Microsoft is launching a new Teams feature that may drive some people mad

One can understand the thinking behind this -- I think. But, as with so many elements in technology, has it been fully thought through?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

If you've ever asked yourself, "What is Microsoft thinking?" in a slightly disturbed tone, there's a way to preempt your question.

Drift to the Microsoft 365 roadmap, and you can observe what's just around the corner.

And what's around the corner right now may shiver your timbers.

Here, you see, is something entitled: "Microsoft Viva: Praise History in Microsoft Viva Insights."

Perhaps, like me, you praise history all the time. You thank it for trying to teach us things that we happily ignore.

This Teams update, to be rolled out in November, teaches us something few employees will be able to ignore.

Should you have never appraised the Praise app, it exists -- in Microsoft's words -- "to help recognize the effort that goes into the wide-ranging, collaborative work that Teams users do."

You might think an app isn't necessary for that. A quick email, text or -- strange concept this -- a personal conveyance of thanks might do the trick.

But this is 2021, and we're all app-happy. Yet Microsoft wants employees to "send Praise to their colleagues through the messaging extension pinned to the Teams messaging bar for most users or through the Microsoft Viva Insights app in Teams."

Because it's, what, easier? Or more so, um, meaningful?

I'm not here to bury or praise Praise. I am here to tell you that this sparkling new update will lean heavily on history.

"With Praise history, users will be able to view their sent and received praise over the past six months," says Redmond.

Oh, the delicious possibilities.

It's bad enough when people sink to Instagram to see how many likes their latest picture of a pose, a sweater or a wine bottle enjoyed.

Please imagine that now employees will have a ledger of all those who have publicly liked their work and those who have omitted to shower them with, uh, praise.

"Joshua has only Praised me once over the last six months. Then again, Joleen has given me Praise eleven times, praise the Lord."

When you discover such facts, what are you supposed to do with them? Keep two ledgers; one marked Love, one marked Resentment? Confront your fellow employees? Refuse to praise those who don't praise you?

It's a very twisted web that only encourages contorted emotions.

I understand that managers and administrators won't be able to view your Praise ledger. But won't some employees be tempted to go to their bosses and ask why they don't have more Praise points from one person or another?

Please forgive me if I suggest that the only true way of expressing sincerity is to look someone in the eyes and tell them they've done well.

Teams is quite good for that, so I'm told.

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