Team Chats to have "Urgent" Feature

Microsoft just announced they are adding an “urgent” function to Team Chat during June and July. Since early adopting organizations are encouraging migration from the more manual, and less transparent, email and voicemail messages, this will be a great feature…so long as your change management plan includes coaching on what rises to the level of “urgent”.

From Microsoft:

“This feature allows a user to mark a chat message in Teams as “Urgent”. Unlike regular “important” messages, Urgent Messages (aka “priority notifications”) notify users repeatedly for a period of 20 minutes or until messages are picked up and read by the recipient, maximizing the likelihood that the message is picked up and acted upon in a timely manner.”

I especially like the repetitive nature of the notification. This seems contrary to the goal of reducing manual processing of information, but let’s face it…sometimes you really need someone to respond.

Many would argue that a phone call could serve the same purpose, but we all know that few people answer their phones these days (probably because phone calls are so intrusive). When the caller gets routed to a voicemail system, the resulting voicemail may wait for hours, if not days.

This new Teams urgent feature lets the recipient know that he/she needs to act asap. Voicemail cannot do that.

The downside is there are people who think everything is urgent. That is where change management and sustainable monitoring come into play. This is a powerful feature, but it can also be a distracting and annoying feature if end-users are not coached as needed.

Come to think of it, many of the problems of email over the past 30 years could have been avoided had there been a similar coaching program in place. (Reply-all anyone?)

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