn diagrams into dashboards and monitor progress or performance in real time.

Visio 2016 also makes it easy to swap out the graphics to your preference with a single click and make your data easily digestible.

Collaborate with confidence

More than ever before, our day-to-day work involves collaborating with others. This means sensitive information within diagrams requires new levels of protection. Visio 2016 now supports Information Rights Management (IRM) and lets you control document rights at the individual user level.

With Visio 2016 you can work visually, leverage data and protect sensitive information like never before. Experience the new Visio for yourself by starting your trial of Visio Pro by contacting the Atidan team at

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ExpressRoute for Office 365 Now Available for Secure and Fast Cloud Connections


Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is now available for Office 365 in addition to pure Azure Cloud deployments. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet.

This direct connection offers you more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy. As more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration (SharePoint/OneDrive/PowerBI) and communications (Skype – Video and Voice), they will come to depend more and more on the network connectivity they have between their users and Office 365. Pricing is based on port speed and starts at $300/month for unlimited data (metered data plans also available), including two redundant connections.

As always, the Atidan team is available to assist with Azure and Office 365 solutions and security.

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 - Atidan

Express Route Partners and Peering Locations

Case Study from Microsoft

Today we’re pleased to announce that Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

  • British Telecom
  • Equinix
  • Tata Communications
  • TeleCity Group
  • Verizon

Connecting your network to Office 365 using Azure ExpressRoute

Depending on your network configuration, here’s how you can work with network operators offering ExpressRoute for Office 365 to establish a connection between your network and Office 365:

  • If your organization already uses Azure ExpressRoute, your network operator can simply turn on the connectivity for you. Since use of Office 365 generates additional network traffic, you should discuss the requirements for additional bandwidth with your network operator.
  • Organizations using IP VPN technology for a WAN provided by a network operator can ask the network operator to add Office 365 as a node on your WAN. Once Office 365 connectivity is added, Office 365 services appear as if they are on your WAN—like an offsite datacenter.
  • ExpressRoute can also support large or point-to-point network connections. If you have a large broad network, then you may already have a network connection in a co-location facility where Azure ExpressRoute is available. You should work with your network provider to identify the best way to connect to Azure ExpressRoute.

For more information, read about ExpressRoute for Office 365 here and watch this episode of Office Mechanics:

Frequently asked questions

  1. Where in the world is ExpressRoute for Office 365 available?
  2. Your users can connect from anywhere in the world that your network operator provides access. Each network operator connects to the Microsoft network at specific locations. They can provide networking from the user location to the Microsoft network connection. You should discuss the options with your network operator. The locations where they will connect to Microsoft’s network are listed here.
  3. How do organizations purchase ExpressRoute for Office 365?
  4. Organizations interested in purchasing ExpressRoute for Office 365 should have an Azure subscription and should discuss details of the connectivity with an Azure ExpressRoute partner.
  5. Are there any Office 365 services that Azure ExpressRoute cannot provide a connection to?
  6. Today connectivity is available for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Azure Active Directory, Office 365 Video, Power BI, Delve and Project Online. Services that ExpressRoute does not provide connectivity to include download of Office 365 ProPlus installation files, Yammer, Domain Name Service and Content Delivery Network servers.
  7. Is QoS supported on Azure ExpressRoute?
  8. Yes. QoS is supported for Skype for Business Online over Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.
  9. Does Microsoft provide tools to test for network performance issues?
  10. Yes. We have the Office Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA), which was recently updated to add a number of new performance test metrics. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 may be a solution to network performance problems experienced by users. OCPA can be downloaded from the Office 365 admin console here.

Introducing Office 2016 – Takes the Work Out of Working Together

Atidan is pleased to announce the availability of Office 2016! Contact us for a free trial and no obligation briefing and demonstration.

The New Microsoft Office 2016 Video

Office 2016 Product Guide

The new Office—takes the work out of working together

Check out additional resources on our SlideShare site here

The new office is here 1 v2

Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating. It shouldn’t have to be. We set out to make working together easier and more impactful by building a suite of integrated apps and services that removes barriers and empowers teams to do and achieve more.

Office has always been the go-to tool for helping individuals do their best work—whether for professional documents, powerful analyses or school presentations. People often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussion—in person, by phone or via various tools—as well as multiple (sometimes conflicting) inputs. Today we are delivering a set of experiences that is built for making teamwork seamless.

  • We have had real-time co-authoring in all of our web apps since 2013. We are now taking it to the next level by building it directly into our native apps. With this release, we’re making co-authoring in Word real-time, which lets you see what others are writing immediately, as it happens. We’re committed to expanding real-time co-authoring to each of our native apps and you should expect to see more over time.
  • Skype for Business is now available in the client apps, allowing you to IM, screen share, talk or video chat right in your docs. This same experience will be coming to Office Online later this fall. Skype for Business also has faster screen sharing and now adds the option to start a real-time co-authoring session from any conversation or meeting.
  • Keep teams connected with Office 365 Groups, now available as part of Outlook 2016 and in a new Outlook Groups app on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Office 365 Groups allows individuals to easily create public or private teams. Each group includes a shared inbox, calendar, cloud storage for group files, and a shared OneNote notebook to keep the team productive.
  • Office 365 Planner helps teams organize their work, with the ability to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, set due dates and update status. Planner’s visual dashboards and email notifications help keep everyone informed on the overall progress of their initiative. Planner will be available in preview, to Office 365 First Release customers, starting next quarter.
  • Originally unveiled earlier this year, GigJam is today available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016. GigJam is an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people.

Works for you

Excel 2016 - New Sunburst Chart

In today’s workplace, we have too many apps, devices and tools—we just don’t have enough time. Office is built to cut through the complexity and help you get things done quickly. It gets work done for you.

Some highlights:

  • Outlook 2016 provides the smartest inbox yet, delivering lightning fast search, removing low priority mail automatically and making sure everyone on the To: line has the right access to modern, cloud-based attachments from OneDrive.
  • We also have significant new updates to OneDrive for Business coming later this month across sync, browser, mobile, IT control and developer experiences. The highlight is the preview of the next generation sync client for Windows and Mac, offering improved reliability and selective sync, as well as increased file size and volume limits.
  • Tell Me helps you easily and quickly find the right Office feature or command, and Smart Lookup brings insights from the web right into your documents. Previously available only in Office Online, Tell Me and Smart Lookup are now available across the Office 2016 client apps.
  • Excel 2016 now includes integrated publishing to Power BI and new modern chart-types to help you make the most of your data.
  • The cloud-powered most recently used documents list allows you to pick up right where you left off in seconds, because it travels with you across your devices whether working in Office Online, the mobile apps or in the 2016 client apps.

Perfect with Windows 10

Office Mobile Apps

While we have made a lot of progress on delivering Office cross-platform and remain committed to this strategy, we see Windows as being “home” for Office. Together, Office 365 and Windows 10 are the most complete solution for getting things done.

  • With Windows Hello, you can sign in to your PC and Office 365 with a simple look or a touch—no need to type a password anymore.
  • In the coming months, Cortana will get even smarter and more useful by gathering intelligence on Office 365 through Outlook 2016 support.
  • With the Office Mobile apps and Continuum on Windows phones, your phone can act as a desktop, and you can project, create or edit your presentation or sales budget from your phone to a monitor while using the same phone to take notes with the OneNote app.
  • Sway on Windows 10 was released in early August, and customers love it! It has received a 4.6/5 app store ranking, with customers calling it “funtastic,” “brilliant” and “elegant.” People love Sway’s simple and intuitive yet powerful approach to next-generation digital storytelling. With Sway, you provide the content, and Sway creates beautiful, shareable, interactive stories that look great on any screen.
  • Our Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) have also received great reception and 4+ app store rankings. Customers say they are touch-friendly, fast and easy to use—making them wonderful for on-the-go-productivity.

For the enterprise

Office 2016 apps with Office 365 provide the most secure Office yet. We are adding built-in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to significantly reduce the risk of leaking sensitive data by giving IT admins tools to centrally create, manage and enforce policies for content authoring and document sharing. Multifactor Authentication ensures secure access to content anywhere when employees are away from the corporate network. We are also adding Information Rights Management to Visio. Then, later this year, we will be enabling Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) in Windows 10, with support in Office Mobile, which allows more secure corporate content sharing across corporate managed apps and network/cloud locations, preventing inadvertent content sharing outside corporate boundaries. We will be following up with EDP for Office on Windows desktop in early 2016.

Some of our favorite enterprise apps—Visio and Project—have been updated as well. With Visio 2016, customers can get started quickly with diagramming using starter diagrams and contextual tips. Bringing process models, manufacturing plant or IT architecture to life is now only one step away. With Project 2016, customers can streamline resource engagement processes, manage resource pools through visual heat maps, benefit from multiple timelines, and create custom experiences in Project desktop through write-back capabilities for add-ins.

We are also making deployment easier and have a lot of other new capabilities to help IT professionals, as announced in our blog to IT admins two weeks ago.

Office 2016 for Mac

The new office is here 4 v2

In July, we released Office 2016 for Mac to our Office 365 customers. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote are a significant step forward and provide the best of both worlds for Mac users—a familiar Office experience paired with the best of the Mac platform. The level of engagement and excitement about this Office for Mac release has surpassed our expectations. As promised in July, today Office 2016 for Mac will also be available as a one-time purchase.

Ongoing Office 365 customer value

Whew—that was a lot! With this release, we’re also shifting the cadence of Office on Windows to feel much more like the cadence we have on the Office mobile and web apps, which release every month with new value. So, going forward, Office 365 customers will now enjoy new features and capabilities delivered continuously in the Office desktop applications as part of their subscription. It’s a new day for our desktop apps.

And as a bit of a teaser, here are some examples of the types of new features and benefits Office 365 customers will see:

  • Built for teamwork—We’re committed to rich co-authoring and collaboration across our native clients, starting in Word 2016, with other big advances in collaboration coming throughout the year. By the end of 2015, we’ll introduce Office 365 Groups insights and discovery in Office Delve. In addition, we will have a new generation of personal work analytics in Office Delve that will help individuals, teams and organizations to be more effective at work by understanding their reach and impact, time allocation and network.
  • Works for you—For those of you who are excited about our new charts and forecasting, we will be delivering even more new charts, formulas, connectors and other Excel capabilities throughout the year. (If you’re interested in telling us which charts and charting features you’d like to see first, we have a survey going on our Excel Facebook page right now!). We also have some very exciting developments in the pipeline for PowerPoint that will make it easier to design and deliver presentations to wow and engage your audience.
  • Perfect on Windows 10—We are especially excited about how even more valuable your personal assistant Cortana can be when she has insights from Office. This will start to allow Cortana to unlock helpful scenarios, like retrieving your documents, preparing for meetings and more.

Get started

  • Are you ready to purchase? Buy Office 365 to get the new 2016 apps – contact us at
  • Are you an existing Office 365 customer who is ready to upgrade? Go here for instructions on how to upgrade to Office 2016 for home, or here for business customers.
  • Do you want to learn more? Go to

Credit for this blog content is from Microsoft blog

Video Conferencing for Startups and Small Businesses—10 Hacks to Maximize their Value


Whether you operate a startup on a shoestring budget or have a successful small business, chances are good that you’re always looking for ways to save money, maximize your investments and get your clients, customers and your team excited about what you do. In order to do that, sometimes meeting face to face is necessary—but it can also be cost prohibitive. Between trains, flights and/or the cost of driving a car, plus the actual time you’ll spend traveling (which can be pretty unproductive even when you have the luxury of being able to work on the go), sometimes the benefits of seeing a client in-person just don’t add up.

That’s where video conferencing comes in. It gives you the power to bring everyone together—without the cost of a plane ticket. That said, video conferencing can have its pitfalls and problems, but with a few quick tips you can avoid some of the bumps in the road and get even more from your system.

  • Video conferencing for startups and small businessesGet comfortable with the camera—Looking good in front of the camera isn’t just a matter of putting on a suit and coiffing your hair, so take some time before your debut to practice your camera skills. For instance, learn to concentrate on the camera instead of the screen, slow down your movements, stop nervously picking at your nails, and learn to smile. After all, your clients will see everything that you’re doing, and you don’t want to distract them from your message.
  • Work on your presentation voice—No one likes being shouted at or wants to struggle to hear what you’re saying. So before video conferencing with your clients, test out your mic and figure out how moving around a room changes what people hear. Try speaking softly, loudly and somewhere in between, and ask a co-worker, friend or family member to weigh in on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sound.
  • Check your settings—As you work on your on-camera mannerisms and presentation voice, don’t forget that you can improve both the way you look and sound by making a few quick adjustments to your webcam’s video settings. With the ability to tweak brightness, exposure, color, white balance and microphone volume, among other things, you can deliver a performance that’s as close to perfect as possible.
  • Location, location, location—Even if you work in an environment that’s all about the hustle, you should seek out a quiet place where background movements won’t distract attendees from your message. As an added bonus, with less motion in the background, your video will also look smoother.
  • Update your technology—With every new iteration of video conferencing technology that comes out, the quality of your experience will improve—either though ease of use, video quality or another factor. By simply updating the version of the technology you’re using, you can get a better conferencing experience. (The good news is that updates are usually included with your technology, so it’s just a matter of clicking a button.)
  • Get wired—For smoother, more consistent audio and video, try to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. In a pinch Wi-Fi will do, but it often results in more lag time and interference, which can reduce the quality of your audio and video, frustrate guests and give you a somewhat less than professional look.
  • Check your bandwidth—Depending on the type of video conferencing you want to do, you may need to increase your bandwidth to get the upload/download speeds you need for a quality experience. Although these numbers are subject to change and may depend on the video conferencing service you use, you can consider these numbers (shown as upload/download) the absolute minimums you should aim for:
    • Video calling with screen sharing: 128kpbs / 128kpbs
    • High-quality video calling: 400kpbs / 400kpbs
    • HD video calling: 1.2Mpbs / 1.2Mpbs
    • 3-person video calling: 512kpbs / 128kpbs
    • 5-person video calling: 2Mpbs / 128kpbs
    • 7-person (or more) video calling: 4Mpbs / 128kpbs
  • Connect early—The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially if you’re conferencing with clients. After all, you don’t want to waste your client’s time and look like a novice by fumbling around with your technology in the process.
  • Encourage interactivity—People are often hesitant to share what’s on their minds when they feel they’ve been put on the spot, but the point of video conferencing is to simulate an in-person meeting experience, which is typically full of questions, comments and asides—all of which can be important to building trust, understanding and creating lasting relationships. In order to encourage this type of banter, let everyone know that they’re free to ask questions at any time. Then, if there’s an opportunity to engage someone in the conversation naturally—just as you would if you were in a room together—do so.
  • Record your meetings—The best way to improve your meeting skills is to see how they read from the other side of the camera. When possible, record both the audio and video of your meetings and evaluate them in the same way that a football team would go over their plays the day after a big game.

Finally, don’t forget to send a follow-up email. Just as with any other meeting, don’t assume that clients will take notes or even fully grasp the information and concepts addressed in a meeting. In order to hedge your bets, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and provide them with a follow-up message containing the salient points of the discussion and an outline of any next steps, expectations or responsibilities. This way, everyone will have seen and heard the information, and participants have something concrete that they can refer back to. It’s a win-win that costs little in terms of time, and allows you to stay in front of your team and clients long after the meeting has ended.

Contact the Atidan team for additional information about Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business

Content from Microsoft

Yammer for Teams – Upcoming Enhancements Review

Open collaboration and teamwork is why Yammer has become so popular. Atidan is excited to support our clients with the upcoming next generation of Yammer as part of the Office 365 suite. A fresh new look and feel is coming soon to assist users to focus on their individual tasks and teams. Yammer’s default experience has been the home feeds which were intended for broad network-wide sharing. Now, to encourage better teamwork and user empowerment, Groups are getting a major refresh including:

  • Discovery feed—updating the current home feed experience to focus on group updates and discovery. The renamed Discovery feed surfaces conversations you’re missing out on from relevant groups and enables you to stay connected to the most interesting content from other teams across your company. Updates in the Discovery feed clearly identify which groups the conversations come from and give you the ability to quickly navigate to and join the groups you’re not already a member of straight from the feed.
  • Real-time group activity—giving you better peripheral vision into your groups no matter where you are in Yammer. Real-time indicators in the left-hand navigation pane call your attention to group activity as it happens, alerting you to all your currently active groups and teammates.

Optimizing Yammer for teams 1

The Discovery feed surfaces group conversations you’re missing out on and makes it easy for you to navigate to and join groups from the feed. Group activity shows up in real time in the left-hand navigation pane.

  • Immersive group experience—Because Yammer groups serve as a home base for teams, we’re giving them a greater sense of place and making them more engaging with a full-width header, a cleaner look to focus your attention on high impact activity and content, and a wider feed for your team conversations.
  • Next Group notification—Getting through the most important updates in your groups quickly is key when you’re juggling multiple projects. When you’re done viewing the new conversations in each group, a banner appears prompting you navigate to your next group, so you can get through your projects faster.

Optimizing Yammer for teams 2

Groups have a greater sense of place and are more engaging. The Next Group notification prompts you to move on after you’ve viewed the new conversations in a group.

Taking major steps to reorient Yammer’s mobile apps around groups to meet the needs of fast-moving teams. Over the coming months, you’ll see significant changes to your mobile experience, including a better way to get through your group content and new capabilities that boost mobile team collaboration.

  • Group Updates feed—The Group Updates feed provides a simple workflow through relevant content in your groups, so you can catch up on urgent conversations and discover what others are working on. You can navigate easily between the feed and your groups, as well as join groups you’re not already a part of from the feed itself. The Group Updates feed will come to Android first with iOS following shortly after.

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The Group Updates feed provides a simple workflow on mobile, enabling you to quickly catch up on your groups and easily navigate between the feed and your groups.

  • Yammer for Apple Watch—As announced last week, Yammer for Apple Watch provides instant notification of your conversations and activities at a glance and lets you take quick action, so you have fewer to-dos at the end of the day. It’s a great companion app for the Yammer mobile and web experiences.
  • Powerful new photo-sharing and markup—Translate images into action with the ability to attach multiple images at once and even mark up the parts of the images you want to call out with your finger to help others see what you see.

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Translate images into action by marking up photos with your finger and sharing them with your team.

  • Attach files from external file storage services—Yammer’s mobile apps let you find and attach all your files, including those stored on external services such as OneDrive and Dropbox, as well as files stored in Yammer and on your mobile device.
  • Inline at-mentioning—Bringing others into the conversation has never been easier with inline at-mentioning now available on mobile. Yammer’s type-ahead functionality suggests people and groups to address while you compose your message, removing the need to at-mention them separately.
  • Search and invite coworkers by email—Finding your coworkers on Yammer is possible, even if they haven’t started using Yammer yet. Searching by name or email enables you to find existing members and invite new members to join Yammer from your Yammer mobile app.

All of these experiences take place against a backdrop of continual improvements in Yammer, such as a new responsive design optimized for larger screen sizes and faster performance on web and mobile.

Stay tuned for even more enhancements through the end of 2015 and into 2016. Please contact the Atidan team at for information and a free trial experience.

Credit to the Microsoft Office team blog: