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Microsoft partnered with Canviz to create a world-class, cloud-based, digital lean huddle process using Microsoft Teams, Office 365 APIs, and the BOT Framework. A huddle is part of the lean\six sigma process improvement strategy. It can be used in any industry, from healthcare, to manufacturing, to software development. The huddle process developed by Canviz and Microsoft was targeted at the Health Care industry.
What is a Huddle
Everyone in the hospital belongs to a huddle group. Huddle groups are usually 7-15 people who work in a common area or way. They meet once a week and describe and document any issues they are having in their work, things like: high infection rates, low supplies, or temperature issues. Then they assign each issue a metric; something to track how often the issue happens. Once a baseline is created, team members submit reasons to describe why the issue is happening and track those items to see if there is a pattern. Once a reason, or a few reasons are identified, team members create ideas to reduce the number of times the particular metrics and issues occur. Finally, the team works together to identify success goals.
1. Identify what is wrong
2. Measure it
3. Implement fixes
4. Measure again
5. Is it fixed - GREAT!
6. Is it not fixed - go back to step 3
This brainstorming, tracking, and self-improvement huddle meeting takes about 15 minutes each week.
How it was implemented
The huddle group team members are consistently thinking about how to improve in their everyday duties. The Huddle Solution allows for mobile and remote collaboration on every inefficiency the group members are facing at each part of their day. Using Microsoft teams as the central collaboration hub, Canviz build a mobile BOT that the huddle members can interact with throughout the day. The huddle group members use the BOT to record ideas to make specific metrics in their group improve. They can check schedules, track metrics, keep notes and share great ideas across the organization quickly and easily.
The Huddle BOT was built using the Microsoft BOT framework and the LUIS (Language and Understanding Service). It responds to a variety of inputs that are not perfectly matched and corrects for misspellings or slightly imprecise language from group members. At any time, on any device, the group members can ask the Huddle BOT what ideas are currently being implemented, record a new idea, or change teams.
Planning and Sharing Ideas
Using a Microsoft Planner instance embedded in a Microsoft Teams tab, ideas that were created with the Huddle BOT are stored and tracked in Planner under 4 buckets "New Ideas", "In Progress", "Completed" and "Shareable". The shareable ideas are something special. Shareable ideas are ideas that the group have come up with that they think improved their lives a lot, and they think that other people, in other groups, would benefit from implementing the same idea. In their Planner board, from the Microsoft Teams interface, they can move an idea they captured from the Huddle BOT to Planner and have that idea automatically moved to another team whose job is to analyze the idea and review to see if it would be worth implementing in other parts of the company. Out-of-the-box, Planner does not support this scenario, so Canviz used Azure Functions and the Microsoft Graph API, along with delegated permissions, to read the shareable column in each Teams instance occasionally and if an idea is found it will log it and move it to the appropriate Team for review.
Tracking the metrics, issues and reasons during the huddle meeting is incredible easy. Leveraging a custom web application, and\or a PowerApp, group members quickly add, track, delete, and associate issues, metrics, and reasons.
The web application is hosted in Azure and loaded into a Teams tab where the user can interact with it.
The PowerApp is also loaded into a Teams tab where users can interact with it.
The data that was created and collected by the team can be viewed in near real time ( < 2 hour lag time on metrics) in a PowerBI report. The PowerBI report is also embedded in to a Teams tab, making it just a click away from the input programs so that inputs and reporting live side by side.
All data is stored in a SharePoint team site. It is also very easy to use other data sources in other implementations.
Surface HUB integration
In the live pilot implementation of this solution in a large health care company a Surface HUB was used for one of the pilot huddle teams. The Surface and Teams integration allowed the Huddle Team to log into the Surface Hub and use the touch enabled features to navigate the whole solution and see the data in real-time to view what they are tracking and how they were doing.