Categories
Microsoft Teams

Best Microsoft Teams timesheet apps

Using Microsoft Teams timesheet apps can reduce the hassle of doing timesheets. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best free and paid options available today.


Jibble (Free, paid upgrade plans)

The Jibble app consists of a chatbot that allows you to easily enter your timesheets by using a number of keywords such as IN (start time recording), OUT (end time recording) and TIMES (overview of weeks hours).

If you’re already using Jibble, then you’ll need to login and enable the Teams integration from the Jibble site first. Otherwise when you install the Teams app, you’ll be met with a blank conversation – we didn’t receive a welcome message until we sent ‘hi’, making it tricky to know what to do.

If you’re looking for a free timesheet tool, then Jibble is amongst the best available for Teams. However you won’t get access to all the features that the paid plans offer, and the app is a chatbot only – there’s no tab app available yet.


TrackingTime (free for 3 users, paid upgrade plans)

This is a tab app that is added to one of your existing Teams channels. Once added, a new ‘TrackingTime’ tab appears, and asks you to login.

From there you can easily add working hours against projects, view reports and breakdowns and more. There are also some basic project management features as well, making it useful for small agencies or businesses.

You can even use this app for absence tracking – so you might not even need one of the many absence and vacation tracking apps that are also available for Teams.

Available for free for up to 3 users, there are also paid plans available with additional features such as advanced timesheet reporting.


Klynke Time Management (Paid, free trial)

Klynke time management app for Microsoft Teams

This app allows your team to easily enter their work time and view timesheets from within the Teams application. It also integrates with other Microsoft 365 services, including Outlook, Calendar, SharePoint and Planner.

All timesheets are reported using a tab & web UI – there’s no bot integration with this app yet. It also stores all data within your own Office 365 tenant.

Once reported, timesheets can be viewed from the dashboard.

A word of caution though – we had issues trying to setup this app, with pages slow to respond. We couldn’t get it to install successfully – so your mileage may vary.

After the first month, pricing begins at $2.49 per month, per user.

Categories
Azure DevOps

Setup Azure DevOps organisational portfolio dashboards

Looking to setup Azure DevOps organisational dashboards? This is harder than it probably should be today. At present there’s no notion of cross-project widgets or organisational status views. There is a user feedback request, but it has been ‘under consideration’ for years.

In leu of that, here are some options for getting a view of how your teams are going across multiple projects.

Using PowerBI and OData

One option for creating your own reports and dashboards is to use OData support in PowerBI to import data via the Azure DevOps APIs.

While an option for the more technical-minded – at least initially during the setup phase – this is a great way to explore your DevOps data without paying a premium for a third-party solution if you already have PowerBI setup.

Cross-project queries

This is another more technical approach, but you can create queries under Azure Boards that allow you to query across multiple projects. This in turn allows you to build charts and dashboards using widgets.

With this approach though you’ll need to pick one project to host your cross-project dashboards – there’s no way to have an organisational dashboard as yet.

Portfolio overview

If you’re looking to get a view of how your portfolios are going across projects, then there is a free third-party tool available – Portfolio++.

You can upgrade to the paid PRO version to unlock additional program management functionality, but the free version allows you to create cross-project roadmaps, filter through epics and boards and more.

DevOpSmartBoard

If you need more than just cross-project portfolio management, then this plugin could be for you. It is a paid plugin (at the time of writing ~$40USD per year, per user) but it offers perhaps the most comprehensive out of the box cross-project reporting solution.

It supports organisational level reporting across boards, CI/CD pipelines and more. You can drill down into charts and even traceability reports.

If you’re after a more practical experience – ie. a developer who wants to see all pending pull requests across multiple projects, then this probably isn’t for you. But if you’re a program or portfolio manager, then there’s a lot to like here.

Categories
Microsoft Teams

Connect Twitter to Microsoft Teams

Looking for an easy way to integrate Twitter with Microsoft Teams? In this article, we’ll look at some options now that Microsoft has removed the Twitter connector.

Power Automate (Free tier, 1st party)

If you’re looking for a way to integrate Twitter without paying for a third-party tool and you’ve already got a Power Automate license, then this is your best bet. By using Power Automate, you can do things like:

Zapier

Similar to Power Automate, Zapier allows you to setup workflows to post messages on your behalf into channels in your Teams workspace.

In fact, the most popular Zapier Microsoft Teams/Twitter integration is that which posts messages into a channel containing a mention. You can also readily customise the workflows to suit your needs.

MailClark (Paid, 3rd party)

This app is available from App Source, and allows you to quickly connect multiple Twitter accounts to Teams and monitor them. You can be notified almost immediately when someone responds or tweets your accounts.

You can also use MailClark to quickly triage issues & ping the right people from your team to investigate customer enquiries faster. Pricing starts at $5 per active user, per month.

Twitter connector (now deprecated)

This connector used to allow you to connect Twitter and Teams directly, and was provided by Microsoft.

However, it has since been removed as Microsoft decided to no longer continue supporting and maintaining the connector.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Categories
Microsoft Teams

Best Microsoft Teams vacation calendar

Are you looking for an easy way to share your teams vacation calendar on Microsoft Teams? We’ve rounded up the best ways to do this for you.

Microsoft Shifts (free)

If you’re using a licensed version of Microsoft Teams (and not the free personal edition) then you’ll have access to Microsoft’s rostering app called Shifts. If you can’t see it in your ‘Apps’, check with your Office 365 administrator to ensure the app has been enabled in the Teams admin portal.

Within Shifts you can setup rosters that show when someone is available, on vacation or away ill. Amanda Sterner goes into more detail here about how you can best use Shifts for vacation tracking.

Vacation Tracker (paid)

Vacation Tracker is a third-party app available in the Microsoft Teams app store, but is designed to be a one-stop shop for managing vacations and leave requests.

It features a bot to help create leave requests, as well as a tab page to show leave calendars, leave statistics and more.

You can check it out here.

Leave Request by LTAPPs (paid)

This app is also a paid third-party app from App Source, but it too allows you to setup and manage leave requests and more. This one also has integration with SharePoint, with all data persisted in a SharePoint site.

Leave Request also supports email notifications, reporting, exporting to Excel and Word and more.

You can install the app here.

Channel Calendar app (free)

If you’re looking for a free alternative, and don’t have access to Shifts then using the in-built Channel Calendar app can be useful. While you don’t get the more advanced leave request tracking you get with the paid apps, you can use the free Calendar app to “book out” leave for people within your team. This can be done by creating a meeting during the time that an individual is away.

There are a couple of downsides to this app however. While the app shows as a tab in your channel, each event (or leave request) generates a Microsoft Teams meeting and also gets posted back to your Teams channel when created. The form for creating the event cannot be modified either, so those requesting leave will feel like they’re creating a new meeting.

Categories
Azure

Guide to Azure DevOps certification

Are you looking to become certified in Azure DevOps? If so, read on to find out more about what official Microsoft certifications are available.

The pathway to Azure DevOps certification

The first certification you’ll want to get is for Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900). This covers the basics about Azure, including generic cloud concepts as well as more targeted Azure information such as pricing and a high-level overview of available services.

Note that the content for Fundamentals changed on October 25, 2021 so you might want to check the skills measured list to ensure you’re still studying the right materials.

Once you’ve completed the Fundamentals course, you should target either the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) or Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) exam.

These will give you a solid understanding of core Azure services, and how to put in place best practice solutions to meet the needs of your organisation.

Finally you can undertake the DevOps Engineer Expert certification (AZ-400), which will entail both hands-on lab work as well as an exam. Note that the content for this course changes on November 30, 2021.

AZ-400 requires you to have completed either AZ-104 or AZ-204 before you can attempt the exam.

Conclusion

In summary, there’s a clear pathway to becoming a certified Azure DevOps engineer.

While it will take time, and a lot of hard work – now that Microsoft have role-based certifications in place it’s much easier to work out what exams you need to sit to be considered an expert in your field.

Categories
Azure

How to query multiple Azure Application Insights instances at once

Do you have multiple Azure Application Insights instances that you’d like to query at once? Perhaps you’re trying to see all errors across multiple environments, each with their own App Insights instance?

When using the Azure Portal, querying multiple instances is straightforward.

How to query across multiple App Insight instances

First, login to the Azure portal using your Microsoft work, school or personal account credentials.

Navigate to one of the App Insight instances you’d like to run a query against.

Then, in the sidebar scroll down until you see ‘Logs’. Click on this menu item.

Application Insights logging screen

You should now see the Application Insights query screen. From here, click ‘Select scope’.

Application Insights scope selector

A new modal will appear, allowing you to select multiple Application Insights instances to run your query against from through out your subscription and across multiple resource groups.

Once you’ve clicked the checkbox next to your selected Application Insights instances, click ‘Apply’ to close the modal and persist your selection.

Now type your query, and click ‘Run’. It will execute the request against all your selected scopes (in this case your Application Insights instances) and return the results.