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Best Practice Collaboration Identity Microsoft Teams Remote Meetings

Message of Doom (aka multi-tenant meeting troubles) in Teams

When creating a Teams meeting from Outlook you will, at some point, experience the “When the meeting starts, we’ll let people know you’re waiting” message of doom. Learn to avoid it here.

Teams is great. I love how much it does for me and the organisations I support, how it is central to a whole range of productivity activities, flexible enough to mould to different use cases, manageable and governable to deal with sophisticated deployments and compliance needs and simple enough to not overwhelm ‘ordinary’ users. So you know, having offered such high praise, there must surely be a ‘but’…

But

A few things in Teams remain shonky, even after 6 years of continuous (and largely impressive) development. Things like the Image Close button being positioned over the Leave Meeting button are irritating, as is the inability to quickly switch between identities on different tenants on the desktop client (even though you can do that on the mobile client). I’m sure Microsoft are working on them, alongside all the really clever new features. Nevertheless, sometimes it feels like the fixes need a bit more focus.

Gif, showing how the image close button overlays the Leave meeting button
Close or Leave

Do try this at home

So here is a fun one for you to try at home if you have more than one Teams and email identity (aka account):

  1. Open Microsoft Teams in the desktop client.
  2. Pop over to the Outlook desktop client and select a calendar that’s different to the account that you are logged into in Teams.
  3. Still in Outlook, use the New Teams Meeting button to create a new meeting. Give it a moment for the Teams meeting info to be added.
  4. Now guess which Teams account (identity) the meeting has been created for.
Multi-account calendar view in Outlook desktop client
Multi-account calendar view – pick the calendar you want to create a meeting for

If you guessed it is for the account that’s open in Teams, not the account you had selected in Outlook you get full marks and go the top of the class. For the rest of us, lets figure out what just happened.

As you can see in the screenshot, Outlook has correctly created a meeting invitation for the selected calendar (simon.hudson@kin-guesstherest.com). Unfortunately it asks Teams for the meeting information and Teams doesn’t know that it’s for a different account, it just provides what it has, which is my Novia Works account in the current case.

The calendar invitation is correctly added to the selected calendar in Outlook, so appears in the Kin-guesstherest.com Teams Calendar and not the Novia Works one.

Meeting invitation in Outlook, showing different calendar and Teams accounts
Meeting invitation with correct calendar but incorrect Teams account

Some time later…

The chances are that you didn’t notice that this happened, especially if your organisations haven’t set up branding for the meetings (I had done that for both of mine, which is why I spotted the awkward behaviour).

The “When the meeting starts, we’ll let people know you’re waiting” message of doom.

Some time later you see the meeting in your diary for the day. You wait for Outlook to pop up the 15 minute Reminder, snooze it several times until the last minute, then hastily switch accounts in Teams by logging out and in again (did I mention how  irksome that can be) just before your meeting, then click Join Meeting expecting a nice smooth entry to the session where you can impress your colleagues/clients/tech journalist with how switched on you are and how elegant Teams is. After all, it’s your meeting and you are launching it on your PC… to be faced by the “When the meeting starts, we’ll let people know you’re waiting” – the Message of Doom.

At this point feel free to:

  1. Panic, check your settings, confirm that you are logged into Teams with the same account as your calendar invitation.
  2. Check if actually someone else set the meeting up and you are waiting for them.
  3. Log out and back in.
  4. Call the other attendees and advise that you are having technical issues and you will be with them soon.
  5. Abandon the current meeting invitation and send a new one for quarter past the hour.
  6. Apologise, at the cost of another 5 minutes.

(These all taken from personal experience.)

Teams Meeting lobby showing “When the meeting starts, we’ll let people know you’re waiting” message
The “When the meeting starts, we’ll let people know you’re waiting” message of doom

The correct course of action is:

  1. Log out of the Teams client and log in with the other account, easily identified from the company logo you cleverly added to the Meeting Settings via the Teams Admin Centre months ago.
  2. Feel smug.

Actions and Consequences

So now you know and will prepare by doing the following:

  • Ensure that you have added a logo to your Teams meetings so that you recognise which tenant your meeting is trying to be in; use the Admin Centre: https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/meetings/settings.
    • You need the URL from a logo that’s hosted online somewhere. You may be able to use one on your website (add one to a page on the website if you have to) or use one stored in OneDrive. Or find you logo on Google! (I actually use Bing, but I’m in the minority).
  • Remember to be logged into the correct Teams client before creating a meeting invitation, or use the calendar in Teams to create your meeting.
  • Tell you staff to do the same if they also have multiple identity issues ❗

Final things. If you Quit Teams, Outlook will still use the last account you logged in with. If you log out completely it will refuse to let you create a meeting until you log in (which is fair enough).

By Simon

Simon Hudson is an entrepreneur, health sector specialist and founder of Cloud2 Ltd. and Kinata Ltd. and, most recently, Novia Works Ltd. He has an abiding, evangelical interest in information, knowledge management and has a lot to say on best practice use of Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and cloud technologies, the health sector, sustainability and more. He has had articles and editorials published in a variety of knowledge management, clinical benchmarking and health journals. He is a co-facilitator of the M365 North User Group Leeds and is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Hull.

Simon is passionate about rather too many things, including science, music (he writes and plays guitar & mandola), skiing, classic cars, technology and, by no means least, his family.

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