It’s no secret that humans love lists. Lists are simple. Lists are everywhere. A bucket list, a grocery list or a to-do list in personal lives; and lists to track customer issues, software bugs or job candidates in our work lives. They scratch the itch our brains have for categorization and processing information. As a New Yorker journalist puts it – processing information in list form feels - “a bit like sipping green juice instead of munching on a bundle of kale”.
But lists themselves can become overwhelming especially when the number of items in the list and people collaborating on the list becomes larger – two things which are unavoidable in the modern workplace.
That is what was happening internally amongst the Teams engineering team, and we decided - as per usual - to scratch our own itch first and that is how this List Search app template was born.
The data in this list was uber-important to almost everyone – from PMs who would write feature specifications based on asks, to developers who would take the context and turn them into actual features, to finally ‘Customer PMs’ who would work with customers to ensure their rollout is successful and meets the needs of each customer. However, collaborating on individual list items was cumbersome.
Feedback came from everywhere and folks needed access to data quickly. Often, we’d see posts from people wanting to speak about a particular customer issue and having a discussion around it but getting stuck at knowing which folks to @mention in their post and we’d end up with so many posts like below, with much time spent finding the right information let alone acting on it.
That’s when listening to our own internal customers we decided to work on the List Search app template. What if all these people could self-help and get unblocked? What if, while writing a post about the customer issue, they could search and share the relevant information from within the context of the chat box itself? And that’s what we did.
So now, folks can get to the crux of the matter faster and have more productive conversations. After running a pilot internally we’re happy to bring this app template to you so you can also enable such experiences within your organization.
Finally, the beauty of this app template is that it is not restricted to bringing customer list data contextually into a chat context – it works with literally any business context put on a SharePoint list.
For example, each organization has its fair share of obscure acronyms that often trip even the veterans let alone new employees. While acronyms can’t be done away with, they can be made more accessible to everyone by re-skinning this ‘List Search’ app template to a ‘Glossary Search App’.