All M365 tenants need a process for reviewing the messages Microsoft posts to the M365 Message Center (MC) daily. For some companies, that means a weekly meeting in which the M365 service owners and other stakeholders review the MC posts that are new that week. In the case of my employer, that means a weekly meeting of people representing our Exchange Administration team, our SharePoint + OneDrive + Teams Administration team, our Desktop (Win 10, Win 11, & Mac) administration team, and our Cybersecurity team. We use the optional Planner Sync capability and primarily review the MC Posts in Planner, not in the MC directly. I lead the meeting and walk us through all the posts that are new since our last weekly meeting. We decide if each post needs to be assigned to someone or if it can be marked completed. On one hand, It’s a good way of creating group awareness of what’s changing. On the other hand, it’s not necessarily the best use of each person’s time listening to people discuss other workloads.
Everyone with an admin role that lets them see Message Center sees the same MC posts. Although you can filter MC posts in the MC by service, there is no concept of having a view that shows you only the MC posts for the service or function for which you are responsible.
Assigning MC posts to people in Planner is one way to address this. Doing that manually is time consuming and not usually a high value activity. Automating that assignment is possible, and can be done in Power Automate.
Let’s walk through an algorithm for automatically assigning Planner tasks that are MC posts.
- Get the list of (keyword, person, bucket) triples from a configuration store.
- This could be a SharePoint list or an Excel spreadsheet, for example.
- Get Planner Tasks from the Incoming Bucket
- Loop through the collection of Tasks. For each Task:
- Get the MC Post Title. This is what we will search for keywords.
- Iterate through the list of (keyword, person, bucket) triples.
- If the keyword is in the MC Post Tile, assign the Task to the Person and move the task to the Bucket.
That’s the psuedocode for the workflow. How do we make it work?
First, what configuration store should we use? The list of (keyword, person, bucket) triples is probably less than 100 items. I will arbitrarily choose to use a SharePoint list that will live in a site that we use for tenant operational support.
That SharePoint list will have a Title column. That title column can be renamed and repurposed to be the Keyword. We can add a User column (if getting the email from the user object is easy) or a text column (to just hold the email address) for the person and a text column for the Planner Bucket name.
The flow itself can start as an instant flow (during development) or a scheduled flow (during development and production).
Here are references for the connectors we need.
- Trigger: Run flows on a schedule in Power Automate – Power Automate | Microsoft Learn
- Planner: Planner – Connectors | Microsoft Learn . Note how the List Tasks action lists all the tasks in the plan but you only want the ones in your incoming bucket. The “Add assignees to a task” action takes a list of email addresses.
- SharePoint: SharePoint – Connectors | Microsoft Learn You may want to create a view in the list so you can use it to control which columns are returned when you use the Get Items action.
Now the task is to put that all together. If you have done that before, and have any experiences or flow templates to share, leave a comment below!
Read about an alternative approach to this problem in my next post, Can AI help with MC Planner Task Assignment?