Another month and another Microsoft 365 tool hits public preview, this one might have slid under your radar if you don’t pay close attention to Microsoft blogs. This one seems to loosely tie together all of their personal planning tools that Microsoft has brought out over the years and provides us with a nice single page to start doing our personal planning. As mentioned it’s now in public preview and you can enable this by using the PowerShell commands below. Moca seems to be Microsoft attempt at answering the context switching issue we are all now facing more and more in a remote working world. I’m sure many of you reading this have been using Planner, Calendar, Emails, ToDo, Notes and Microsoft whiteboard to help manage your day. but if you’re like me, it’s sometimes a pain to keep swapping between everything and it only ends up adding more clutter to your desktop or to you buying extra monitors to house it all.
As with most shiny new products and features that Microsoft release I try to make sure we here at Nimbitech at least try them out for a few weeks, after all, what geeky person can deny the fun or learning a new trick. We do this so that we can find out if there is any value that could be presented to our customers and also if any of the new features might replace something you’ve been looking at or if it will alter anything we’ve produced for you. Once we’ve got a good grasp on the tool along with any business or personal value it can add to your day to day work we’ll generally mention it to you along with walking you through how it works and what value you can receive from it. Now grab your favourite brand of Hot Chocolate and I’ll start going through what I’ve seen so far from Moca.
When you first launch Project Moca you are presented with a series of templates to get started or can choose to create your own from a blank canvas. I’d recommend at least looking through each of the templates first so you can get an idea of what’s possible. Once you’ve selected a template you’ll be asked for some extra information to help Moca search your inbox and calendar for content related to what your creating the board around. In my tests, this didn’t provide me with the most accurate results and seemed to be bringing back my entire inbox or calendar but I could have also been using to generic of a search term. You can also skip this step if you’re not planning to add emails onto your board without losing the ability to add them later.
After clicking create we are presented with a mostly blank screen that has a rounded menu on the left of the screen, a series of ‘Buckets’ that have been created based on our template selected and on the right any results from our keywords. To get started, play with some of the menu items on the left to get a feel for what you can add, be warned by default each item will create a new element on your canvas if you wish to change its colour or add it into a ‘bucket’ click the three dots in the corner of the item and click move to bucket.
As its part of Microsoft 365, it even has tie in’s to documents shared with your from one drive or SharePoint. This could be a great tool to help plan for that upcoming presentation I’ve been putting off and a good way of reminding me who to invite.
Overall it’s a fairly basic tool at the moment that seems to be trying to challenge tools like Trello but if you’re not using Trello and already use the other productivity tools it makes sense to start having a play to see if you can make the day any easier. There currently doesn’t seem to be a way of inviting someone else on your team to look at your board so do bear in mind that these are your planning helps but this might change in future as this becomes closer to general availability.
Enable the Project Moca Preview
So we’ve had a quick look at what Moca is and tried our best to work out what it does but, your hopefully curious to have a play around with this yourself by now. To get started you need to run at least 2 PowerShell commands and need to have Exchange Admin access or Global Admin otherwise, the following commands will fail to run. Be warned once these commands have been run it can take up to 48 hours for the new icon to appear for your users and in our case, not everyone seemed to get it (I’ll post any tips here when I find the workaround for this).
If you haven’t already please make sure you install the Exchange online V2 module before attempting this. You can click here to find the commands to install this.
Open up PowerShell and connect to exchange online with the following command
1. Connect-ExchangeOnline -UserPrincipalName firstname.lastname@example.org -ShowProgress $true
Then run the following command
1. Set-OwaMailboxPolicy OwaMailboxPolicy-Default -ProjectMocaEnabled $true
All going well this should complete without any error messages and you now have done all you can to get testing. To see if you’ve already got access to keep an eye out for the new icon in the bottom left corner of your screen. (Source: https://handsontek.net/enable-new-microsoft-productivity-app-project-moca/)
Overall, as long as Project Moca keeps getting updates and I remember to start using outlook in the web more, I can see this being a great tool to help manage my days or weeks from a central place, whilst still being able to see my Notes and ToDo tasks from my mobile. I’m hoping to play with Project Moca a bit more over the next week to see how it can help with managing my work alongside my team’s milestones. If I manage to create something that doesn’t look like chaos on a screen I’ll share them here at the bottom to help with generating ideas for your own use.