The story of how a 45-minute job saved me at least 50 hours of work in the past 7 months.

The world has been consumed by the AI wave. AI-powered digital colleagues, AI to create art, AI to improve health care, etc. And you can counter-argue the negativity for each possibility. The list can feel endless.

However, the ground reality is that not all organisations have the capacity to adopt and implement AI. Challenges on safety, risk, and cost are difficult questions leaders must account for in their AI strategy.

But amidst all this, we need to effectively use the tech we already have with to gain massive benefits. And in some cases, the tech we have within our reach is something we already have paid for.

If you have a Microsoft Account at work, you are in for a treat!

I play a scrum master role for one of the projects at work. As a scrum master, I am responsible for ensuring that the scrum values and our team manifesto are upheld and that project delivery progresses as planned.

A challenge I face as a scrum master is building the culture, especially when it is a new concept or new team members have not been exposed to such work environments.

Consistent practices we follow every day help ingrain the culture we would design. It makes the job of a scrum master easier. The downside is that getting a team to follow the practices takes time. And time is a scarce resource when project timelines are tight. Now comes the challenge: how do you get a team to follow consistent practices without constantly reminding and distracting them from focusing on the increment?

For example

One of the core pillars of scrum is transparency. Transparency entails the team’s knowledge being accessible and in a format that helps with planning. As a team, we set up OneNote as our one source of truth. But as best practice, we took on the practice of noting down key points for every meeting within OneNote.

In the day-to-day buzz, it is distracting and time-consuming to create a page dedicated to a meeting and format it in a way that is consistent and easy to understand.

This was when I decided to use PowerAutomate within the Microsoft package we already possessed. With pre-made templates, it took me about 45 minutes to set it up. The PowerAutomate flow automatically creates a dedicated page for each page in a consistent and actionable template for the whole team. As an added bonus, a team message with the link gets sent before the meeting, so there is no hassle navigating around SharePoint or the desktop to find the location.

Doing that has saved me at least 50 hours in the past 7 months. Furthermore, I do not have the headache of remembering to create and do not need to remind people if they forget to stick to the practices foundational to our team culture.

And it is that simple.

AI has come to a state that would lead to tremendous societal changes. But whilst it comes to that level, there are such little hacks we can do, with technology that is easily accessible, to make massive improvements in life.

Note: And staying true to the agile concept, we constantly checked our culture. We did not get it right the first time. We still have not got it right. But what we are doing is making it better in every sprint.

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